To ensure safety is not precluded in the event of an engine failure, the FAA has
established climb gradient minimums enforced through Federal Regulations.
Furthermore, to ensure aircraft do not accidentally impact an obstacle on takeoff due to
insufficient climb performance, standard instrument departure procedures have their own
set of climb gradient minimums which are typically more than those set by Federal
Regulation. This inconsistency between climb gradient expectations creates an obstacle
clearance problem: while the aircraft has enough climb gradient in the engine inoperative
condition so that basic flight safety is not precluded, this climb gradient is often not
strong enough to overfly real obstacles; this implies that the pilot must abort the takeoff
flight path and reverse course back to the departure airport to perform an emergency
landing. One solution to this is to reduce the dispatch weight to ensure that the aircraft
retains enough climb performance in the engine inoperative condition, but this comes at
the cost of reduced per-flight profits.
An alternative solution to this problem is the extended second segment (E2S)
climb. Proposed by Bays & Halpin, they found that a C-130H gained additional obstacle
clearance performance through this simple operational change. A thorough investigation
into this technique was performed to see if this technique can be applied to commercial
aviation by using a model A320 and simulating multiple takeoff flight paths in either a
calm or constant wind condition. A comparison of takeoff flight profiles against real
world departure procedures shows that the E2S climb technique offers a clear obstacle
clearance advantage which a scheduled four-segment flight profile cannot provide.