Rejected Take Off : Stop or Go ?

It’s too early to determine the exact cause of the Aerosucre 727 crash which occurred soon after take-off at Puerto Carreño, Colombia en route to Bogota. It is however timely to discuss a rejected takeoff at high speed.

Video Plane crash Aerosucre Boeing 727

From a practical stand point there is very little margin of error when carrying out a high speed RTO. The time between the actual failure and the mechanics of stopping the aircraft is measured in seconds at best. A successful rejected takeoff at or near V1 is dependent upon the captain making timely decisions and using the proper procedures.

Unlike the 727 (arguably one of the most enjoyable airliners to fly) modern aircraft have computer systems to filter out problems that don’t directly affect the ability of the aircraft to continue the take off e.g On the Boeing 777 the Master Warning/Caution Lights and Aurals are inhibited from before V1 (Decision speed) until 400 ft./20 seconds after liftoff.

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One of the greatest attributes of the EICAS Inhibit System is it removes a lot of the complexity of a potential RTO to a small number of decisions. 

Below is an extract from a Boeing QRH

Prior to 80 knots, the takeoff should be rejected for any of the following:

  • Activation of the master caution system
  • System failure(s) 
  • Unusual noise or vibration
  • Tyre failure
  • Abnormally slow acceleration
  • Takeoff configuration warning
  • Fire or fire warning
  • Engine failure
  • Predictive windshear warning 
  • If a side window opens 
  • If the airplane is unsafe or unable to fly 

Above 80 knots and prior to V1, the takeoff should be rejected for any of the following: 

  • Fire or fire warning 
  • Engine failure 
  • Predictive windshear warning 
  • If the airplane is unsafe or unable to fly

As can been seen, the reasons to stop have been significantly reduced by the time the aircraft reaches  V1

Each airline approaches the RTO manoeuvre in a slightly different manner but the aim of an effective outcome remains the same.

This material is for general reading only and not intended to be anything more.

GLOSSARY:

V1 – The speed beyond which the takeoff should no longer be aborted

QRH – The Quick Reference Handbook, a manual for solving technical problems aboard an airplane.

EICAS – engine-indicating and crew-alerting system 

MASTER WARNING & MASTER CAUTION – The RED MASTER WARNING  and AMBER MASTER CAUTION lights illuminate to direct pilot attention to new EICAS messages.