NTSB warns pilots of intersection takeoffs

Many pilots reduce departure delays and taxi time by using an intersection takeoff. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), however, is warning pilots in a safety alert that there are risks associated with this type of takeoff.

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Intersection takeoffs do not use the entire available runway. They often are performed by general aviation pilots because their aircraft are smaller.

The NTSB said pilots must be aware of weather conditions and must take into consideration their experiences and the performance capabilities of the aircraft. It also urges pilots to plan departures thoroughly and to inform their crews.

“Remember, the time you save may have been the critical time you wish you had to avoid an accident or save your life or others,” Peter Korns, National Business Aviation Association operations project manager, said. “Giving up that extra runway means you’ll be lower and slower during an emergency.”

Between 2000 and 2005, there were 10 accidents involving intersection takeoffs. In one case, a pilot took off at 5,550 feet of an 8,700-foot runway. The aircraft partially lost power, and the pilot tried to return to the runway. The plane crashed, killing one and injuring six.

The NTSB ruled the intersection takeoff was responsible for the plane not having enough clearance to return to the runway.