Takeoff Sequence

The flight attendants have just finished their safety demonstration and your aircraft has taxied onto the runway for takeoff. Your flight is cleared for takeoff by the tower. The engines are run up and you are rolling down the runway! You might wonder, what is the takeoff sequence and actions the pilots are doing as speed increases?

Usually the Captain (in the left seat) and the First Officer (right seat, also called the copilot), alternate making the takeoffs and landings. In this example of a takeoff sequence, the Captain is making the takeoff. He pushes the throttle forward with his right hand, his left hand on the yoke (the steering wheel) as speed increases. The throttles are pushed to a power setting that is determined by outside air temperature and your takeoff weight. The Captain will then say "Check Power". The First Officer makes sure the throttles are at their proper power settings and engine temperatures are in their normal takeoff range.

There are certain speeds that have been figured out prior to takeoff that are essentially "go/no-go" points. The first is as you accelerate through 100 knots (115 miles per hour). As the pilots briefed in the preflight departure brief, if any abnormal condition is encountered before 100 knots, then the Captain will either continue the takeoff or reject (abort) the takeoff.

Three speeds are determined beforehand and are based on the aircraft's weight, outside air temperature, and airport altitude. These speeds are V1 (vee-1), Vr, and V2. V1 is decision speed, Vr is rotation speed, and V2 is the speed that produces the best angle of climb.

As your aircraft passes 100 knots, the First Officer will call out "100 knots".

From 100 knots to V1 (vee-1) if a power loss or anything else major occurs that will prevent the aircraft from safely getting airborne, then the Captain will reject (abort) the takeoff. Rejecting the takeoff means that the throttles will be back to idle and then reverse thrust, speed brakes (contol surfaces on the wing) will automatically be deployed (raised), and the brakes will be applied. V1 is this decision speed, after reaching V1, your pilots are committed to fly. If an emergency happens after V1, they will handle while airborne.

The First Officer calls out "V1" and then a second later calls "Rotate" at Vr (these speeds are usually very close together). At this point, the Captain will slowly start pulling back on the yoke which raises the nose. You are airborne, as the aircraft accelerates first to V2 and then on to the landing gear and flap retraction speeds.

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