A rare -- as I was told -- situation of aborted take off for a large passenger jet. What is next?

Everything goes as smudge as possible after getting jetliner to full stop. Plane clears the runway and goes back to the either parking position or designated place at taxi way.

What steps must be performed in order to make this aircraft back to take-off waiting queue?

Approximately how long will it take for this plane to be taking-off again? I know that this vary on many circumstances that's why I am asking about approximate only. Is there any priority for the plane that should already went off? Will that take minutes, tens of minutes or hours?

Clarification: This question is for the sake of the story that I am writing. It (both story and the question) involves Boeing 777 taking off from LHR in August 2014.

Aborted take of is due to a misleading information coming from cargo doors' sensors that reveal a possible problem only during take-off, not before (i.e. during taxi). The doors are actually closed (no real danger posed after check). But there's a tiny piece of fabrics from cargo loader's uniform stick in between doors. This question is a follow-up or alternate version of this question. Here I'd like to know what happens, if such situation will be detected after V1 or shortly after take-off and thus after such aircraft returns safely to the airport and clears the runway. In linked question I am asking about the same situation detected before V1.

I am aware that most airline experts will say that such situation is not possible at all. I am, on the other hand, a system designer and I know that such "ghost" situations of "neither 0 nor 1" sometimes do happen. But, for the sake of this question, if you feel uncomfortable with such reason -- let's assume that take-off was aborted due to any other reason, i.e. engine failure. I belive that such reason has similar severity as the need of checking whether cargo doors are really closed due to fact that on-board computer provides misleading data.

I'd lilke to underline that this is purely hypothetical question. I am aware that while such questions are sometimes hard to answer, they're in general quite welcomed in this site and are not off-topic.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Let me guess, the detective realizes that the suspect was there based on the "false" detection and the wisp of cloth, and finds the body hidden in the cargo bay? Depending on how you play it this could be a fun story. Good luck! $\endgroup$ May 27, 2020 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MadPhysicist Thank you for your kind comment. The story goes completely other way (there's no body in the cargo :), but I am happy that you liked it. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    May 27, 2020 at 15:01

4 Answers 4


A lot depends on whether the reject happened during the high energy or low energy phase of the takeoff. The boundary between the two is the reason for the speed call "xx knots", usually 80 knots or 90 knots, during the takeoff roll.

There will be specific procedures to follow following a reject, depending on the airplane and the airline's own procedures. Normally the first thing is to bring the airplane to a complete stop on the runway, set the parking brake, and evaluate the situation (you might find something's on fire and you need to order an emergency evacuation right there). You'll have called reject to ATC when the decision was made, so ATC will expect you to stop and will tell aircraft behind you to abandon the approach (and will likely have dispatched the fire trucks to your location just in case). Now there are situations where judgement and common sense is applied and if you rejected at the beginning of the roll because a binder fell on the floor and made a big bang but you were only going 40kt, and you realized what it was right away, you might just tell ATC what you are doing and taxi clear. However with rejects, it's usually assumed the runway is contaminated with FOD and ATC may close it anyway to have a runway inspection done.

As soon as you are satisfied that no evacuation is required and it's safe to taxi, you'll taxi to the ramp. If it's a low energy reject, and you have a BTMS (Brake Temperature Monitoring System) you can expect to only have to wait for the BTMS indications to get back into the green before going out again. If the BTMS is inoperative and was deferred under the Minimum Equipment List, you will likely have to consult some QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) brake cooling time tables to determine how long you have to wait.

If the reject was high energy (above the 80/90 kt speed call), or if the BTMS indications are giving an extreme overheat indication (red) because you rejected after you'd already nearly overheated the brakes while taxiing from riding them, you can expect to be required to have a brake and tire inspection performed before you can go out again. Rejects close to V1/decision speed are considered high risk maneuvers in the general scheme of things. In any case, a call to Maintenance Control will be the next thing after getting clear of the runway to figure out what to do.

Brake use by crews during taxi has a big effect on things and prudent brake use is really important. It's easy to get brake temperatures close to the yellow (or white) range just from riding them constantly to hold the airplane back if it has more thrust at idle than it needs to roll at taxi speed. You have to either let it speed up, apply brakes, then let them off over and over, taxi with one engine, or use idle reverse (which airlines don't like you using because it uses up reverser cycles with a maintenance impact). The CRJ200 is really bad for this and can can get rolling to pretty high speeds with both engines at idle; it's like driving a car with the idle speed set way too high when you just want it to creep along.

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    $\begingroup$ CRJ200 ... interesting. That explains why on some flights (passenger) it felt insanely fast- it WAS. Cool. $\endgroup$
    – J.Hirsch
    May 26, 2020 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ It's a bigger problem if you have carbon brakes because they have to be up to a certain temperature or they wear like crazy, so you are always trying to apply them hard or not at all. If you ride them moderately when taxiing you wear them out in no time if you get them hot but not hot enough. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    May 26, 2020 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ "Set the brakes" - not in our manual, unless you plan to evacuate. Stationary while you sort things out, yes, but with minimal brake pressure. Otherwise, though, nice answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    May 27, 2020 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ you rejected at the beginning of the roll because a binder fell on the floor and made a big bang sounds like something out of a movie like "Airplane!" :-D $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    May 27, 2020 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ Once when I was bush flying in 1990 I was taking off in a C-180 on floats in whitecap conditions, and a steel box medical/survival kit strapped to the side of the sheet metal extended baggage compartment came unfastened from the pounding and fell over flat on the floor just as I was lifting clear of the water. BANG!!!!!!!!! After I recovered from the heart attack, it seemed to be flying fine and I deduced what had happened, looked back and saw the box lying there, and carried on. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    May 28, 2020 at 0:45

Depends why the takeoff was aborted. Maybe it was a minor technical issue that the pilots can fix right away, in which case they may be allowed to just stay on the runway for a few seconds and then start the takeoff again. Or maybe there was a significant issue with the aircraft, which would require the aircraft to return to the gate to get fixed by a mechanic, which might take minutes, hours or days.

If the takeoff was aborted at high speed, it is likely the pilots will have to wait for the brakes to cool down before attempting another takeoff, which can probably take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour at most.

If the aircraft vacates the runway and is ready for departure again within a few minutes, the pilots will simply inform ATC who will find a spot for the flight in the departure queue.

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    $\begingroup$ Fuel might be a problem. A full power take-off run followed by a long taxi back will consume a fair amount of fuel, which would need to be calculated. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    May 25, 2020 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ Many operators are required to call their company, at minimum to get a new release. They might be able to do it while waiting in line, but they might not. If there is no line, ATC may want to stash them out of others' way, which means more time taxiing to and from that spot. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    May 25, 2020 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ If it is hot brakes, there is a designated area for the aircraft to taxi to, fire brigade is called, the fire controller is then in charge of the aircraft (not the pilot) and it won't be released until the temperature drops to safe levels (measured with infrared gun), you must not use any fire extinguisher other than dry chemical powder or risk explosion. Danger area is tyre side walls and can extend 100s of meters. $\endgroup$
    – Craig
    May 26, 2020 at 2:51

Good answers already, but given the hypothetical clarification in italics, I will just add that after taxiing back to the terminal and discovering that the fault was a small piece of cloth in the sensor, the crew would be in communication with dispatch to amend their clearance, get a new takeoff time, and be released again. After that, resume ops normal.


Boeings reject takeoffs. They don't abort. Abort an engine start, reject a takeoff.

A rejected takeoff in a large airplane is one of the most hazardous things one can do, particularly a high-speed reject.

My last rejected takeoff was a high-speed, and we taxied clear and waited while fire crews monitored the brakes.

The reject is briefed as part of the takeoff briefing; both a low speed, and a high-speed (low speed typically being below 80 knots, and high speed from 80 knots to V1, or decision/refusal speed). How it is handled depends on the aircraft and company; each pilot will have specific duties during the reject. The pilot flying may handle the physical operation of the rejected takeoff, or it may be the captain that takes over and rejects the takeoff. This is typically thrust levers to idle, ground spoilers deployed, RTO autobrakes followed by manual maximum braking, and reverse thrust as appropriate.

The pilot not flying (sometimes called the PNF or non-handling pilot) will apply forward pressure on the control column, note the reject airspeed, contact the tower, and support the flying pilot in clearing the runway, if possible.

Whether a subsequent takeoff is a consideration or not depends on brake energy, the reason for the rejected takeoff, etc. Typically brakes will need to be cooled, fuel recalculated, the aircraft reconfigured, quite possibly the FMS reprogrammed, perhaps a new clearance obtained, possibly an ammended flight plan, etc.

We have a runway-change checklist which will also be run in the event of a low speed reject.


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