Are rolling takeoffs now more common than powering up while holding on the brakes?

Cameron MacFarland
  • Are rolling takeoffs now more common than powering up while holding on the brakes? Cameron MacFarland

    I remember back in the 90's that commercial planes would line up on the runway, stop, apply full power and then release the brake to take off.

    Now I've been on flight where they've literally rolled from the taxiway straight onto the runway and then powered up without stopping.

    Why has that changed? What were the reasons for the older style?

  • Whether to use a static or a rolling takeoff is usually at the discretion of the captain as long as performance is not an issue and ATC doesn't need you to wait on the runway.

    Reasons to do a static takeoff include:

    • Less runway is required
    • Better obstacle clearance (mainly because of the earlier liftoff)
    • Takeoff engine power can be confirmed prior to brake release
    • ATC may require an aircraft to wait on the runway due to wake turbulence separation requirements
    • The aircraft manufacturer may not allow a rolling takeoff

    Reasons to do a rolling takeoff:

    • There is sufficient runway available
    • Obstacles are not an issue
    • Takeoff engine power can be set relatively quickly and an abort can still be made at a low speed
    • They take less time to perform, and at busy airports this can mean getting another airplane or two out/in per hour
    • They offer more passenger comfort because of the smoother acceleration

    Not all airplanes provide performance information for rolling take offs. In this case, a commonly used technique is to ensure that takeoff power is set by a certain point on the runway and adding that distance to your calculated takeoff roll for planning purposes.

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