Unit 5 – Operating at Short and Soft Fields

Preflight Exercises

Obtain a weather briefing from LMFSWeb and 1-800-WXBRIEF for the local area.

Complete all portions of the Preflight Briefing Sheet, except for takeoff and landing performance.

Calculate Takeoff and Landing Performance at a sea-level airport (KSAC) and a mountain airport (KRNO) using both ISA temp/pressure and a ISA +20 temperature/standard pressure.

Preflight the airplane using your checklist.

Preflight Discussion
Topic Be able to answer: Resources to study:
Aerodynamics Short Field Takeoff and Climb

  • What is the purpose of a short field takeoff?
  • When would you use short field takeoff technique?
  • On a hot day at O61, how much runway do we need to takeoff and clear a 50 foot obstacle at gross weight, no-wind?
  • To obtain the takeoff performance for your airplane charted in chapter 5 of the AFM, what technique is required?
  • What guidance is provided in your airplane’s flight manual for performing a short field takeoff?
  • What is the flap setting for your airplane for a short field takeoff?
  • What is the rotation speed for your airplane for a short field takeoff?
  • What is the obstacle clearance speed (or Vx if not published) for your airplane?
  • How should you reconfigure the airplane for Vy climb after clearing the obstacle?
  • How soon after clearing the obstacle would you reconfigure for Vy? or enroute climb?
  • What are the practical test standards for the short field takeoff?

Short Field Takeoff and Climb – AFH pages 5-8 through 5-10

Study Chapter 4 of your airplane’s POH/AFM. Look specifically for guidance and airspeeds to be used for short field takeoffs.

Short Field Approach and Landing

  • What is the purpose of a short field landing?
  • When would use short field landing technique?
  • On a hot day at O61, how much runway do we need to land over a 50 foot obstacle at gross weight, no-wind?
  • To obtain the landing performance for your airplane charted in chapter 5 of the AFM, what technique is required?
  • What guidance is provided in your airplane’s flight manual for performing a short field landing?
  • What airspeed do you maintain on final approach? Is this airspeed 1.3 Vs0?
  • What technique will you use to maintain your glidepath?
  • How do far forward should your aimpoint be from your desired touchdown zone?
  • How can you ensure that you are on glideslope and airspeed as you roll out on final?
  • What is the follow through once the main wheels touchdown to bring the airplane to a stop in the shortest distance?
  • What are the practical test standards for the short field landing?

Short Field Approach and Landing – AFH pages 8-17 through 8-19

Study Chapter 4 of your airplane’s POH/AFM. Look specifically for guidance and airspeeds to be used for short field landings.

Soft Field Takeoff and Climb

  • What is the purpose of a soft field takeoff?
  • When would you use soft field takeoff technique?
  • What will your takeoff performance be using soft field technique?
  • What guidance is provided in your airplane’s flight manual for performing a soft field takeoff?
  • What is the flap setting for your airplane for a short field takeoff?
  • How should the yoke be positioned prior to entering the runway?
  • As the entry to the runway is a rolling start, when should you add takeoff power?
  • As the airplane accelerates down the runway, what you anticipate in terms of elevator effectiveness?
  • As the airplane lifts off into ground effect, how should control the airplane?
  • When can you rotate and climb out of ground effect?
  • When can you retract flaps during climb?
  • What are the practical test standards for the soft field takeoff?

Soft Field Takeoff and Climb – AFH pages 5-10 through 5-11

Soft Field Approach and Landing

  • What is the purpose of a soft field landing?
  • When would you use a soft field landing?
  • How does a soft field landing differ from a normal landing?
  • What is the sight picture on landing for a soft field landing?
  • How do you use power during a soft field landing?
  • What is the follow through after the main wheels touchdown in a soft field landing?
  • When do you retract flaps after a soft field landing?
  • What are the practical test standards for the soft field landing?

Soft Field Approach and Landing – AFH pages 8-19 through 8-20

Practical Knowledge Effects of Density Altitude

  • Review takeoff and landing calculations assigned in Preflight Exercises
  • How will rate of climb differ between sea level/std atmosphere and high density altitude conditions?
  • How will weight and balance affect takeoff and landing performance?
  • How will high density altitude atmospheric conditions affect engine starting?
  • How does a tailwind affect takeoff performance?
  • How does a tailwind affect landing performance?

Study Chapter 10 – Aircraft Performance in the PHAK.

Practical Knowledge Calculating Performance

  • Which chart will you use to calculate the time, fuel and distance to climb to altitude?
  • Calculate the time, fuel and distance to climb from Cameron Park to 8000 ft on a standard day?
  • Approximately, what is your airplane’s fuel burn rate in a climb?
  • Which chart will you use to determine the true airspeed and fuel burn rate en-route?
  • Calculate the true airspeed and fuel burn rate for cruising at 8500 feet on a +20 C day.

Review the performance charts in Chapter 5 of your airplane’s POH/AFM. Read through all notes to understand how different conditions affect performance. Follow through the example situations depicted on the chart and then create your own situation and calculate performance.

Study Chapter 8 – Aircraft Performance in 2014 Private Pilot Test Prep.

Decision Making and Risk Mgmt

Identify the missed hazards and poor decisions in the accident report you analyzed.

Review weather briefing and weight and balance for flight.

Use the PAVE checklist to identify risks associated with the flight.

Research a general aviation accident that was due to density altitude in the NTSB accident database. Bring the accident report to the lesson.
Flight Experience
Operation Expect to: Prepare by:
Performance Takeoffs and Landing Your instructor will demonstrate, and then you will practice:

  • Short Field Takeoff
  • Short Field Landing
  • Soft Field Takeoff
  • Soft Field Landing