SteveW: This article was written based on FAA-recommended short-field procedures and is really meant more as Vx and Vy 101. Sounds like you're ready to go flying with a bush pilot for the "rest of the story" on short-field takeoffs. Now that's information you won't find in any POH. :-) SP
One major concern that makes me hesitate to climb out at Vx unless there is a good reason (obstacles) is that the engine is rarely at full operating temperature during initial take-off and I cannot help but feel this loading of the engine before it is fully warmed up will be harmful. Thoughts?
Good Point about engine temp and loading. May be good to see this as it's own topic.
This article seems primarily intended for students and new pilots. Here's my two cents about Vx, Vy and cruise climb.
If obstacle clearance is what you require, check the POH to confirm that the airplane can climb above the obstacle before you think about taking off! Before establishing Vx you need to think about rotating right at Vr, to get the plane up and climbing ASAP. The value of Vr for your airplane can be found in the "Limitations" section of the POH (pilot's operating handbook). Accelerate to Vr and then do a brisk pull back on the stick but don't pitch beyond about 15 degrees up on your attitude indicator. Then quickly stabilize then airplane at Vr and leave the throttle and prop levers alone until the obstacle is cleared. At such a slow speed you'll need plenty of right rudder to keep the ball in the middle. If there is any significant headwind on takeoff the angle you achieve will be a bit more steeper, and the opposite applies as well. Pilots should not fear climbing at a steep angle as long as their airspeed is controlled at, or slightly above, Vx. That is what the airplane was built to do. If you cannot control airspeed that accurately you need to seriously consider getting more instruction.
Once all obstacles are cleared you'll want to reduce power to climb setting and change the propeller pitch setting as you accelerate to Vy for maximum climb rate. But that is not the end of the story.
Many light aircraft climb nearly as well as Vy as higher indicated airspeeds. Experiment with your airplane and see what the tradeoffs are. Use the cruise climb technique when you want to maximize groundspeed in exchange for a bit less climb rate.
Whether you get to your destination faster by climbing at Vy or cruise climb is a subject for another day.
Surrey, BC Canada