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In a C152, flying VFR, if you point your nose up you wouldn't be able to see the runway, thus it would be difficult to keep yourself aligned to it.

So once you take off with a C152, do you climb in a fixed climb rate or do you level off at a certain altitude whilst over the runway, and start your climb again once you've reached the threshold of the runway?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand your question fully. First, even if you level off (which IMO is a bad idea for a normal takeoff) then what happens when you reach the end of the runway? You still have to climb in a controlled way, so how are you going to do it? Second, why is climbing in a straight line after takeoff different from climbing in any other situation, e.g. from 4000ft to 5000ft? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jul 2 '15 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ In practice, it is easy to glance back through the rear window every now and then to check your alignment. $\endgroup$ – Waked Jul 2 '15 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Waked That works OK in most Cessnas, but the view out the rear window of my Cherokee is obstructed by the...uh... lack of a rear window. ("You don't want to see what's behind you anyway. That Citation is probably getting awful big awful fast!") $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jul 4 '15 at 3:31
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Generally speaking you continue your climb after rotation although this will depend on the runway, runway conditions and airport procedures.

Soft Field Take Off: In some cases if you are leaving from a grass strip (still technically a runway) you will go for your soft field take off maneuver. In this case you will actually pop the plane off the ground into ground effect as soon as you can(you will be flying at this point). Then build up speed in ground effect (at a level attitude so you can see the runway fine) then begin your climb out when you have sufficient speed at a climb attitude.

Short Field Take Off: If the runway is short (or there is an obstacle to clear) you will execute your short field maneuvers. In this case you will take off with 1 notches of flaps. Gun the engine but hold the breaks and let the prop spin up. Then as soon as you hit rotation speed pull back to your best angle of climb. Then when you have cleared your obstacle you can level it out to a normal climb t (best rate or what ever you planed for). In this case clearing the obstacle may be more important than strictly maintaining the runway heading (depending on where the obstacle is). In this maneuver you will focus on your airspeed (to keep from stalling) as well as your attitude indicator and your heading indicator to keep as on course as possible.

Air Port Procedures: Some airports have special procedures for departing because of obstacles, air spaces, noise abatements etc. For example I fly out of DYL and they have a procedure on runway 23 that calls for a turn to 250 and climb out to 1200 ft before executing any other turns or maneuvers. Once I have cleared the trees I will usually begin my turn.

Generally speaking you fly the runway heading after you have rotated and you do this using the heading indicator NOT the compass. Since you are in accelerated climbing flight your compass is inaccurate.

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Thats what the compass is for. Continue to fly runway heading according to the compass & heading indicator.

While you may not be able to see the runway, you may have other markers. Even a good cloud in front of the airplane can serve as a VFR reference point.

Or look out the side to the left-and-right of the plane. You should be able to tell if you're going straight or turning by what you see going past the sides of your plane.

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    $\begingroup$ So I guess a good cloud is the one which doesn't drift away, and stays still until you reach the desired altitude! $\endgroup$ – Farhan Jul 2 '15 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I've ever used a compass or heading indicator in a VFR departure, and I don't think it'd work all that well in a crosswind. As you say, you look out the sides of the plane. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 2 '15 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf The compass works OK in a crosswind: Runway heading is still runway heading. If you want your ground track to stay aligned with the runway it still works, with one caveat: Rather than flying "runway heading" you fly whatever heading you crabbed around to in order to remain over the runway while you could still see it (which gives you a ground track aligned with the runway, give-or-take wind speed variations as you climb). $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jul 4 '15 at 3:29
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When flying a tailwheel airplane or a tandem (two seats, front and rear) with a passenger in the front seat, you can't see much of the runway at all either landing or taking off. I use my peripheral vision to keep the plane centered between the edges of the runway and on track.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I had a couple of rides in a Stearman. The combination of tailwheel, tandem cockpit, radial engine, and biplane wings makes for terrible forward visibility. Watching the runway edges was the only way to stay on the runway. Landing was done with a turning approach almost all the way to the threshold with a slip once aligned. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jul 8 '15 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ "terrible"? non-existant! $\endgroup$ – rbp Jul 8 '15 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, that's probably a better way to put it. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jul 8 '15 at 17:57

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