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Takeoff briefings

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Prop Trash

Well-known member
Dec 6, 2001
This post is to solicit advice mainly from guys that have been in the left seat for a while, but anyone who has a good idea, chime in. I'm a rather new captain and want to refine my takeoff briefing to make it informative, flow smoothly, and cover all of the items necessary to enhance crew coordination. I've tried to elliminate redundant, obvious things like:
  • "standard left seat departure"
  • "VFR, dry runway"
  • "in the event of an aborted takeoff, I'll talk to ATC, you advise the PAX"
  • "standard company callouts, profiles and procedures"
What I do include is:
  • expected route to the first fix
  • initial altitude, filed altitude
  • things NOT TO abort a takeoff for, things TO abort a takeoff for
  • review of acceleration altitude/pattern altitude, and positive transfer of control after an engine failure
  • weather, if it is marginal at takeoff or at the destination airport
What do you include that I have left out? If you include things that I have listed as unnecessary (IMO), what are some reason you don't leave them out? I'm just looking for some advice here. Please be nice.
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Take Off briefing

Your take off briefing should be short and cover the basics.
All the actions to be taken in event of an abort, lost hyd, etc, should be part of your SOP and need not be briefed. Going into excessive detail about what direction you turn with an engine failure etc, will most likely be forgotten if the event actually happens. Details of initial heanding and altitude may not be given until you start your take off roll and therefore could not be included in a briefing given before you take the runway. I have seen many briefings where they go on for three minutes and cover everything in the AOM, this is not needed. This is our FAA approaved company take off briefing goes somethibng like this. "This will be my takeoff, prior to V1 call out any malfunction affecting safety of flight, I will make the abort decision, after V1 I will continue to fly the airplane and handle any malfunction as an in flight emergency., any questions" We have add ons for special airports, etc. This is the only breifing given by our pilots.
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Here's the Air Willy version (hope I still remember it...)

This is a right/left seat departure. We will abort for any problem prior to 80kts. Between 80kts and V1, we will abort for any engine failure, fire, or loss of directional control. The words for the abort will be "Abort, Abort". After V1 we will treat it as an inflight emergency and return to the airport/go to our alternate. Our on course heading is XXX. Route of flight is XXX. Do you have any questions?

That is the briefing I gave. It is not word for word from the book but it is quite close and would suffice for any trip I have flown.
Takeoff briefing

Doesn't your company have a standard takeoff brief to which you must adhere with a set format that you more or less have to memorize and modify for conditions?

Just asking. I haven't flown for airlines but taught Alitalia students. They had a standard brief that they used.
I'll chime in on this one too, our standard takeoff briefing goes something like this:

This takeoff will be made using standard calls and procedures (or non-standard as appropriate) from runway XX at intersection XX. We will abort for anything below V1 and after V1 the call will be max power, flaps 10, check for feather on the failed engine. If it isnt feathered then I (flying pilot) will guard the good engine while you secure the bad one. We will climb up to 1000 ft and run the phase two checks. Otherwise per our clearance of XXX at <altitude>. Any questions?

I know it looks a little wordy but it covers all the important issues and only takes a few seconds to spit out. All other issues such as who is working the radios etc etc should be clear before you even taxi.
PSA has a standard and it goes something like this for the Dork

"This will be my takeoff, standard calls and procedures. Any malfunction prior to V1 we will abort, after V1 we will continue the takeoff. You will do the emergency procedures at my command utilizing the QRH. In this event we will make left traffic for vectors back for a visual approach to 28L or R. Any Questions?"

That last part is dependent on your current situation. Short sweet and to the point. Some people add things like "if were on fire, we will park in front of the fire house" Or I'll fly it. you talk about it.

Hope this helps.
talk about what is different on this day, in this airplane, on this flight. if you are tired, bring it up. if you haven' t flown together, or there is adverse weather, or the number three thrust reverser is inop...bring up the issues that make it something other than a "routine" flight (there's always something)...and break down barriers that would affect good communication (senority, male vs female, background issues, etc...end your talk with a genuine wrap-up "' i don't have an ego, if i'm screwing up, tell me. whether it's "right now", or on the van ride to the hotel, let me know...and i'll do the same for you""
Any malfunction prior to V1 we will abort

Eahhh..... Any malfunction???? I think you guys are playing with fire if you are willing to abort for ANY malfunction prior to V1.
Air Wiskey's seems to be more in line with reality.

It's a reason why on the Airbus many of the cautions are inhibited above 80kts and up to 1500'

"Mental note: Always fly PSA"
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O.K., today we have a dry runway, so standard call outs and standard abort procedures. Callout any lights, malfunctions prior to 80, after 80 to V1, which is 12-, we'll abort only for eng. fire, eng. failure or loss of directional control, after V1 continue. Assigned heading ---, L/R turn to ---- feet. Sky is clear so we'll be making left downwind traffic, and we are above landing weight so we'll address an emergency maintaining VFR locally. No ice, radar or obstacles we can't see-any questions?

Takes about :12 seconds to announce and flexible to include changes in conditions etc...
My airline didn't have a standard brief (I kind of wish it did.) But there were certain items the Flight Manual Vol 1 required us to cover. A check airman showed me a cool way to do the takeoff briefing. It was a cockpit flow, where things in the cockpit reminded him to brief particular items. You'd have to make this flow up to be specific for your aircraft/airline, but it was neat since you have to know a bunch of cockpit flows anyway, it was a natural way to conduct the briefing without leaving anything out. (you wanna get it on the CVR)

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