I've been doing a lot of check rides in multi engine and complex airplanes lately. I've noticed a change in fundamentals of when to raise the landing gear. I thought I'd share my thoughts on the subject.
It seems that the "new" idea of raising the gear is to wait until "out of usable runway". When I ask why they do this the response has universally been "if I lose an engine or need to abort I can put it back on the runway". I like to challenge some of the ideas that pop up out there to see if they make sense, so here are a few of questions I like to ask.
1. Have you ever been tried or been trained to abort a takeoff shortly after lift off? 90% have said no.
2. If you did abort a takeoff from low altitude, how much forward distance would you use? Will you be able to land and stop on the remaining runway? Think about what you have to do here: 1, recognize a problem, 2, make the decision to abort, 3, lower the nose and reduce the power, 4, lower flaps. 5. Think about airspeed (will it be high, low or just right), 6, Think about sink rate (what will it be). 7, Flare. 8, Brake to a stop.
3. What are the pros and cons to leaving the gear down until "out of usable runway". Pros-If I do have to abort I can land on the gear and prevent damage (provided you're still on the runway). Cons- Increased drag which will reduced reduce the rate of climb 250-300 feet per minute and decrease acceleration or, if the engine quit, rapidly reduce airspeed until the nose is lowered sufficiently.
Back in the so-call "old days" we where taught to raise the gear with a positive rate of climb. Your rate of climb was better, acceleration was increased and If an engine did quit, the airspeed wouldn't bleed off as quickly. I think most would argue having more altitude gives you more options. When you're low to the ground even having an extra 200 feet of altitude will increase your landing areas.
The biggest problem I see with waiting until "out of usable runway" is that the pilot waits too long to raise the gear that there is no way that they will be able to land on the remaining runway. To me I would rather have the additional altitude and less drag hanging out there. If the engine does quit, the insurance company owns the airplane. I can focus on flying the airplane as far into the crash as I can.
Just my 2 cents and I could be wrong!
One of the latest problems I've seen with Instrument and CFII check rides has been with knowing how to apply Lost Communication procedures to real life situations. Some applicants have been quoting stuff from Google and Youtube. While there is a lot of good information to be found on the internet, some of it can be down right incorrect. For example a quick search in YouTube for lost communication procedures will produce several videos. While several of them are good and worth your time watching, others leave out valuable information and a couple offer bad advice that contradicts FAR 91.185.
Most applicants know the pneumonic AVE-F and MEA which cover 91.185 (c) (1) and (2) but there is also a 3 paragraph. 91.185(c)(3) discusses when to leave a clearance limit and shooting the instrument approach.
I've included the text of 91.185 below. I recommend developing several scenarios where you have lost communication and then work through 91.185 to get yourself safely on the ground.
§ 91.185 IFR operations: Two-way radio communications failure.(a) General. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each pilot who has two-way radio communications failure when operating under IFR shall comply with the rules of this section.
(b) VFR conditions. If the failure occurs in VFR conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after the failure, each pilot shall continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable.
(c) IFR conditions. If the failure occurs in IFR conditions, or if paragraph (b) of this section cannot be complied with, each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:
(i) By the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received;
(ii) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;
(iii) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; or
(iv) In the absence of an assigned route or a route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance, by the route filed in the flight plan.
(2) Altitude. At the highest of the following altitudes or flight levels for the route segment being flown:
(i) The altitude or flight level assigned in the last ATC clearance received;
(ii) The minimum altitude (converted, if appropriate, to minimum flight level as prescribed in § 91.121(c)) for IFR operations; or
(iii) The altitude or flight level ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance.
(3) Leave clearance limit.
(i) When the clearance limit is a fix from which an approach begins, commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if one has not been received, as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.
(ii) If the clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.