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FAST: V1, is it a decision speed and how could a PPL holder use it?

V1 is it a decision speed and how could a Private Pilot make use of it?

Topic: Flight Performance & Planning

First up, let's dispel one popular myth: V1 is NOT a decision speed. If it were and you attempted to make a decision AT V1 about whether to continue or reject the take-off, and you chose the latter, you'd more than likely slide off the end of the runway and crash.

What is V1 then? Simply, it's a speed at which a rejected take-off procedure can safely be actioned and pretty much guarantee your aircraft stopping by the end of the runway. You do NOT make a decision at this speed, you make your decision well before you get in your aircraft.

What happens if I decide to reject the take-off due to some problem at a speed higher than V1? Chances are you'll slide off the end again and crash as you'll reach the proverbial 'dead mans curve' (too slow to take-off but too fast to stop). Another rubbish place to find yourself

V1 isn't a speed many Private Pilots are familiar with. It's usually associated with multi-engine passenger transport aircraft. That doesn't mean that YOU can't have one. Try this as a very good rule of thumb:

If you haven't reached HALF your take-off speed by a THIRD of the way down the runway, REJECT the take-off. Your controller/instructor will help you determine where the THIRD marker point is on your runway. If not, google earth and measuring tools do a fine job.

One final point, please ensure you're all doing your fair share of rejected take-offs. They are not as easy as you might think when the aircraft is close to flying speed. As a student, you should have done at least 3 before going solo.

Hope you've all enjoyed reading.

As always, fly safely

Adam Berrington (TGC Team)

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