View Full Version : Landing on grass rather than the hard stuff


avonflyer
7th Jan 2009, 11:18
It is a failing of my training I will admit but, to date, I have not landed on grass... a failing that I am keen to resolve. Does anybody vary their technique when landing on grass above and beyond obvious allowances for length of runway?



vanHorck
7th Jan 2009, 11:23
More than with tarmac you need to be aware of the state of the runway. Not just if it s wet and slippery, but it can also have potholes, be more undulating. I remember many years ago at Ipswich you were told to land left or right of the centre line because of bogs.

Always keep the weight of the nose, both on taxi, take off and landing to avoid prop strikes.

Grass is substantially more slippery when wet than tarmac, so be aware of morning dew, not just rain. So never break harder than you have to. I like to dump flap immediately after touchdown and only apply brakes when there is zero lift left, with a gentle pumping action with the control column pulled well back

Cricket23
7th Jan 2009, 11:39
Also -

1) taxi at walking pace. There isn't much clearance between the prop and the ground, and as the ground will be rougher than tarmac the aircraft will be more liable to oscillations, so take it carefully.

2) Ensure you phone ahead to get the latest on the state of the runway.

3) Be prepared to clean the underside of the aircraft if it is at all muddy - so best pick a day when your chosen airfield is firm.

pipertommy
7th Jan 2009, 12:14
Remember to use factors when doing your performance ie short grass.

Keygrip
7th Jan 2009, 12:20
....and the extra noise can come as a shock.

It's often louder and bumpier than what you may be used to with tarmac/asphalt .

It's a VERY sad refelection on the USA schools that not one of JAA approved ones will allow (or train) their pilots to land on grass.

BackPacker
7th Jan 2009, 12:22
3) Be prepared to clean the underside of the aircraft if it is at all muddy - so best pick a day when your chosen airfield is firm.

3b. Don't forget the inside of the wheel spats. If the strip is very muddy, might be a good idea to remove them altogether, but check the POH for reduced cruise speeds. If it's a rental, talk to the owner first.

The other (obvious) thing to watch out for is that grass strips are usually, well, grass in a surrounding of grass. It's much harder to spot the runway, usually. Plus they are normally not ICAO marked with centerline & edge markings, approach lighting and so forth. It might help to view the strip in Google Earth before you set off and if you're not completely sure about the layout of the runway, do an overhead join or a low-level go-around before you land.

You'll also find that occasionally grass strips limit the strip width to less than half the available width by moving the "doghouses" (either black/white checkered or red/white checkered, doghouse-like structures) so that the rest of the strip can recover itself. Or they move the doghouses so as to create a variable, displaced threshold. So pay attention to the exact location of these doghouses (or other markers) so you land at the proper stretch.

Also higher chance of bird and other animals around as grass strips are normally found in rural areas.

It's a VERY sad refelection on the USA schools that not one of JAA approved ones will allow (or train) their pilots to land on grass.

Can't really blame the US schools for that. I learned in Florida and to the best of my knowledge there was exactly one grass strip within a reasonable flying distance. This one was a private field, requiring PPR and landing fees. Yes, there was a stipulation that students were not to land on grass (citing insurance reasons) but if there was a good enough reason, this could be waived. I think if I had insisted, I could have done a few dual, and maybe even solo landings and take-offs from grass.

mcgoo
7th Jan 2009, 12:37
It's a VERY sad refelection on the USA schools that not one of JAA approved ones will allow (or train) their pilots to land on grass.

There is at least one, I was taught to use a grass strip, granted not many times but enough, mainly we practised shorts and softs on the hard runway and then went over to the grass strip. (This was CPL training though)

Pilot DAR
7th Jan 2009, 13:02
Many good thoughts here...

Add to them that many grass runways are more casually built on the ground that was found. The result can be runways with unexpected hills, and slopes, which can be laterally across the runway.

For grass runways in parts of the world where winter takes hold, expect a season of thaw, where a runway may look inviting, but be unable to support the aircraft. Private runway owners don't always "X" a runway, which is intended to be closed, and a flyover inspection will not tell you the firmness of the ground. Therefore at certail times of the year, the only way is either a first hand (foot) walking inspection, or a report from a person you really trust. My runway has taken as much as six weeks to firm up, once the snow is gone. Also, the condition in one part of the runway, may not be the same as that in other parts, as has been pointed out.

That said, a smooth grass runway is a delight. One of the many benifits is the fact that the aircraft will slide. This make for much nicer crosswind landings, as touching down with a little crab, does not result in chirping and lurching. This makes grass runways very desirable for tailwheel aircraft. One of the taildraggers I fly, I will land on grass unless there is just no choice.

It is my opinion that if you are regularly making full use of the friction of a dry pavement runway for braking, you are probably using too much brakes. Most GA aircraft into thier "comfortable" runways, should require only a minimum of braking. My grass runway is 2000' long, and I rarely use brakes at all. The less I use them, the longer they last!

Aircraft renters are reluctant about grass runways, just because of the "unknowns". Three of the schools in my area have grass runways which they "approve" for students to use.

With the correct permissions, go look for some grass, it's excellent!

Pilot DAR

jez d
7th Jan 2009, 13:06
Aim to land somewhere near the numbers. Grass strips tend to be 800m or less, so avoid touching down two thirds up the runway. I know it sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many pilots used to mile-long runways don't realise they've less room to play with. But don't aim for the numbers at the expense of the nosewheel. I've witnessed more than my fair share of 'carrier' landings that ended in embarrassed pilot and shock-loaded engine. Keep that nosewheel up!

If you do end up floating two thirds down the runway before touching, don't be embarrassed about going round and trying again. Better that than an expensive trip into a ploughed field or through a thick hedge.

Cheers, jez

VictorGolf
7th Jan 2009, 15:07
Another small problem is that at this time of year it seems to be easier to pick up carb icing during taxi on wet grass. Always worth an extra burst of carb heat before you take off, as I know to my cost.

WeeMan18
7th Jan 2009, 15:51
The handling of the aircraft is type specific and comes with practice but here are a few top tips:

Virtually all grass strips are undulating to some degree which increases the likelihood of the aircraft bouncing. Handling the aeroplane in a way that would yield a greaser of a landing on tarmac, may still result in bounces on grass - if you still have some speed and lift on, a fairly small bump can launch you back into the air. (Taildraggers are more prone to bouncing than others). If you do bounce, hold the attitude and let it settle back on. If you pitch forward to try to 'encourage' it back onto the ground you may break the nosewheel off!

If the bounces are BIG or their amplitude is increasing go around. If you don't you are likely to end up hitting the ground hard either by flying the nosewheel onto the ground or by running out of airspeed and stalling too far above the runway.

All the time you're flaring or bouncing, you don't have weight on the wheels and your not slowing down effectively. If you're using a short strip you need to land in the right place and get the brakes on. If you don't and the end hedge is looking critical go around and get it right next time as I recently had to on a bumpy 350m strip in a bounce-happy taildragger.

As mentioned be aware of takeoff performance issues on grass. One trap is that you may well be able to land at a strip that you cannot safely take off from.

Take care taxying from grass onto concrete and vice versa. There is normally a lip that can lead to prop strikes. Take it slowly and at 45 deg or perpendicular in twins. If a grass runway has white concrete markings embedded into it you may want to land so as not to run over them at speed. You don't have to land on the centreline.

At farm strips or small airfields you should probably inspect the runway before use. It is not unknown for holes to be dug, animals to be present, agricultural machinery to be left about, long grass or waterlogging.

Two notable grass strips I've used recently are Fishburn which is perched on the top of a convex hill with significant slope either side of the brow (you can only see a fraction of the runway when you're on it, so you want to be very sure that there isn't a tractor cutting grass over the brow) and Stoke which has a billiard table surface but is fairly short, curved and with big obstructions adjacent to the runway.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
7th Jan 2009, 15:58
Lots of good advice so far. I'd add that it's actually easier to land on grass, all other things being equal. The surface has a texture which allows height during the flare to be more easily judged, and as someone else pointed out, if you are not quite aligned with the runway at the point of touchdown, the wheels will slide a tad sideways and no-one will know, whereas on tarmac there will be a telltale chirp of tortured rubber, and a lurch as the aeroplane is dragged straight by the tyres!

SSD

Lister Noble
7th Jan 2009, 16:06
I fly from a grass strip in a taildragger.
No 1 problem in the winter is molehills,they could spoil your day ,so if possible get an on site airstrip condition opinion before leaving.
As mentioned if the strip is alongside grass it can be difficult to see but normally you will be alonside cropped land,mostly brown-green in winter.
Good luck.
Lister:)

RatherBeFlying
7th Jan 2009, 16:08
I was fortunate enough to get my license on a grass strip. All the above remarks are good, especially being ultra cautious at time of thaw when my training operator would move a few planes to paved airports:ok:

A C-152 nosed over on our gliding field in such conditions:ouch:

I prefer firm grass to pavement.

As said, be prepared for more noise and bumps. Gravel and recently planted crop fields can be very noisy.

avonflyer
7th Jan 2009, 17:32
thanks for the advice - it is comforting to know that you take the time to help a new boy.

Looks like as with most things prior planning helps to stop P*** poor performance.. I look forward to the chance to put it into action ..

Currently I think Popham may get the honour of my first arrival of this type.

pulse1
7th Jan 2009, 17:45
Currently I think Popham may get the honour of my first arrival of this type.

And that will introduce a few extra things to think about depending on which runway you have to use. I would suggest that you try somewhere a bit simpler for your first grass landing e.g. Old Sarum.

LH2
7th Jan 2009, 22:08
If the strip is very muddy, might be a good idea to remove them [wheel spats]

Hmm--them things, apart from their aerodynamic function, also stop rocks being thrown towards the fuselage/wings. That's how I punched a nice fist-sized hole right through the aileron in a Jodel last autumn (here's a pic of the offending "runway" (http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/15143740.jpg))

flyingman-of-kent
8th Jan 2009, 00:47
Compton Abbas in the summer is such a friendly welcoming place it is so worth making the effort to find it! It can be tricky to find from the north east, but once you know where it is, it gets easier. Try and pick a day when the BBQ is fired up!

Or try Rochester, for a slightly amusing approach over the River Medway then the town! And then taking off over the motorway!! It is a great place for t&gs!

Of course if you are lucky, sometimes they open runway 21 R GRASS at Biggin Hill, tends to be around air show time! That was fun, quite a displaced threshold compared to 21 L Asphalt!!

Seriously if you have not done may grass landings, it is so worth getting an instructor and doing a tour of several places with grass runways. We did a great afternoon from Biggin to Earls Colne and Panshanger a few summers ago. Lunch at the golf club at Earls Colne, and tea at Panshanger. Such very different places, and a great experience.

BelArgUSA
8th Jan 2009, 01:56
I own a Piper L-21B (that is a 1953 Super Cub for civilians).
It is leased-out to a flight school/airwork operator. Grass strip available.
They used it for training, glider and banner tow.
The manager informed me that he recommends his pilots to use the grass.
If only one thing, he said, it saves wear of the tyres.
Besides that, I am sure that L-21s were meant to use grass fields...
xxx
:D
Happy contrails

ExSp33db1rd
8th Jan 2009, 04:26
Don't land on the grass at Dargaville in the Winter. 4ft. amsl. - and the river is about 10ft away - very soggy.

Seriously, grass can be fun, but note the above comments, all valid, we tend to avoid grass at our local field because of the gorse, even when cut regularly it is like landing on tin-tacks. Fed up with mending punctures, but apart from that grass doesn't wear the tyres out as fast. Bit of flap, short field take-off technique off the seal helps that problem. I find my taildragger slightly more controllable on the grass, steerable tail wheel is less skittish and it slows down quicker, so I don't have to mess about finding the brakes pedals located between the rudder pedals so soon, and losing rudder control as a result. Enjoy.

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 07:32
3b. Don't forget the inside of the wheel spats. If the strip is very muddy

Backpacker makes a good point here.

If you have spats fitted, also check that they are not jammed with grass, as this combined with friction has caused fires in the past.

Good grass runways are delightful (e.g. Fowlmere in the late 90's, ealry 2000's when I lived in the UK), but poor ones are not :\

Having scanned the thread, there is plenty of good advice, enjoy.

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 07:37
Keygrip

It's a VERY sad refelection on the USA schools that not one of JAA approved ones will allow (or train) their pilots to land on grass.

IIRC correctly, they do not refer to them as grass runways, which always amused me when asked to sign a declaration that I would not operate the aircraft on 'sod' runways.

I once did try to explain that not all runways that were sods to land on were constructed from grass, but the joke got lost in the translation :}

IO540
8th Jan 2009, 08:00
Grass is OK if smooth; it is what you find in the grass that might be a problem.

Potholes for example. I had a pothole prop strike when new; 20,000.... And the airport washes its hands of liability. So you, the pilot, need to be vigilant. If in any doubt, get out and walk the taxi route - even if there is a queue behind you. They won't be footing your prop strike bill :)

I tend to not do grass in the winter because the plane gets covered in muck, and due to the rut problem below.

Another thing is to get hard parking if possible. A lot of grass runway airfields have a hard parking area. I had to get my plane pulled out (from a rut) with a vehicle more than once, and most fire crews doing this will just do it by the nosewheel :ugh: so ripping off the engine mount. One needs two ropes, pulling on the main wheels.

Otherwise, grass is fine. Taxi with the yoke all the way back to relieve the nosewheel pressure, and do a "soft field" take off whenever possible. I never did those in the JAA PPL; only the FAA one teaches them, it seems.

However, hard runways can be as bad. I know of some (Elstree and Spanhoe being the worst) which are covered in stones, and the users there must be getting a high rate of nicks. These translate into early prop overhauls, or unneccesarily early blade scrappings during scheduled prop overhauls, and that is 4 digits. The technique is to avoid high power slow speed taxi over areas where there are most stones; build up speed before these and then cut the revs. I don't know why somebody doesn't get a broom... at least with grass you don't get this problem.

Having said that, the worst runway I have ever been to was Heywood Farm - a scary experience I am not repeating. Followed by a 200 cleanup job.

Katamarino
8th Jan 2009, 08:06
...a scary experience I am not repeating. Followed by a 200 cleanup job.

That's one hell of a dry-cleaning bill :eek:

PompeyPaul
8th Jan 2009, 08:20
Lol@<hidden>

I was taught to perform a short field take off when taking off from grass, which nobody seems to have mentioned. I wonder if it's just me being over cautious. I'm always slightly more nervous taking off from grass than concrete that extra roll is just a little bit more unnerving...

tmmorris
8th Jan 2009, 08:46
Would endorse those recommendations for nice grass runways - Panshanger, Compton Abbas, Old Sarum all nice (though the latter has quite a hump in the middle - looks alarmingly short when you line up on 08!) and all three have nice cafes, too.

Also recommend Goodwood (Chichester) where your arrival on grass is always greeted by a courteous 'Welcome to Goodwood' over the radio. I've not yet bounced there so I don't know if you get repeated 'Welcome...' for each bounce...

Tim

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 08:54
Paul

Just being grass doesn't mandate a performance take off, IMHO.

What might make the difference when comparing hard and grass is the effect of the factors applied to wet, long (etc) grass, leading one to operate that way.

I flew regularly out of a 700m grass runway and I would run up the engine against the brakes to 2000rpm to see the T&Ps stabilise and use flaps 25 to shorten the ground roll, flying off at around 55, instead of 65. As there were no obstacles ahead, I would trade early lift off for poorer initial climb out.

In principle, on a 700m hard runway, I'd have used flap 0.

The law of the situation applies and I don't think that you are being over cautious, you are still a relatively new PPL taking a conservative view and thinking about what you are doing - that's good airmanship in my view.

Have you seen Safety Sense 7 leaflet form the CAA?

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ga_srg_07webSSL07.pdf

The performance factors in this book are felt by some experienced pilots (I am not in this experienced category) to be ultra conservative, but they make a good starting point when considering take off and landing performance.

IO540
8th Jan 2009, 09:37
I was taught to perform a short field take off when taking off from grass, which nobody seems to have mentioned

I think you mean a "soft field takeoff"?

A short field takeoff leaves the nosewheel down all the way until Vr and then you climb aggressively at Vx. This is best done on hard runways, but can be done on good grass too. This one is easy.

A soft field takeoff is where you pull the nosewheel up very early in the takeoff run - maybe at 30/40kt in a 60kt-stall-speed plane - and the whole plane floats in ground effect until Vr, then climb away as normal. You don't want too much crosswind when doing this one :) This one needs practice because after the initial aggressive pull-up to get the whole thing into ground effect, you have to increasingly push forward on the yoke, to prevent the plane floating up too high and out of the GE (which will stall it and it will plunge back down).

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 09:56
IO

At the risk of being pedantic, your description of a short field take omits the difference between clearing an obstacle or not.

For the former, the climb at Vx must be maintained until safely clear of the obstacle (having first caclulated that this is feasible), whereas if no obstacle is involved, 50' is a safe height to release the back pressure and start thinking about accelerating to a safe speed/cleaning up (if necessary) and looking for Vy.

Reference is Airplane Flying Handbook - Google Book Search (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=V3SZXFWuCIgC&pg=PT67&lpg=PT67&dq=short+field+take+off+obstacle&source=web&ots=HkMFIgcJqx&sig=Wlh2R0Vygdd-ycUtAhgSiuK21Tg&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPT66,M1)

Not trying to be smart, as I agree with you in the point you are making, just to be absolutely clear for others reading who do not have your considerable experience.

astir 8
8th Jan 2009, 09:58
Landing on the hard stuff


Let's see, assuming Scotch has a density of about 0.8 then your average floatplane should be ok - it would float a little lower but bouyancy margins should be OK.

Viscosity is lower than water but which would affect the takeoff run more, lower viscosity, the plane floating lower in the liquid or pilot failing to meet "bottle to throttle" requirements?

So where's this lake full of hard stuff then?:p


I'll just collect my hat:)

LH2
8th Jan 2009, 12:00
I'll just collect my hat

...don't forget your coat :rolleyes: :}

FREDAcheck
8th Jan 2009, 12:32
All good stuff here and worth noting, but don't get too frightened! Grass isn't scary, just a few different hazards.

To add to a point Backpacker made about lighting and marking, grass runways tend to "look different" on approach. They tend to be all different shapes and sizes, often with the runway not quite so clearly defined as a nice rectangular strip of tarmac. You get fewer cues to being on the right glide path, and when I was learning (and afterwards) I tended to find the first approach at a different grass strip could be a bit ragged. As always: never be too proud or too scared to go around, even from runway height if necessary.

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 12:43
Fredacheck

Interesting point about the visual appearance of grass runways.

This never bothered me, although I can well see how it could be confusing.

My worst optical illusions were (a) the very wide runway at Manston with the hard extnsions that made it nearly wide enough to land on - really b*ggered ujp my depth perception and (b) landing at night on runways with only edge lighting - hello trench!

Also, easier to find a grass strip in winter, when surrounded by brown plouhged fileds, than in summer when they were all green :\

FREDAcheck
8th Jan 2009, 12:51
This never bothered me, although I can well see how it could be confusing.It doesn't tend to bother me now with my MASSIVE 400-500 hours of experience (!) But I can remember it was one of the many things that confused me earlier.
Also, easier to find a grass strip in winter, when surrounded by brown plouhged fileds, than in summer when they were all green Too true! Fenland is my bete noire. Lots and lots of rectangular runway-sized fields all around.

PompeyPaul
8th Jan 2009, 13:06
IO

True, I had never seperated out a grass take off from a short field take off, in my mind, but yes you lift the nose up earlier and use ground effect on a grass strip take off.

FREDACheck

For me Middelburg was the worst field to spot from GoogleEarth http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.515233,3.714366&spn=0.041662,0.111237&t=k&z=14 (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.515233,3.714366&spn=0.041662,0.111237&t=k&z=14). Didn't make it out there last year due to fog, but hopefully this year...

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 13:18
FREDACheck

Well you have a bit more experience than me!

But, even at low hours, I never even noticed the things you mentioned, so I wonder if it is more of a physiological thing? i.e. the way our individual eyes and brain are wired.

I've always tended to land a foot/18" left of the centreline and even in a flight sim with a TRE from a major airline observing, I did the same repeatedly and he couldn't see any tangible reason for it :\, just saying it wasn't dangerous and it was consistent (they lilke consistency.)

I do agree about Fenland though, even with VOR and GPS, you could be nearly overhead and still not spot it!

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 13:21
grass strip take off

Paul

Not being pedantic, but IO said 'soft field.'

This could include other surfaces such as sand, but not include firm grass.

An important difference when considering take off performance and the best technique to use, for instance whether to use a rolling take off or run up against the brakes on a short strip.

BackPacker
8th Jan 2009, 13:27
For me Middelburg was the worst field to spot...

No, Middelburg (actually called Midden-Zeeland, EHMZ) is easy. Just ignore the field altogether and look for the point where you join downwind. You need to join from the North in any case, so follow the "Veerse Meer" lake until almost its southernmost point (actually the little harbor just NE of the southernmost point), head due East or West at 700 ft, look left or right as appropriate and hey presto, there's the field.

But in general, yes, it helps to use Google Earth to spot a few useful landmarks to find the entry point in the circuit, in addition to the runway itself.

IO540
8th Jan 2009, 14:33
F3G - indeed. There is no reason ever to climb at Vx, except to clear an obstacle, or to impress the spotters :)

PompeyPaul
8th Jan 2009, 14:56
Not being pedantic, but IO said 'soft field.'

This could include other surfaces such as sand, but not include firm grass.
Ouch has anybody actually done that ? Doesn't it positively spew sand all over the place ? :eek:

Final 3 Greens
8th Jan 2009, 15:41
Paul

See below

YouTube - C-GDET, Cirrus SR-20, takes off from a Sand bar on the Thelo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z-AxSuDzZs)

PS, I've never done it, but many have.

ExSp33db1rd
9th Jan 2009, 04:06
Sand.

Ouch has anybody actually done that ? Doesn't it positively spew sand all over the place ?


Landed on sand at an organised Rally, in a Turbulent with a VW engine that is an absolute bu**er to start, so decided not to stop the engine in case the incoming tide beat the starting / swearing exercise, then realised that the stationary vibration was digging me slowly lower into the soggy sand, so kept on the move until I could position myself for a departure, missed the cucumber sandwiches on the beach, but enjoyed the experience nevertheless. Now - if I can only get a VW to start with no electric starter or impulse mag - I might join the next Rally. Hose the beast down when you get home - salt, sand, ever wondered why flying boats are so uneconomical ?

ExSp33db1rd
9th Jan 2009, 04:17
However, hard runways can be as bad. I know of some (Elstree and Spanhoe being the worst) which are covered in stones....

We have a local one that is rolled limestone, just a mass of stones, trick is to apply take-off power slowly, try to be going faster then the rising stones by the time you get to full power. i.e. leave them behind. In theory.

Mark1234
9th Jan 2009, 04:31
Hmm--them things, apart from their aerodynamic function, also stop rocks being thrown towards the fuselage/wings. That's how I punched a nice fist-sized hole right through the aileron in a Jodel last autumn (here's a pic of the offending "runway" (http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/15143740.jpg))

Erm, looks like Tignes I think, but where's the 'runway'??

tmmorris
9th Jan 2009, 09:02
I've always tended to land a foot/18" left of the centreline and even in a flight sim with a TRE from a major airline observing, I did the same repeatedly and he couldn't see any tangible reason for it , just saying it wasn't dangerous and it was consistent (they lilke consistency.)

I thought it was just me!

NB that on Barra (Scottish islands) there is a scheduled service which lands on the (licensed) beach airstrip. The AIP entry makes interesting reading.

Tim

DX Wombat
9th Jan 2009, 11:57
I did my first grass landing at Shobdon on my check flight but I had been in an aircraft which used the grass at Sherburn. If you want to try a landing on grass go to Shobdon when it hasn't been raining recently (the gliding fraternity might not appreciate having the runway chewed up) or, for a really lovely strip, Duxford where the grass is maintained to bowling green standards and which has the added attraction of the museum.

PompeyPaul
9th Jan 2009, 12:41
If you want to try a landing on grass go to Shobdon when it hasn't been raining recently

Although I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever fly again...

FARNBOROUGH EGLF 091320Z VRB02KT 4900 BR SCT009 M01/M01 Q1028

I've forgotton what flying wx looks like. Was hoping to fly on Sunday but am somewhat confused at the difference in opinion between the BBC & Met Office. BBC claim it's "very poor" visibility with the Met Office forecasting "Very Good". I bet it's unfliable though :{

jez d
9th Jan 2009, 13:38
One guaranteed method of winning friends at freshly-mown grass strips is positioning one's aircraft tail-in towards clubhouse terrace/hangar doors/signals square, et al, before applying full throttle on shut-down/start-up. :rolleyes:

jez

Cusco
9th Jan 2009, 14:42
Well over 80% of my flying has been off grass: I learnt (PPL) on grass (RIP Ipswich Airport) and currently fly an Arrow off grass.

All a total non-event.

The only problem I see with a grass strip is that it acts as an irresistible magnet to every chav in the area to come and carve it up doing do'nuts and handbrake turns in their Astras...

Not to mention the dog-walkers, horseriders , kite flyers and all manner of folk who think they have a god-given right to be there.....

Cusco:ugh:

Lazy Gun
10th Jan 2009, 21:28
No, Middelburg (actually called Midden-Zeeland, EHMZ) is easy. Just ignore the field altogether and look for the point where you join downwind.

- yup, that's exactly what I do. It's difficult to see the field on approach but the entry into downwind is really obvious. Great place to land too! I am still trying to decide if the coffee and applepie are equal to that of Texel... it's a close one...:hmm:

Regards,

LG

Shaggy Sheep Driver
10th Jan 2009, 21:41
If you want to try a landing on grass go to Shobdon when it hasn't been raining recently (the gliding fraternity might not appreciate having the runway chewed up)

Was landing there a couple of years ago in the Chippy. Flew a tight circuit for the westerly runway, when a 152 announced 'final' from the next county (don't you just hate it when they do that?). Not wishing to be accused of 'cutting in' I announced 'going around', pulled in the drag flap, and put on climb power.

'The grass is available' said the helpful guy on the radio. So power off again, full flap again, tight turn onto final for the grass, and a full rudder sideslip got me in OK well ahead of the 152 on the 'hard'. But as I swept over the boundary still in the full rudder slip on short final for the 'grass', I noted two glider pilots looking up at me with a jaundiced eye. Were they worried about 'their' grass, I wonder?

SSD

philipnz
10th Jan 2009, 22:26
Most of NZ's local strips are grass and some are like billard tables. I prefer them as it's easier on the tyres and a little more forgiving in a crosswind. Even at Ardmore, I always takeoff on the seal but land on the grass.

LH2
11th Jan 2009, 00:43
Erm, looks like Tignes I think,

Well spotted! Tignes it is, indeed.

but where's the 'runway'??

See the light brown patch just left of the centre, in the bottom third of the image? That's the touchdown area (landings are from right to left so to speak--the pic was taken during the mid-altitude pass on the pre-landing recce).

Mark1234
11th Jan 2009, 07:53
You mean half way up a piste? Lovely :eek:

Last grass runway I visited was 1500m long, billiard smooth.. the opposite extreme!

jonkil
11th Jan 2009, 09:26
Not to mention the dog-walkers, horseriders , kite flyers and all manner of folk who think they have a god-given right to be there.....

Solve this by practising giving them a "short back and sides" using a 3 blade composite prop on full bore about 6 or 7 ft above the centerline, but always approach them from the front so you can see the white of their eyes, land, get out and give em a good talking to, asking them why the :mad: are they walking on an airfield and point out the signs to that effect. (**TIP** make sure you have the signs up first). Have to say I never had the problem with the petrolheads cutting it up, if I did then my 12 bore would sort em :ouch:

shortstripper
11th Jan 2009, 09:57
Grass is ok ... this stuff isn't so nice -

http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s308/ivanmanley/IMGP2025.jpg

Stubble!

Had to keep the tail on the ground all the way until lift off for fear of damaging the prop! The transition from hard to grass is easy (note what has been said and with that in mind treat it as if it were tarmac). Going from grass to hard is a little "harder" esp in a taildragger.

SS

FlyingOfficerKite
11th Jan 2009, 12:27
In respect of the short field versus soft field take-off, it would be normal to use a 'soft field' technique on grass. If there are obstacles on the climb out you would use the 'short field' technique, irrespective of surface. Where there is grass with obstacles the two procedures become the same.

KR

FOK :)

PS: I appreciate this is a Thread about grass landings, but it was discussed in earlier Posts.

Final 3 Greens
11th Jan 2009, 13:41
In respect of the short field versus soft field take-off, it would be normal to use a 'soft field' technique on grass.

Not sure I would agree with such a black and white statement, FOK.

There are considerations to trade off, e.g. sloshing fuel around tanks in a rolling take off, versus failing to accelerate.

The law of the situation disctates what needs to be in any particular instance, e.g. baking hot day, soil like concrete versus Febuary mudpatch ;)

Cusco
11th Jan 2009, 16:40
jonkil wrote

Solve this by practising giving them a "short back and sides" using a 3 blade composite prop on full bore about 6 or 7 ft above the centerline, but always approach them from the front so you can see the white of their eyes, land, get out and give em a good talking to, asking them why the are they walking on an airfield and point out the signs to that effect. (**TIP** make sure you have the signs up first).

Trouble is (in my experience) they've usually legged it back to their cars and scarpered by the time I turn round and taxi back to them..........

Except the fat cow who stood her ground and argued the toss that her kid had a perfect right to fly his kite on 200ft lines from the middle of the strip, despite red/white signs 2 feet high saying 'Danger, active airstrip, keep off'.

She prevented the a/c from landing for a good 10 minutes despite fly-bys as you advocate..

Cusco

Final 3 Greens
12th Jan 2009, 05:54
But as I swept over the boundary still in the full rudder slip on short final for the 'grass', I noted two glider pilots looking up at me with a jaundiced eye.

Well as glider pilots know that powered pilots only use the rudder pedals as footrests, they were probably worried you were about to crash :E

mr. small fry
13th Jan 2009, 00:02
In agreement with previous posters.

Regarding grass strips however, bear in mind that they may not necessarily be of a standard such as one may find at a regular airfiled, and before you land ( in addition to the usual wind, length, slope, surface, condition and obstructions check), make a very good note of where you are going to aim for if you get an engine failure while departing. It makes sense to do it at every place just before you land - when you have time to figure out your options in advance.

Hireandhire
13th Jan 2009, 16:18
Just one more thing to remember - as well as the concrete/grass junction, some of those runway markings can be pretty rough on the smallest wheel. It's not uncommon for numbers or centrelines to be made of whitewashed concrete set well below the level of the grass surface.

To avoid the risk of a propstrike or snagging a tyre it pays to plan your manoeuvre so as to avoid the blighters altogether eg line-up or taxi to one side, cross between the markers etc.

Having said which - go enjoy!
:)

HnH

miroc
13th Jan 2009, 19:11
Good evening,

I am new to this site and new to aviation
(57 hours in the book, PPL-A since 2nd of December),
based in western Slovakia.

My experience is different, my landings are all on grass with about
a dozen on asphalt. The grass can forgive more during landing.
If the alignment on touchdown is less than perfect the wheels slide
sideways a little on grass, on asphalt it ends with a worse landing.

The perception of the hight over the runway was different too.

Happy landings.

ExSp33db1rd
14th Jan 2009, 06:35
Jonkil - Student just airborne, pair on a moto-cross bike suddenly roared out of the side hedge directly in front of the aircraft. ' I have control ' held aircraft down to about 6' above the ground, full power ... pillion rider suddenly looked around and saw an aircraft about 1 ft behind him, overtaking, threw himself off, bike disappeared back into the hedge. QED

hatzflyer
14th Jan 2009, 12:45
MMMM..strange..
I know lots of strippers flying taildraggers that won't go near tarmac if you offered them a free pint..but then I know lots of spammers that wouldn't land on anything green even if it were painted tarmac!
Funny lot pilots,they often have diametrically opposed views on all aviation subjects but rarely concede that the other person's view is valid.
This is very apparant when reading lots of posts on all of the threads ,but what never ceases to amaze me on all of these websights is the way that it is often the inexperienced that are first to offer the answers !(sorry for the thread drift and not aimed at anyone in particular!)


This was posted having read some of the "softfield advice" on this thread