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Landing on grass and fields?

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Looks like I'm going to be invited by my fellow flying buddies to make a few trips which involve grass and dirt field strips. These strips are typical small unimproved runways usually found in Idaho, Montana and Utah.

 

I know this has been a topic before but and fresh tips would be greatly appreciated.

 

Question: my FD has the tundra option so with this set up are these tire sizes usually able to handle the rough stuff? What techniques can one do to test the situation before committing? My friends are flying V35 Bonanza, RV7, C-172, Piper 140, Rans ??

 

Thanks everyone!

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Looks like I'm going to be invited by my fellow flying buddies to make a few trips which involve grass and dirt field strips. These strips are typical small unimproved runways usually found in Idaho, Montana and Utah.

 

I know this has been a topic before but and fresh tips would be greatly appreciated.

 

Question: my FD has the tundra option so with this set up are these tire sizes usually able to handle the rough stuff? What techniques can one do to test the situation before committing? My friends are flying V35 Bonanza, RV7, C-172, Piper 140, Rans ??

 

Thanks everyone!

 

You can go anywhere the airplanes you mentioned can go, except *maybe* the Rans, depending on model.  Just keep your approach speed 55kt or below and use 30° flaps if the field is short, and keep the stick back when landing and taxiing.  On takeoff I use full aft stick and relax it as the airplane picks up speed.  Let it break ground, then hold just above the runway and build some speed before climbing.  Standard short/soft field techniques.

 

If there are sizable rocks (larger than pebbles) on the runway I'd use caution.  Even with the tundra tires our wheel diameter is small, and prop clearance is not great.  

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Any place that can fit a C172 will easily fit a ct, in fact if it fits a Bonanza it is not small but I consider large. You really only need about 1000 ft. runway the others need lots more. Just use full flap and the book speeds and it is easy. If you have developed lazy habits eg. coming in fast and using only 15 deg. flap then you may need to adjust thinking a bit. Practice at your home field by visualising a point on the runway that only gives you a limited amount of runway, say about 600 ft. then keep using that till you get used to that distance it is then easy. You can use short field techniques after that but you wont need to, The CT is really very capable just use the flight manual numbers and not a dreamed up set of procedures. 

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Those tips sound good thanks!

 

The second part of my question is our rigs and how they handle rough terrain? I guess one must avoid the usual stuff like rocks and holes! I think I'll lag behind and let the others test the field first!????

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Always taxi with the stick full aft to keep as much weight off the nose wheel as possible.  Go slow if the surface is very rough.  Don't try to climb abrupt inclines as you can run into prop clearance issues.  Other than that it's like most other airplanes.

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Always taxi with the stick full aft to keep as much weight off the nose wheel as possible.  Go slow if the surface is very rough.  Don't try to climb abrupt inclines as you can run into prop clearance issues.  Other than that it's like most other airplanes.

 

An incline abrupt enough to cause issues with the propeller is likely going to cause issues with the landing gear also. I think you would need an incline of almost 30° before the propeller is an issue, and it would be even steeper for airplane with the factory tundra option.

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I remember seeing Mr Cows wheel cover fold over and under the tire preventing him from taking off on a YouTube video. I'm not one for rough fields as I think they are really hard on airplanes due to vibration. I'll have to still to tackle a few this summer.

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What about grass and dirt field landings without the tundra tires?

 

The CTLS I'm purchasing doesn't have the larger tundra tires. Thanks!!

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I'm a noob, but the previous owner of my CTSW with non-tundra tires flew out of his own personal grass strip.  My home field has both paved and grass strips and I love using the grass when I can.  It can be quite bumpy, I'm sure more so than with the tundra tires, but the softer surface can help with the occasional bounce on landing.  Not that *I* would be so coarse as to need such a help, of course...cough cough...

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An incline abrupt enough to cause issues with the propeller is likely going to cause issues with the landing gear also. I think you would need an incline of almost 30° before the propeller is an issue, and it would be even steeper for airplane with the factory tundra option.

 

Probably true.  Another CT pilot told me he got parked during a fly in on a hill such that he was a bit worried, so I just wanted to mention it for completeness.  :)

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What about grass and dirt field landings without the tundra tires?

 

The CTLS I'm purchasing doesn't have the larger tundra tires. Thanks!!

 

I have very little experience landing on dirt, but I have the small wheels and have landed on a lot of grass, some pretty rough, with no issues.  Tall grass or really bumpy surfaces are a no-no, but if it's grass good enough to be considered a runway, it should not pose an issue.  I have landed on some mildly broken pavement also without incident. 

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For many years Stanton Sport Aviation in MN was a FD distributor and service center.  Stanton has only grass runways.  They operated Tundra and non-tundra CT aircraft all the time.  

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For many years Stanton Sport Aviation in MN was a FD distributor and service center.  Stanton has only grass runways.  They operated Tundra and non-tundra CT aircraft all the time.

 

That is where I purchased my plane and I have been in and out of there a number of times. Nice, historical little airport BTW.

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Stanton is still listed as a distributor and repair station on the FDUSA site and on their own site. Kent Johnson is no longer there so I am not certain of their status. Anyone else know?

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Doug, not sure.  I think Kent was the only FD specialist there.  Kent maintained my plane for many years and encouraged owner-assistance.  Great mechanic and terrific person.

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Doug, not sure. I think Kent was the only FD specialist there. Kent maintained my plane for many years and encouraged owner-assistance. Great mechanic and terrific person.

Fully agree.

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You can go anywhere the airplanes you mentioned can go, except *maybe* the Rans, depending on model.  Just keep your approach speed 55kt or below and use 30° flaps if the field is short, and keep the stick back when landing and taxiing.  On takeoff I use full aft stick and relax it as the airplane picks up speed.  Let it break ground, then hold just above the runway and build some speed before climbing.  Standard short/soft field techniques.

 

If there are sizable rocks (larger than pebbles) on the runway I'd use caution.  Even with the tundra tires our wheel diameter is small, and prop clearance is not great.  

Please also consider the winds when selecting 30° flaps. 

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The discussion about using 30deg flap in strong wind will go on forever.Each to there own on this one but I would use full flap all the time, my SW has 40deg , it takes a bit more to get used to but for the last thousand or so hours I always use full flap even in strong wind. 

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Yup, I've tried 40, 30, 15 but no 0 or -06. To me 30 and 40 flap settings mainly very the angle of approach and a few knots of speed. I've not challenged a 16 knot cross wind yet but wouldn't rule out zero flaps on one of those!

 

But I'm still testing things!

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Also consider that at touchdown with the nose still in the air full flap creates a lot of drag so you will stop quite short. Some will say to dump flap on touchdown for better weight on the wheels for braking but full flap at this stage is all drag not lift. Also consider that with full flap you can carry power all the way to flare so the prop wash aids control. I should add that I am not an instructor just a 2500 hr. private pilot. Also a 20kt. crosswind is no problem to a CT that is managed well.

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Also consider that at touchdown with the nose still in the air full flap creates a lot of drag so you will stop quite short. Some will say to dump flap on touchdown for better weight on the wheels for braking but full flap at this stage is all drag not lift. Also consider that with full flap you can carry power all the way to flare so the prop wash aids control. I should add that I am not an instructor just a 2500 hr. private pilot. Also a 20kt. crosswind is no problem to a CT that is managed well.

What would your steps be landing with a 20 knot crosswind?

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20 knot crosswind isn't too bad. This to depends on the crosswind component angle. If you have some experience then some flaps may not be a big deal. If you have little experience then zero flaps would be better.

Zero flaps with about 2500-2800 rpm to touch. The rpm will give you prop wash which in turn gives you far better control over the tal and direction of the plane. I can land like this up to 35 knots. Of course I would rather not, but I've been caught a number of times. I also like the plane to be heavy in stronger winds.

 

Some say that is too fast for them. Remember the stick controls the speed.

Well on the  one millionth day God gave us brakes and you shouldn't be afraid to use them.

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