Home » Most Popular » Scariest Take Off I’ve Ever Seen – Aircraft Performance and Personal Minimums

Scariest Take Off I’ve Ever Seen – Aircraft Performance and Personal Minimums

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This is an amazing example of how calculation theory and real life application don’t always line up.
Watch as a G36 Bonanza with a Tornado Alley Turbo performs a short field take off in a mountainous area, and just barley makes it out alive.
The pilot Chris, learned a ton from this experience and shares an amazingly detailed analysis at the links below.
Please visit them to share the lessons from his experience.

Chris Palmer shared this footage with me to analyze
– he is an amazing pilot from “Angle of Attack”.

LINKS you must visit for great post flight analysis:

one to Chris’ “Aviatorcast”, and one to Chris’ awesome article
(with massive comment thread)

NOTE: please avoid “Monday morning quarter backing” Chris had to deal with enough of that back when this was first put out there.



* AMENDMENT * to voice over:
I am sorry about any confusion I may have caused regarding roles density altitude and runway length played here – maybe I should have dug deeper to get some actual numbers; but Chris, the original pilot, did not have his actual performance calculations available, so I decided based on that lack of some of the specific details, to simply avoid including any of them, and I went for a more general “start the conversation” type theme, regarding personal minimums. Essentially, I made a video motivated by the visceral reaction I had to seeing the footage and wanted to share.


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I’m a Private Pilot, doing my best to stay current and learn. I fly for fun and might just be the least cocky pilot on the internet! My self analysis videos can seem self deprecating at times, but I am trying to learn from the small mistakes to avoid making a big one; I’m happy to share and find it rewarding to help other pilots or aspiring aviators in any way that I can. How does the saying go? “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards”. And in aviation, not all tests are survivable.

My virtual “ride-along” flying videos are aimed and sharing my experiences and giving back to the aviation community which has been so helpful to me. I shoot multi-camera angles, get detailed real time instrument panel shots, and have radio intercom audio. I respect people’s time, so I put a fair bit of work into editing to keep the videos concise and engaging; I add animations and further graphics and voice overs where needed to add context and explanations.

My hope is to continue to grow and evolve the “Flight Chops” project with input and support from the aviation community!

Steve Thorne, aka "Flight Chops"

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Flight Chops Disclaimer

I am a “weekend warrior” private pilot, I fly for fun with no intentions of going commercial. I have had my PPL for over 15 years, but still consider each flight a learning experience – I generally take detailed notes after each flight to remind myself what went well or what I could do to improve…. Having the GoPro cameras to record flights like this is invaluable. I find these self analysis videos very helpful in my constant quest to improve, and am happy to share.

Feedback is invited; however, please keep it positive.

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