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Word of the Month - Overshoot

Harvard in the overshoot

By Ian Brown, Editor - Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Apparently one aviation word that separates our two languages - not English and French; this difference is between Canadian and American English - is "overshoot". You might never know of this difference unless you have to clarify to an American that what you meant was a "go-around". For an American pilot an "overshoot" is a reason to "go around" because he overshot his target. It's also used more generally to indicate having overrun something like a target point or a runway. In fact the press seems to use it most often for aircraft running off the runway.

Transport Canada uses "overshoot" in a very specific way to indicate the decision to abort the attempted landing and to rejoin the circuit.

As you may remember from your student pilot days, the moment you decide to overshoot, you should make every effort to stay to the right of the runway, having first established a positive rate of climb. Depending on other traffic and your reason for overshooting, it's good practice to stay to the right of the axis, because in the case of a runway incursion or other traffic conflict, clearing the axis helps reduce the possibility of two aircraft trying to be in the same spot! Remember the other aircraft may still not have noticed you. If you have ever begun your takeoff and been surprised by an overflying aircraft, you would know why it's better not to be chasing the tail of that aircraft as you rotate.

One of the Transport Canada flight test items is overshooting, which states:

Flight Test Items - 12. Overshoot

To determine that the candidate can use the correct procedures to execute a safe overshoot.

The examiner may request the overshoot from the landing approach, the forced landing or elsewhere during the test. The candidate will be required to use the procedures specified in the operating manual.

Performance Criteria
Assessment will be based on the candidate's ability to conduct an overshoot in accordance with the procedures specified in the operating manual. If no procedure is specified, the candidate will:

  • Promptly and smoothly apply maximum allowable power;
  • Establish a positive rate of climb;
  • Control direction; and
  • Complete the appropriate checks.

So the next time you decide to overshoot, remember that that's the difference between overshooting in the United States and Canada - the deciding part!


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