Pilot's tip of the week

Final Runway Checks


Subscriber question:

"Are there any final checks I should make when turning onto the runway for takeoff?" — Bob S.



“There are three things you should include.

First, take a look at that windsock. That’s the best indicator of the wind you’re going to have on your takeoff. It’s usually close to the end of the runway, which is where you are right now. But changing wind conditions can mean what it showed two minutes ago might no longer be valid.

Second, check for traffic on final. That’s essential at both towered and non-towered airports. Controllers can make mistakes just like pilots can.

Finally, check your heading when you line up on centerline. If it doesn’t match the runway number, either your directional indicator is not set or you’ve taken the wrong runway. That’s an easier mistake than you’d think where two runways cross at a common starting point.

Anything else, such as pre-departure briefings or a check of the flight controls, can be done before announcing on the CTAF or calling Tower. I don’t like to be sitting out on the runway any longer than I have to with my back to the traffic. And controllers don’t appreciate aircraft that sit in place after a takeoff clearance unless the pilot told the controller he needs some time in position prior to rolling.”

Is it OK to pause on the runway before starting your takeoff roll?

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