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Quiz: Could You Save The Day On These Takeoffs?

Live from the Flight Deck

Every pilot dreams of saving the day on an airline flight full of passengers. But when it comes down to it, do you have what it takes?


  1. 1) You're rolling down the runway in your 737, and you lose your #2 engine 8 knots after V1. Assuming everything else is functioning, what should you do?

    V1 is often called the "takeoff decision speed", or the "critical-engine failure recognition speed." They're ambiguous terms - but you can distill them down to one simple thought. If you lose an engine after V1, you'll continue the takeoff.

    V1 is often called the "takeoff decision speed", or the "critical-engine failure recognition speed." They're ambiguous terms - but you can distill them down to one simple thought. If you lose an engine after V1, you'll continue the takeoff.

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  2. 2) The next day, you're pushing back from the gate, and your captain asks you what the accelerate-stop distance is. For your flight, it's 6700 feet. But what does that really mean?

    That's right, accelerate-stop distance is the total distance to start your takeoff roll, abort the takeoff at V1, and stop.

    That's right, accelerate-stop distance is the total distance to start your takeoff roll, abort the takeoff at V1, and stop.

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  3. 3) Your captain nods, and then asks what the accelerate-go distance is. It's 6700 feet, but what does that mean?

    Yep, accelerate-go distance is the total distance to start takeoff roll, lose the critical engine at V1, continue the takeoff, and cross 35 feet at V2. 

    Yep, accelerate-go distance is the total distance to start takeoff roll, lose the critical engine at V1, continue the takeoff, and cross 35 feet at V2. 

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  4. 4) Then your captain, who's really getting into these distances, says "I forgot, does accelerate-stop distance on a dry runway include thrust reversers? You answer:

    That's right, under FAR Part 25 (which is what the FAA uses to certify transport-category aircraft like the 737), you can't include reverse thrust when calculating the accelerate-stop distance on a dry runway. You can include reverse thrust when calculating the accelerate-stop distance on a wet runway, however.

    That's right, under FAR Part 25 (which is what the FAA uses to certify transport-category aircraft like the 737), you can't include reverse thrust when calculating the accelerate-stop distance on a dry runway. You can include reverse thrust when calculating the accelerate-stop distance on a wet runway, however.

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  5. 5) On your next leg, you look up the balanced field length for your takeoff, which is 7100 feet. That's also where:

    Yep, balanced field length is the distance that aborting and continuing takeoff are the same. Check out the chart: 

    Yep, balanced field length is the distance that aborting and continuing takeoff are the same. Check out the chart: 

    distance-comparison-large
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  6. 6) It's day 4 of your trip (when everything goes wrong), you're rolling down the runway in your 737, and you lose your #1 engine 6 knots before V1. Assuming everything else is functioning, what should you do?

    That's right, in almost all cases, if you haven't reached V1, you should abort the takeoff.

    That's right, in almost all cases, if you haven't reached V1, you should abort the takeoff.

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You should practice a little more in the sim before these takeoffs...

You scored %. Better luck next time...

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You made the 6 o'clock news. Your plane has some damage, but everyone made it out OK.

You scored %. Spent some time practicing in the sim before your next flight!

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You made the 6 o'clock news, and everyone thinks you're a hero!

You scored %. Nice work.

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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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