In calculating the accelerate-stop distances, what are the possible reasons why the use of reverse thrust is not taken into account on a dry runway, while it is taken into account on a wet runway? What's the rationale behind this diffentiation, when at least as I see it there's nothing that prevents the use of reverse thrust on a dry runway for an aborted takeoff?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ SOP's may require the use of reverse thrust on wet/contaminated runways while not on dry runways. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jul 3, 2017 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ Seems to be risk management. Reversers are relatively, for an aviation technology, unreliable, so you don't want to rely on them too much. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jul 4, 2017 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


If your thrust reversers are operational and debris is not a concern, you're right for an in-service rejected takeoff (RTO):

There's nothing that prevents the use of reverse thrust on a dry runway for an aborted takeoff.

Most in-service RTOs utilize reverse thrust if available (see this video for a dry-runway example).

However, in order to certify a transport-category airplane, one must show compliance with 14 CFR 25.109, paragraph (f), which precludes the use of thrust reversers on dry runways in calculating the accelerate-stop distance. The demonstration required by paragraph (i), therefore, cannot be conducted with reverse thrust on a dry runway. From a certification standpoint, the accelerate-stop calculation is made the way it is because that's what the regulations say. But why is the law written this way? See this video at about 1:12:

The whole intent is to demonstrate [that] under [the] worst conditions you can safely stop the aircraft.

"Worst conditions" encompasses at least inoperative thrust reversers and worn brakes.


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