Confined Area Takeoff

Maximizing your space

This is a great time to make a curved takeoff.  Whether you are simply making a big arc, or step taxiing with a 90 degree turn into the wind, or any other number of creative ways to reduce the takeoff run there are a few basic rules that will always apply.  They are:

  • Step turns from downwind to upwind are riskier due to the possibility of capsizing from both the wind, waves, and centrifugal force.
  • You still have to have an abort point and stick to it
  • Consider all of your options, from roughing the surface first with your own wake, to waiting for better conditions, or even deciding you just plain messed up and landed somewhere you won’t be able to takeoff from.  Use every tool available to you and remember there is no such thing as an “emergency takeoff”, very few circumstances require that you absolutely have to takeoff right now.
  • Density altitude affects seaplanes more than it does wheeled aircraft due to an exponential increase in water drag for an increase in ground speed.  Tires due increase drag with the pavement as speed increases, but not nearly as much as floats or a hull on the water.
  • Consider climbing in a semi-tight turn (using the minimum bank required) to stay over the water and spiraling up to a higher altitude before attempting to clear the obstacles.

Remember to “stack the deck in your favor”.  Control what you can, like leaving cargo, a person, or even fuel behind to go and get it later.