Best Rate of Climb and Best Angle of Climb

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Best Rate of Climb and Best Angle of Climb

Post by skipperdan » Fri May 27, 2011 4:20 pm

This question appeared in my Weekly AOPA Newsletter:

Question: What is the difference between best rate-of-climb speed and best angle-of-climb speed?

Answer: Normally after takeoff a pilot is interested in reaching cruise altitude in the shortest possible time. Only one speed will do that: best rate-of-climb speed, or VY. This airspeed provides the greatest gain in altitude in the least amount of time. There are other instances, such as obstacles, when a pilot wishes to gain as much altitude as possible in the shortest distance. In this case, a pilot would choose the best angle-of-climb speed, or VX, which provides the greatest gain in altitude in a given distance. The different airspeeds that either limit or result in specific aircraft performance are known as "V" speeds—V for velocity. The different V-speed abbreviations are listed in 14 CFR 1.2. For more information on all the V-speeds and their effect on aircraft safety and performance, read about airspeed on AOPA Online.

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