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How to fly a turboprop on gravel

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How to fly a turboprop on gravel

Old 18th Mar 2022, 14:21
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How to fly a turboprop on gravel

I'm going to start flying a high winged turboprop on gravel runways in northern Africa soon.
I've never flown on gravel before and havent been able to find any good descriptions of what technique thats the best to prevent unnecessary wear on the props and belly.
From what I understand we are going to be field length limited most of the time which calls for static takeoff, I'm curious how much difference in damage it is in static vs rolling takeoff.

Does anyone here have experience and can explain a bit or perhaps have a link to any good articles?
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Old 18th Mar 2022, 20:18
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What is the high winged turbo-prop?
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Old 18th Mar 2022, 21:52
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Originally Posted by Bill Macgillivray View Post
What is the high winged turbo-prop?
Just off the top of my head high wing turbo prop,
Dash 8
ATR
An 24
C208

Low wing,
Saab 340
PC12
King Air
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Old 19th Mar 2022, 01:07
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Africa….mmm….Let410?
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Old 19th Mar 2022, 01:11
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Or a Twotter.
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Old 19th Mar 2022, 21:18
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Climb 150, I know what high wing turbo-props are, I was asking which specific aircraft drsd was asking about!
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 21:19
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Originally Posted by Bill Macgillivray View Post
Climb 150, I know what high wing turbo-props are, I was asking which specific aircraft drsd was asking about!
You asked what is a a high wing TP, not which high wing TP!
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 21:22
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Originally Posted by Climb150 View Post
You asked what is a a high wing TP, not which high wing TP!
He did say 'THE' high-winged turboprop.
And I'm surprised nobody mentioned the MU-2
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 04:32
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Uh oh, the pedantic oztranauts have arrived. Get a grip you lot.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 21:22
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"a a high wing TP !! ?"
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 21:58
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I'm quite sure the OP wonders why he bothered asking.

My advice, based on a few hundred hours of operating SEL of gravel/dirt, would be to ask the owner for his recommended procedures in that specific environment. Absent any detailed instructions the basic rules probably apply -

Use the minimum power required to get the airplane rolling
If the airplane doesn't move at a low to medium power setting then shut down and move it to a place where it will.
Never perform a full power static takeoff. Feed in the power as the aircraft accelerates.

Answers may be completely different if you are not paying for the prop and airframe damage.

Be aware though that not all airframe damage happens on takeoff. Tires may kick up gravel on landing roll out and it can hit the tail surfaces and, if really unlucky, the flaps, bottom of the wing and the prop(s).
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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 11:54
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20 years in African aviation both left seat and in management so here are my suggestions for dealing with gravel...
- No high power when static
- No abrupt movements of power lever when static
- Lift the nose as soon as possible after power to reduce stone pick up
- Use separator
- As much ground ops in feather - use feather to stop stone pick ups
- Ground checks either on clear ground or at minimal power on the move to reduce stones
- Minimise reverse/beta on landing roll - better to land slow so minimal braking and ground ops
- Carry a small brush on board to sweep stones away under the prop
- No tight/abrupt/full power turns
- Operate strictly into wind (both take-off, parking and turning) to minimise stone pick up
- Your nosewheel will flick up most of the gravel so nose up as soon as you can on take-off, and let it down slowly/gently on landing.
- Minimise your ground roll as much as possible so short take-offs/landings and minimal taxying around
- Park into wind and choose the best non-gravel spot you can
- Do your research on the airstrips - just because there's an obvious landing track doesn't mean its the best or only line to take - don't be a sheep! Often the grass alongside the track is stone free. But research/check/inspect.
- Stones are bad news on props, but so are clouds of fine abrasive dust, and stones embedded in mud can flick up and do major damage - consider spats or gravel kits if appropriate

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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 12:14
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Interesting stuff Foxcotte!
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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 15:21
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Originally Posted by Flying Clog View Post
Uh oh, the pedantic oztranauts have arrived. Get a grip you lot.
Relax, it's just poking fun
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