Monday, 20 April 2015

Ready for launch….I mean take off

I’m faced with winds at 190 degrees and two choices of runway 24 or 26. All things being equal most people would probably take 24, to minimise the crosswind, right?


The truth is all things aren’t equal at CYTZ. 24 and 26 share a common threshold for sure but 24 is shorter (not a big problem), has a great big berm at the end (more disconcerting than problematic) and has a surface that is in pretty poor condition compared to the rest of the airport, probably because it’s only us little planes that use it.

ATC enquired as to whether I’d accept 24. I said “Affirmative” like the good little pilot that I am, because there really isn’t an operational or safety reason that I can’t take it.

I dutifully warned my passenger that the surface was about to become akin to a cattle grid. She looked at me funny because I don’t think they call them that in Canada.

If anyone cares to enlighten me as to the Canuck phraseology, I’m talking about one of these.

Muttering “hold on to your boobs” as we rattle thuddunk, thunddunk down the runway. I attempt to keep us straight.

I’m doing a pretty reasonable job, even if I do say so myself. Until, with perfect timing, the wheels hit a particularly troublesome bump at the same time the ASI hits a perfect 55 knots.

Rotation speed.

Defined by our good friends of the Wikipedia as The speed at which the aircraft's nose wheel leaves the ground.

Actually what happened is that we didn’t so much “rotate” as “launch” She hit the bump and up she went, at slightly too high an angle for either of our liking really.

I kept my mouth shut, as not to alarm my passenger. JES felt no such duty and promptly whined a way a la stall horn.

I gently eased the nose down and pretended that’s the way it always goes!

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