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131 votes

Why would seaplanes use a curved takeoff run?

Years ago now I gave a fair amount of instruction for seaplane ratings. I remember it quite fondly as seaplanes combine the fun of flying with aspects of the fun of boating. There were three ...
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116 votes
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Why did my flight climb so sharply on takeoff?

Your flight took off during a storm. During a storm, the wind speed close to the surface of the earth is much lower than the wind speed a bit higher up. This variation of wind speed over a short ...
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93 votes
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Has an airplane ever been launched from a submarine?

Yes, The HMS M2 had a single seaplane aboard that it was capable of launching. Her 12-inch gun was removed, replaced by a small aircraft hangar, the work being completed in 1927. This could ...
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89 votes
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Why don't short runways use ramps for takeoff?

V1. There are other valid reasons, as have been listed - cost, bidirectional runway use, etc. These would still not completely disqualify ramps, just limit them to very special circumstances. But the ...
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83 votes

Why is indicated airspeed rather than ground speed used during the takeoff roll?

Because wings work on air moving past them, not ground moving below them. Heck, in a 35 knot headwind, the Antonov-2 could be rolling backwards at 2 knots and still take off!
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82 votes
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Why does the B-52 take off without rotating?

The reason was to give the bombs the place close to the center of gravity. Wing sweep (for high cruise Mach numbers) in combination with a high aspect ratio of the wing (for low induced drag) made it ...
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69 votes
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Why are the F/A-18 rudders deflected in opposing directions during takeoff?

Living Wing The Super Hornet has a living wing, that is to say, the shape of the wing is constantly in motion throughout every regime of flight. Trailing edge flaps, leading edge flaps, stabs, ...
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69 votes
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Why are bird strikes on approach or landing not as common as on takeoff?

I've heard about lots of bird strike incidents that occured during a takeoff roll or the early phase of takeoff climb but hardly heard of bird strikes on approach or landing. This is always a ...
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64 votes
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What do jet pilots say during the takeoff as they are speeding down the runway?

What you are hearing is "V-One", written as V1. It actually is said when they can no longer safely abort the takeoff with the remaining runway, but they still are not quite ready to takeoff. ...
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55 votes

Why does the B-52 take off without rotating?

Adding to the excellent Peter's answer who explained why for this particular model the wheels are placed far behind the centre of gravity (CG), I would like to clarify why this makes impossible to ...
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  • 1,146
50 votes

Would a takeoff be aborted if 'rotate' is not called out?

That could end up being a really bad idea if you've accelerated past your V1 speed -- your abort would then put you off the end of the runway, and the consequences from that range from bad to ...
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50 votes

Why don't short runways use ramps for takeoff?

Because then you can only land in one direction. What do you do if the wind blows exactly along the runway so that departing and landing planes have only tailwind then? You would waste a precious ...
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46 votes
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Could airliners use a steam or electric powered catapult for take-off?

Let's see what the savings are: A mid-sized airliner carries maybe 20% of its mass in fuel. This fuel has an energy density of 43 MJ per kg. Of that chemical energy at most 40% is converted into ...
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46 votes

When does an airliner switch from using the tiller to the rudder?

I flew for two 747 carriers that never bought new aircraft, and thus this answer applies to 747-100/200 aircraft as originally manufactured for a number of different airlines. The tiller is active ...
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43 votes

Why is indicated airspeed rather than ground speed used during the takeoff roll?

Because what determines the amount of lift generated is the indicated airspeed, not the ground speed. As usual, it is always easier to think about an extreme case. If you have an aircraft with VR (...
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41 votes
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Does an aircraft's nose landing gear extend on take off?

No, the gear doesn't actively extend, and any passive change to the strut extension during takeoff is likely to be imperceptible. What you are perceiving during takeoff is the somatogravic illusion. ...
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41 votes
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Could the Boeing 787-9 near vertical takeoff demonstration be performed by Airbus A350 aircraft?

No. Firstly, as a comment noted, the takeoff was hardly "near vertical", the camera angle makes it look so. The takeoff angle in the video certainly is much steeper than a normal one, but Airbus ...
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41 votes
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Why don't helicopters always takeoff from a hover out of ground-effect?

Forward flight is much more efficient than hovering. As airspeed builds, lift increases from "translational" lift as the air moves more horizontally over the disc. Since the relative airflow is more ...
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41 votes
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Is an Airbus A319 allowed to fly with a missing flap track fairing?

Fully permitted according to this Configuration Deviation List for the A320: One fairing may be partly or completely missing. There are more posts about this occurring. As Noah Krasser points out, ...
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41 votes
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Why does the Eurofighter Typhoon pitch up on brake release?

When the brakes are on, they apply a backwards force that counters the engine thrust. This force is applied at ground level, and the engine thrust is higher. These two forces result in a moment that ...
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41 votes
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Why is this plane struggling to gain altitude?

According to the video's information: EMB-721 Sertanejo heavy and insane takeoff in Carlos Prates This is "EMB-721 Sertanejo heavy and insane takeoff in Carlos Prates. Full fuel, 6 on board plus ...
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40 votes
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What are those hatches on the engines of a B-2 that are open during takeoff?

These are secondary intake doors which allow more air to reach the engines. They are opened by the engine control computer when the main intakes are not providing enough air for the power setting of ...
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40 votes
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Has someone with no experience at all ever taken off in a plane? Could they?

The Aviation Safety Network has an article listing 11 airplanes that crashed after being stolen by a non-pilot. The most recent was the Horizon Air Dash 8 that was stolen by a ground service agent in ...
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39 votes
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Why do pilots slowly give the plane more thrust during takeoff?

The engines may accelerate slightly differently, resulting in an asymmetric thrust. Spooling up slowly at first (normally to about 60% N1) prevents this. After that, you can accelerate up to full TO/...
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38 votes
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Why can't runway 18 at Frankfurt Airport accept takeoffs or landings in the opposite direction?

Let us consider the operations other than takeoff on runway 18. Takeoff Runway 36 There are buildings not far off the departure end and directly after the end of the runway is a movement area and ...
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38 votes
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What is the guy in green showing to the F/A-18E pilot before catapult launch?

That's a weight check. The sign has the weight of the aircraft in pounds. The catapult crew guy first shows the presumed weight to the PIC who must give a thumbs up, agreeing, "Yes, that is the weight ...
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37 votes
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Why do I get that funny stomach drop feeling right after takeoff?

It happens when the airplane levels off after takeoff, usually either at the first assigned altitude or at a safe altitude where it will be accelerated in order to retract the flaps. The feeling is ...
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37 votes
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Why do the engines seem to power down and then back up after take-off?

There are several kinds of power reduction which could happen after takeoff: Cutback (noise reduction when the airplane is very low, after takeoff) Climb thrust Both are set on the CDU (Control ...
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37 votes
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Why would a turboprop rev down just before going full throttle during takeoff?

Because the pilot is taxiing the airplane with the props in the beta range (turboprops turn into landsharks if you don’t do this and you end up really riding the brakes to keep the speed down), then ...
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