By Mark Murray, EAA 394554.
This piece originally ran in the November 2023 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.
In my previous article (“Engine Failures Happen: Just own it,” August 2023), I discussed the importance of accepting that engine failures are a reality. In this article, I want to expand on that a bit more, with emphasis on mitigating the risk associated with such emergencies.
We’ll start by examining the risk involved with take-offs and departures. Later articles will discuss safety issues related to cruise, the airport pattern, and the landing process.
EAA founder Paul Poberezny once wrote that the most dangerous part of any flight is the take off and departure. Why? He explained that everything — the airframe, the engine, the prop, and even you, the pilot — must be at 100 percent. And if anything in that combination isn’t fully functioning, you don’t have as much altitude, or in other words time, to fix the problem. I agree with him completely.
In my primary training, I was taught not to hesitate once I’d pulled out on the runway. Once I lined up on centerline, I immediately went flying. The idea was that you didn’t want to be that person who sat on the numbers for an extended time, with final approach totally out of view, hogging up the runway.
Many years later, I had a discussion on this topic with my good friend and mentor, Danny Tyre, EAA 465093. Danny is well known in our parts as the local ultralight and sport pilot guru, but we didn’t really become acquainted until I started sending my first sport pilot applicants to him for the practical test that he could administer as a designated pilot examiner.
Before sending that first applicant, Danny was gracious enough to spend several hours with me, explaining what he was looking for in an applicant. When discussing take offs, he shared something I’ve never forgotten.
He had asked how I taught my students to…