Rejected Takeoff

An aircraft is accelerating down runway 31C at Midway Airport in Chicago. Nearing V1, a muted “pop” is heard, there’s some vibration and a slight swerve. What to do?

This involves a fairly complicated decision tree that may only get practiced once a year in the simulator. And it’s likely that this scenario has NEVER been encountered, even in the simulator. It’s been discussed, but that’s a long way from assuring proper response in the heat of battle. We exercise more neural pathways by presenting the sights and sounds, and having the crew member go through it in real time.

This is a blown tire. If the pilot reacts correctly, he will look at his N1 gauges, and if they’re good, continue the takeoff to easily sort it out in the air. But if he rejects, it means trying to stop at least one tire not helping brake.

 

Real-Time

Practicing this in a real-time iPad simulation, with all the relevant inputs, could dramatically improve decision speed and accuracy, especially with some repetition.

Everything is in the same relative place as the cockpit because it is a 3D cockpit. Engine gauges appear in the corresponding place where engine gauges are located. Sounds are simulated so he hears a muted “pop.” The pilot sees a very slight swerve that’s easily corrected, and everything shakes slightly to simulate the very slight vibration that may be felt.

He responds by either continuing (doing nothing but the normal takeoff) or doing a correct rejected takeoff.

 

Feedback

Pilot response is assessed for correctness of decision and execution of the reject. To count as a success, it must be done promptly and in the correct order down to a stop. If something doesn’t go well, he’s offered another chance to try again at the same scenario. Speed at which the stimulus (tire burst) occurs varies.

 

Understanding

Every situation is different, and going “by the book” may not always be the correct response, but it is the most LIKELY to be correct. Just like how seat belts can kill by trapping an occupant in a car, but on average, they save FAR more lives. That’s “doing it by the book.” If pilot responses could be more reliably “by the book,” then it would improve the likelihood of a good outcome in a tough situation.