had a learning experience last week that I’d like to share resulting from a simple, yet unexpected, source – a new pair of shoes.

I was in my airplane, a Mooney M20J at Buttonville (CYKZ) the holding bay for runway 21.  I was happy to be using 21-03 as the longer runway was closed for the day.  It’s nice to have a change-up.  Just before I begin my application of full-power, I make it a good habit to planting my heels firmly on the floor and make sure my feet are nimble on the pedals and not on the brakes.  Everything felt good, looked normal and I applied full-power.

As I accelerated down the runway, I felt my feet not working well on the rudder pedals.  My foot placement was awkward and didn’t feel I had great control.  Halfway to the bravo intersection,  I immediately throttled back and applied brakes as gently as I could over a hump in the runway intersection.

Buttonville traffic, GMGR.  Aborting the take-off.

As I made the radio calls and began the long taxi back, I debriefed with myself about those new shoes. Shiny black Nikes, size 15.  As I wiggled my toes, it remind me why I never feel safe flying in my winter boots.  They are just too damn big.  These shoes were stiff and not properly broken in.  My mistake was I didn’t give them a second thought.

Big feet and appropriate footwear were not on my checklist.

I’m sure the takeoff would have been fine.  But it’s better to be safe than otherwise.  Also, I never aborted a take-off before, and really felt it was a pretty good learning experience.  Like the occasional unexpected overshoot

I remember a video posted this spring on Aviation 101 on this very subject:  https://youtu.be/1Cvs_WDd9OU   It’s worth checking out.

A great lesson learned for me and all the XL pilots out there.

Happy flying, COPA members.  Those colours are gorgeous.

 Bob Goulais
Nipissing First Nation