According to Cessna, the single-engine climb rate
penalty with extended gear would have been about 400 fpm, resulting in a marginal, best-case 1.66 fpm single-engine climb rate
at the time of the accident.
The standard minimum climb rate
on an eastbound course is sufficient to keep you out of trouble.
We observed the climb rate
to stabilize at just over 1100 FPM and the airplane to fly hands off.
And that's while consuming less fuel and probably with a much better climb rate
. True, the 172 can fit four people, if they're typical Americans of 50 years ago, not the fatties of today, and if you're making just a local flight.
In fact, a pilot ferrying an Archer 11411 across the Atlantic Ocean with a 100-gallon tank in the back seat recently reported a 300-fpm climb rate
. That's less than half the Archer's published value of 667 fpm.
Obstruction clearance for departures is evaluated assuming a climb rate
of 200 feet per NM.
In all these cases, the pilot failed to establish and maintain a positive climb rate
. In one case, the airplane descended well below field elevation into a valley before impacting an obstacle.
The needed climb rate
is in the range of 750 to 1300 FPM.
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Remembering that accident, I wondered whether the pilot in Florida might have pushed the button on a similar autopilot during the takeoff roll, capturing the heading and the altitude rather than the climb rate
because he was not yet climbing.
Given your short takeoff run (say 800 feet on a good day), slow groundspeed (surely less than 130 knots) and a good climb rate
(1500 fpm i on a good day), you could very well be high enough to begin your first turn while still over the runway.