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This is an amazing example of how calculation theory and real life application don't always line up.
Watch as a G36 Bonanza with a Tornado Alley Turbo performs a short field take off in a mountainous area, and just barley makes it out alive.
The pilot Chris, learned a ton from this experience and shares an amazingly detailed analysis at the links below.
Please visit them to share the lessons from his experience.
Chris Palmer shared this footage with me to analyze
- he is an amazing pilot from "Angle of Attack".
LINKS you must visit for great post flight analysis:
one to Chris' "Aviatorcast", and one to Chris' awesome article
(with massive comment thread)
NOTE: please avoid "Monday morning quarter backing" Chris had to deal with enough of that back when this was first put out there.
* AMENDMENT * to voice over:
I am sorry about any confusion I may have caused regarding roles density altitude and runway length played here - maybe I should have dug deeper to get some actual numbers; but Chris, the original pilot, did not have his actual performance calculations available, so I decided based on that lack of some of the specific details, to simply avoid including any of them, and I went for a more general "start the conversation" type theme, regarding personal minimums. Essentially, I made a video motivated by the visceral reaction I had to seeing the footage and wanted to share.
DISCLAIMER: I am a "weekend warrior" private pilot, I fly for fun with no intentions of going commercial.I have had my PPL for over 15 years, but still consider each flight a learning experience - I generally take detailed notes after each flight to remind myself what went well or what I could do to improve.... Having the GoPro cameras to record flights like this is invaluable. I find these self analysis videos very helpful in my constant quest to improve, and am happy to share.Feed back is invited; however, please keep it positive
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking too much room
Stan Jelinek (1 day ago)
I guess a longer runway would be a dumb idea
John Lavezzorio (1 day ago)
Density Altitude can get you every time.
V Mc (1 day ago)
I would not have tried this.
Rob Hoffman (2 days ago)
An experienced pilot would not have chosen to land at that airport with a machine that could not
preform a safe take off.
Alan Fontana (2 days ago)
Note to self: finally getting into ground effect does not ensure positive climb.
Neal Perez (3 days ago)
I don't fly, I drive 18 wheelers, but not knowing god was there, his experience led him to an opening and it was the only one, in my business we call it leave yourself an out lol.... moral of the story don't do it again lolol
Kevin Bell (4 days ago)
One thing my BX rated CFI told me was "always leave yourself an out". Never back yourself into a corner. It has stood me good in over 40 years of flying. Some say to me your too careful, my reply, you can never be too careful with peoples lives. Like my instructor once said to me "your always better off down here wishing your up there, than being up there wishing you were down here". Good words from a very wise guy
Alexander Johnson (4 days ago)
Ho lee fuk
t Thomp (7 days ago)
Why is this pilot endangering himself? Also putting others at risk. If he had crashed. There would have been a risk to first responders. Everytime there is response to a crash, there is a likely hood of accidents due to the nature of any "emergency". Not to mention his own life. One whiff of wind could have pushed him into the top of a tree and at that near stall speed would probably been enough to end his flight. I'm not a pilot, but there didn't seem to be any personal minimums - at least with any safety margin here. Take me off his passenger list!
Mark Richardson (8 days ago)
That reminds me of a takeoff my dad did at a little grass strip in Ohio on a hot summer day about 30 years ago. At the time he owned a WWII 1940 Aeronca 65TC Tandem Trainer, which was a tail-dragger front and rear cockpit military primary trainer version of their Champ with a 65-HP Continental A-65 engine. You had to hand prop it to start it. At the time between him and I we probably weighed 450 lbs total and useful load was about 500 lbs total.
He waited for an hour before dusk for it to cool off, which gave us just enough time to make the flight during daylight hours. This airport is now closed but back then it had a 2100-foot grass strip with fairly-high trees at the west end of its only runway 09-27. As can be seen on Google Earth since 30 years ago before the airport recently closed the trees at the west end of the runway were trimmed somewhat. The airport identifier was OH17, August Acres, out in Johnstown, OH, northeast of Columbus.
He got us going but it sure used a whole lot of the runway, and with the trees coming-up fast just as he lifted-off he banked off to the right into an open area, which might have lengthened the distance to the treeline by a couple hundred feet. The landing gear swatted a tree top on the way over but we made it. The reference for the airport on Airport Data says that the trees on the west end are 55 feet high. That was when I learned about density altitude and aircraft performance.
I first soloed at another little airport in Ohio in the summer of 1976. The Chagrin Falls Airport and Bell Flying School was famous at one time. That airport had a 2400-foot by 40-foot paved runway with a couple of humps in it and a couple of shorter grass cross runways. You were supposed to land at the top of the first hump and pull off at the top of the 2nd hump. If you didn't get off the ground by the time you reached the 2nd hump you were supposed to shut it down.
Flying was a lot easier back then. My experience at the Chagrin Falls Airport was when I learned to always use 10 degrees of flaps on takeoff even in a 172 or an Archer.
Derek Heuring (10 days ago)
One of the best private plots I've ever flown with carried a scale to the ac. You and your gear were weighed before getting in.
Turner9090 (10 days ago)
That one point where the AoA is up but the climb
Has stopped scary scary stuff
Cars &Watches (13 days ago)
Why did that thing climb so damn slow? It seemed like it barely climbed at all once he rotaded
TriplePlay (13 days ago)
High density altitude. DO the math, but seriously ---- ADD buffer as noted. Roll the dice if you want, but it might work ONCE. Are you ready for that?
Mftr specs are ALWAYS "doable" in specific conditions...according to the laboratory and the factory.....but not always in real life. Do you want to be the lab rat everyone else learns from? 50% for self preservation/3-5x redundancy isn't a bad rule of thumb. Or you can pound your Red Bull and just HUCK IT!...it's just a few trees...
jeff James (15 days ago)
What's that smell?
Jim Kiser (15 days ago)
We know that he is a bold pilot. We also know that he will NOT be an old pilot.
Mark Younger (15 days ago)
Charles Long (16 days ago)
I was flying a Cessna 152, at a short take-off runway. There were high-tension wires obscuring the entire left side of the runway, and the roadway at the take-off end was above the runway by maybe 10 or 15 feet. My passenger forgot, or inadvertently didn’t fasten his seat belt. The seat belt buckle dragged on the runway as we took off. I noticed the noise, asked him what it was and he admitted it was his seat belt. We came to a near stop, to allow him to open the door and grab his seat belt. We cleared the road and had to make a sweeping right turn, by maybe 10 feet. If a semi had been there our landing gear would have nicked it.
Wylie Hill (17 days ago)
700 hours doesn't make him a "very experienced" pilot in the least...start around 2000-2500 hrs before a pilot levels up to "experienced." As for "very experienced"? I personally don't care for "very" when it comes to aviation. There are quite a few "very experienced" pilots who are very dead because they became very complacent and absurdly over confident. just my opinion.
Len Stanga (17 days ago)
Reminds me of the day I flew under a news chopper. :)
Ted D (18 days ago)
What's "high performance" about this plane?
Dave Johnson (18 days ago)
Get me a chain saw and I will fix this problem. Humans before trees...perhaps?
MagnumMike44 (19 days ago)
Great job, though Chris still had some runway to work with before rotating. I'm also surprised to see those trees past the end of a short runway, I hope they removed the tree tops to at least give pilots a safe area to climb out.
kreteman777 (20 days ago)
Seems like cutting those trees down would be wise.
Robert Jonasson (21 days ago)
Extra power helps a lot in this situation.Type pocket rocket into youtube and you will see this guy with a 450hp turbine in his plane.This field would have been no problem with that much power.
MacNmey (22 days ago)
Haven't read all the comments, but just off the top of my head it sure looks like he pulled it off a bit too soon. Ive launched from that airport (Mears Field) many a time, and it's really not a very difficult place. Ive taken off there in very warm weather loaded up and never came close to "barely making it". It almost seems like he wasn't producing full power or something. Very odd a Bonanza would have trouble getting out of there.
toddyrr (22 days ago)
Looks like Concrete WA which is pretty much sea level. Would have been better off holding it on the ground and rotating later vs mushing.
scottutube1 (23 days ago)
If that baby was in the plane, and it sure looks like it was, then this guy should seriously think about never flying again. It's one thing to put yourself in danger and take a risk, but the baby? That is simply insane and unacceptable. Everything else I can understand. Not that.
FlightChops (23 days ago)
No. Neither I or the baby were on that flight. Did you actually watch the whole video? It is about debriefing footage that was sent to me way after it had happened.
HotRodRay (27 days ago)
J turn = 150 ft takeoff distance
James McDowell (27 days ago)
Let the plane fly itself off!
Adam Caldwell (1 month ago)
I'm not a pilot yet but I'm going to say I would have stayed on gowned longer to gain more speed before lifting off, But I am guessing based off my knowledge of lift & resistance. Real pilots have the experience
GW (1 month ago)
Dragged my floats through some willows, at the end of a pothole lake on T O once. If I had, had a piece of carbon between my buttocks, I could have made a diamond.
Mark Pavinich (1 month ago)
That take off could have been performed better -- just a few examples -- Removed some more fuel or go into the field with less fuel. When I know I am going to be too heavy based on the field and temp conditions, I have a siphon to remove fuel. Not counting ---- coming to a stop on the runway is like leaving valuable runway to be unusable. SImply put, come out of the gate running --- could have came off the taxi way rolling around at 20 knots and time of reaching the numbers -- been at 40 knots --- I have done that many times to get the aircraft airborne ASAP using the minimum runway --- when at gross, hot, and heavy. If you use these technique, you will be at Vr in less than 500 feet and airborne in less than 1000 feet . Plus, a little bit of flaps help as well. You don't need to use 10 or 15 / 20 --- especially when you flaps can be set in a variable condition -- such as 3 / 5 / 7, etc degrees .Plus do not add flaps until you are at the Vr speed --- These techniques ensure that you will use the minimum runway. If you don't believe me, go out and try what I said ---- and note the distance --- No DOUBT, you will use less than taxing on to the runway , ligning up with the numbers, coming to a stop, reving up the engine and letting go the breaks. Common sense, if you are already at 20 , 30, or 40 knots before getting to the numbers instead of 0 (zero), you will be up in the air sooner compared to starting at the runway numbers at 0 knots! --- Well, this pilot was rewarded with thumbs up --- more so this was poor judgement, planning, and decision making!
Scotty Catman (1 month ago)
Bad pilot move to consider that takeoff.
Good pilot moves once he took off.
Clipping those trees wouldn't have put him in the ground, though.
Big H (1 month ago)
Taylor Given (1 month ago)
Great pilot but shut your mouth with the dumbass commentary. .... that's I dis liked this video ..... because you want to learn?????? Ummmm that's like saying I'm going to be a supercross champion this year but this is my first year riding dirtbikes! Made yourself sound dumb as hell... hope I'm never in a plane your piloting!!!!
Felipe Artista (1 month ago)
tiestu (1 month ago)
Maybe a rolling take-off would have helped .
Cajunman Dick (1 month ago)
As a ex-ag pilot myself I was amazed to see the wings not waggle and lose lift, you were lucky son, make sure you use better judgement next time. I bet you had to change your underwear afterwards after you reached your destination. Old pilots are old for a reason!.
Lars Lake (1 month ago)
rotated to soon.. the next time you do that may be your last time
Bill Callahan (1 month ago)
I'm a multi thousand hour pilot & have never flown perfectly...just luckily. There are many multi thousand hour pilots who don't know shit from beans. We've got some real shit for brains airline pilots up there too who shouldn't be allowed to drive golf carts. Many "retired early" along with their disbelieving "we're going to crash" passengers in the back.
Stephen Smith (1 month ago)
Trim those tree tops!
Stephen Smith (1 month ago)
Lol! "Things we are not doing again"! Next time: Full Flaps!
Waco Biplane (1 month ago)
The Bellanca Skyrocket has no problem blasting out of Mears Field.
Time to trade in your Wichita spam and learn to fly in the mountains! 🗽
Bman (1 month ago)
You made it out safe. Big plus in anyone's books. The video most likely didn't do the exit justice The sights of the tree tops, the noise and the thought that it might not work out as planned what a rush I would of hated to watch this video and seen it fail. We learn ,We Live , we fly another day. Stay humble my friend.
Learn, live ,repeat. 😀
Timxx3868 (1 month ago)
ground loops & thin air take offs will catch you !!
Aren't I Adorable (1 month ago)
Build a Ramp by grading the runway from 0° to maybe 40° and extend the runway by 200' and you wouldn't have to worry. Better Yet, get a few more Hamsters and oil the Wheels and you wouldn't even need a runway!
Jean Fish (1 month ago)
Reminds me of the old Mott field in Dunsmure ( sp) CA.
coronaking812 (1 month ago)
Soooo, his real mistake was landing there? Or was it built there,,,,,,,,hope not.
Greg Buck (1 month ago)
Density altitude is a bitch! Did something like this yrs ago on a 2000 ft grass strip.....even pulled out the POH. And I was not impressed with the performance. REMEMBER.....test pilots right the performance specs! Not "Joe blow 1000 hr around the pattern pilot".
Mark Oppuse (1 month ago)
Cut the trees down.
Steve Stair (1 month ago)
Any take off you fly away from is like any landing you walk away from is all good...
Life Saver Gummy Bear (1 month ago)
I don't understand, were you overloaded?
Corey Mullis (1 month ago)
He just says.....WOW
Larry Smith (1 month ago)
I had a similar situation in an old C150. I rotated and started to climb but very little power. It sounded odd. A quick found that my left knee had hit the switch key somehow and only left me with one mag. Problem solved when I turned the key to normal.
iamihop (1 month ago)
Who puts trees at the end of a runway?
Beechpilot (1 month ago)
Nick Hammer (1 month ago)
I would have yanked it back and died ! ...... wow
DEAD12321 (1 month ago)
Looks like if the take-off scene in American Made if it was a single prop.
studio88 (1 month ago)
Yikes that was close. A bit "too" close for my liking as I am sure it would be for the pilot!
K S (1 month ago)
My old flight instructor told me more than once that speed kills in a vehicle, speed saves in an airplane. Words to live by.
Good video. Thanks for posting.
Riley Raine (1 month ago)
Dang ...I wouldn't have attempted that, unless I had too. I would put the bare minimum gasoline needed and remove any excess weight possible and do it on an empty stomach, after having a bowl movement for the day. I can understand a non-experience polit trying that, but not an experience pilot. You would think an experience pilot would know better not to attempt that. He almost bit the dust on that one.
John Ogo (1 month ago)
Yeah just bushcut the treetops off and you’ll be alright!
Bonanza Driver (1 month ago)
I don't think it's turbocharged
Spencer Bass (1 month ago)
Paul Peestol (1 month ago)
Don't let performance calculations compromise your min/max to such an extent that you lose your bargaining power with mother nature. She has a 100% debt recovery rate!
SARDiverDave (1 month ago)
"Things we are not doing again...!"
succesfuldeals (1 month ago)
So what was the take off strategy? It seems like it should be a short field takeoff, i.e., hold brakes and full power (plane seems to be moving early), check engine gauges (he does that after moving), release brakes, check airspeed, pitch for Vx after rotation speed. But it seems like he used a soft field takeoff, i.e., lift off as soon as possible (hence the stall warning), stay in ground effect (nose down which he does) until reaching Vx. But it was not a soft field .... Just doesn’t seem executed per POH, which is essential for these conditions.
Shannon McDowell (1 month ago)
I can only imagine the shit storm of Monday morning quarterbacking that brought the YouTube vermin out like cockroaches at a garbage pit
Travis (1 month ago)
It reminds me of this story.
Two moose hunters, Wally and Jeff, from New Mexico, fly to a remote area in Alberta, Canada. They have a fabulous hunting expedition and both manage to shoot a large moose.
When the plane returns to pick them up, Ronnie, the pilot looks at the animals and says, 'This little plane won't lift all of us, the equipment, and both of those animals. You'll have to leave one. We'd never make it over the trees on the take off.'
'That's gobbled-gook and nonsense!' explodes an angry Wally.
Yep,' agrees Jeff, 'you're just a cowardly custard. We came out here last year and got two moose and that pilot had some guts. He wasn't afraid to take off!'
'Mmmm,' adds Wally, 'and his plane wasn't any bigger than yours, Ronnie.'
Ronnie becomes cross, as well, and snaps, 'Dang me, if he did it, then I can do it! I can fly as well as anybody'
Wally and Jeff load up the plane; they taxi at full throttle and the plane almost makes it, but doesn't have the lift to clear the trees at the end of the lake. It touches the tree tops, flips, and breaks up. Everything scatters; the baggage, animal carcasses, and passengers.
Still alive, but dazed, Ronnie pilot sits up, shakes his head to clear it, and mumbles, 'Where are we?'
Wally appears dishevelled from behind a shrub, looks around and replies, 'Oh.....I'd say ... about a hundred metres further than last year.'
fingerhorn4 (1 month ago)
The reason why this is a very bad idea is that even if you think your calculations are correct, you are airborne initially in ground effect which gives you a lot more lift than when you leave ground effect. That's why you see a history of so many accidents where an aircraft becomes airborne then either cannot climb any more, or climbs initially then falls back to earth. Where the runway drops away into a steep downward slope with fir trees lining your route it is far worse still. Suddenly you have no ground effect and even with gear up, flaps up you are wallowing barely above the stall. I think it is extraordinary to describe this pilot as either having experience or skill. It's bad enough as a solo pilot but carrying passengers as well is sheer selfish lunacy. We all make mistakes but this is far worse than a "mistake". It was wilful negligence and knowingly putting lives at risk.
Dutchhero2 (1 month ago)
As others said 700 hrs is nothing and a 50% personal margin is a lot.
Michael Brown (1 month ago)
I would have back taxied and turned around on the runway maintaining as much momentum as possible beginning the take off roll.
Muddywoof (1 month ago)
close family friend died last month crashing after a takeoff going wrong in exactly the same way.
14598175 (1 month ago)
The books said he'd make it and by-golly he did! But joking aside, adding 50% to your personal minimums is a little overboard.
sheldon kelly (1 month ago)
I think he tried to rotate too soon. Had he held it on the runway another couple of hundred feet, his climb performance might have improved enough for him to clear the trees.
HeliRy (2 months ago)
This is the kind of thing that makes me glad I fly helicopters lol.
Michelle Tag (2 months ago)
Sorry I can't subscribe or Like your post. I don't do ads.
Wally Brown (2 months ago)
rule of thumb... if you don’t reach 70% of takeoff speed by half way down the runway, shut it down.
Kevin Moore (2 months ago)
I can't do it. Ok, don't do it.
I can do it. Ok, do it.
I *THINK* I can do it. This is when I have gotten hurt.
Kevin Moore (2 months ago)
South Lake Tahoe airport had so many density altitude crashes, they put up a very large sign that takes the air temp, humidity, and calculates the density altitude.
Density Altitude is ..... feet.
The local news recorded planes taxing by the sign, seeing the calculated altitude and taxing back to the flight line.
Jay McMullan (2 months ago)
This is a good video to share. I'm sure there have been plenty of times like this where it did not go so well. Thanks for all of your videos!
TheGizMan1 (2 months ago)
Love your videos about personal minimums. Too many people get into trouble because of no personal minimums. Well done.
Tom Little (2 months ago)
Boy, did he ever dodge a bullet here! The initial comment, "...you're going to use every bit of runway here," leaves absolutely no room for error. Should never been attempted in the first place. Got away with it this time, but just the slightest shift to a tailwind.....well, the outcome could have easily become different.....fatally different! Without a doubt, very poor decision making on the part of the PIC. Not only know the airplane's limitation, but know your own personal limitations. I'm sure I've done this myself in over 50 plus years of flying. Still alive to talk about it, but not proud of it, that's for sure!!! MAKE GOOD DECISIONS!!
shockabra dakind (2 months ago)
why not cut the trees down??? Da!!!
Billie Tyree (2 months ago)
I wonder if they've patched the hole in that seat yet.
Yuri Levenfeld (2 months ago)
Wondering how much paintjob cost him after he used underlying trees as a toothbrush for his belly and wings
Casey Bowman (2 months ago)
A DHC Beaver would have no problem I bet.
henry dumor (2 months ago)
i did some short field landings and take offs in the alps onto grass strips some years ago
luck they were on a slope and you used the slope to slow up before the mountain wall on landing and the accelerate on take off over a cliff edge
the funniest thing was the swiss cows scattered about the field who didnt take any notice of the plane
Dmytro Picky (2 months ago)
high density of what? crazy ppl?)
Blue Fox (2 months ago)
The pilot think this is funny for some reason an it's not. I wonder would it have been funny if plane crashed?.
reno flames (2 months ago)
I would have did V-1 a little further down the runway for speed.
reno flames (2 months ago)
Message from a 28000 hour Pilot. A Pilot License is a License to Learn to Fly. Don't walk a tight rope and you won't fall.
RAM (2 months ago)
Hea Chris , take my ex GF up, and tell we can make it look like an accident.
Mike Crake (2 months ago)
Eye opener 4 me. Temp also a factor. Engine performance is often not a factor you know upfront like weight. Sometimes when hiring you haven't flown the aircraft so you in dark
ocsrc (2 months ago)
Is life just too boring ?
ocsrc (2 months ago)
How about getting some altitude after you clear the trees
GypsyKing (2 months ago)
trim those trees near the edge of the runway just in case that might help a bit