After taxiing to your assigned runway, you are almost ready for take off. Once you are first in line, you should be in a position similar to the picture below.
Follow these instructions for a smooth and successful take off at a towered airport.
- Never enter any runway prior to receiving clearance to do so. Taxi to the position in the picture above and tune to the tower frequency when ready to take off.
- Send the Request Takeoff message (you need to select a runway number). The runway you have been assigned previously should be on top of the list.
- If you are staying to practice landings (touch and goes), select Remaining in the pattern
- If you are leaving the airport, select Departing and then a direction of flight
- In a typical scenario, tower will respond with “N1RT, Runway 31, cleared for take off” (See below for other possible responses from Tower)
- You are now authorized to enter the runway. Acknowledge the take off clearance by sending the Acknowledge message, then proceed to take off.
- If an active Approach or Departure Controller is active at the time, tower will send a request for frequency change to that controller. If no facility is open at the time, tower will send a Frequency Change Approved message.
- Depending on traffic conditions, tower can respond in one of the following two ways:
- Hold Short, Runway XX: This means that there is landing traffic, or on the runway. If you’re not at the hold short line, taxi up to it but do not enter the runway.
- Line up and wait, Runway XX: This means that a traffic has landed, or is taking off, and you can prepare for take off by entering the runway and line up. Do not take off until you receive the clearance.
- Once again, do not enter the runway without a clearance.
- No waiting on the runway when you’ve cleared to takeoff. Line up and go. Others might be waiting behind you to have fun too.
- When instructed to do an “immediate take off”, please try to expedite, no waiting on the runway, there is most likely traffic coming for landing. Tower is giving you a favor by letting you go quickly, don’t let them down.
- Do not send unnecessary messages, especially when frequency is busy. Once you’ve asked for take off, wait a bit for the reply. If you don’t get an immediate reply, be patient, the controller might be busy.
- If frequency is busy when you’re leaving, just change frequency, tower knows if you’ve switched. Use common sense to keep everyone happy
- Touch and goes requests may not be granted all the time. During peak times, tower cannot handle incoming/outgoing traffic as well as airplanes in the pattern. This is at the controller’s discretion.
- Before take off, make sure you turn on your landing light as well as your strobe lights.
- Check for crosswind before you take off. Active runways at airports are not necessarily the one that the wind favors the most.