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Short-Field Takeoffs in the P-61

Instructions for short-field takeoffs in the P-61 Black Widow reproduced from: Pilot Training Manual for the Black Widow, P-61, Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Training, Headquarters AAF, Washington, D.C.



Suppose you are on a field pitted with bomb holes. You must get off the ground as soon as possible. However, we’ll assume there are no obstacles to clear. Therefore, you do not have to pick up altitude quickly.

1. Make the usual pre-takeoff check.

2. Lower your wing flaps 2/3.

3. Line up for takeoff as close to the end of the runway as possible.

4. Run the engines to full takeoff manifold pressure (54″ Hg.) against the brakes.

5. Release the brakes and start your run, but keep the nosewheel on the ground as long as you can while picking up speed.

6. Pull the nosewheel off the ground and take off as soon as you have reached flying speed (75 mph at 29,000 lbs. gross weight). Then, raise the wheels and level off to attain critical single engine speed before climbing.

In short-field takeoffs, you may use your water injection system to increase the engines’ horsepower and help you get off sooner.



Fields bordered by obstacles generally are also short. To take off under these conditions, follow the procedure of a short-field takeoff, with the following exceptions:

1. Take off at the last possible moment.

2. After getting off the ground, raise your wheels and climb steeply until you have cleared the obstacle. Then level off to gain speed.


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