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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by flhrci, Jan 2, 2018.
I had no idea we had Alaska style flying in Ohio. Gravel bars! Video was posted in a facebook group.
I saw this guy up there.
I bet there was a big paved runway within 5 minutes of each of those landings.
I'll have to admit, I never landed on a grass runway in Alaska.
Now change the planes to a C-206 to land on the gravel. Can't carry enough revenue in those small planes.....but still looked like fun times were had by all.
I'm curious. How many of the places you're landing a 206 in Alaska unimproved? Or are most/all of the places you're going at least semi-improved?
I've landed on quite a few gravel runways up in Canada, but none of them would really require a "bush" plane, because everything was improved enough that nearly any airplane could get in and out of them. For the truly unimproved areas like the sand and gravel bars in the video, I prefer having a bigger tire. Around my home we generally have sand bars that are pretty soft and the bigger tires float a bit better.
I feel like the Cubs are mostly toy airplanes but I probably enjoy flying them the most. They aren't going to carry enough cargo to make them real viable for commercial service but with the right modifications I'd guess you could come close.
What? A Cub is the tool of choice for hunting guides. That’s a pretty significant revenue business. If you want to haul cargo? You probably aren’t going to unimproved places. The two don’t generally go together. My C-180 is a capable off-airport plane but a good driver in a properly equipped 206 can go anywhere I’ll go. A Cub on 35s will go places no Cessna can even think about. My new Cub has a 1000# plus useful, tons of space, a much bigger cargo door than a Skywagon, and it should operate handily in and out of 150’. Thank goodness for the exp category!
The air guides I know use Cessnas and Beavers to haul people and loads to appropriate LZs and then hop them around in Cubs to get deep into the field. Taking a heavily loaded Cub into a one way <300’ flat spot on a mountain ridge isn’t unusual. Nobody wants to make multiple trips at 85mph when a faster bigger plane is available. Sometimes a guy needs both.
I have been on everything in a 206 from Anchorage International to unpaved roads to beaches to landing areas marked by 4 wheelers to TLLAGP areas (That Looks Like a Good Place). And yes, 29s on pavement equals a short bounce or two if just a needle width too much airspeed. Usually about 1/2 of the landings I did were not on marked runways (paved or gravel) in a C-206. I only did two off airport landings in the Navajo and that was for a construction company that made a temporary road straight enough for the Navajo. I also did a few ice runway landings in a Navajo but they were seasonal runways with markings and numbers. And marking runways with black paint on ice was not a good idea when the sun starts shining, if you know what I mean.... Most villages now have maintained gravel runways that are 3000X50 with lights, weather cameras and maybe an ASOS. Not like when I started when the only weather checks available was to go look and see, and the runways were modified goat trails. But I never landed on a glacier.
Yes, some folks still use cubs. I haven't been in a new one though. The outfitters that still use cubs usually carry one person at a time and very limited gear. I would take 4 or 5 hunters/fisherman and their gear in one trip. Coming out would sometimes take two trips if the hunt was successful. Add another trip if more than two moose or caribou were taken. I used to go to a river landing on the Kobuk river for a raft trip company. They had 600 feet marked out for a landing area. It was drop off only, I was usually empty coming out since the customers would be rafting back to town. And I made weekly supply/cargo runs there in summer. And airplanes is what moves everything where there are no roads.
I have made cargo flights to summer camps, gold camps, fish camps, construction camps and everything else camps carrying supplies, mail and cargo. Sometimes landing, sometimes air drops, depending on the load and if anything needed to come out, like mail or gold ore or a sick or injured person. Cargo flights to the villages are milk runs. Literally.... plus diapers, baby food, cigarettes and coffee.... And Pepsi. I think Pepsi is the official drink of northwest Alaska. We would get 10,000 pounds of Pepsi in cans to go to a village of 500 people, 1700 pounds per trip. 22 pounds per case.
C-180/185 was used very successfully for many years before the 206. Insurance companies had a lot to do with the decision for a lot of operators to stop using them. I worked for a company where the son of the owner was the 185 driver. After the 3rd time he wadded it up on some off airport landing the insurance company said you no longer have a 185.
Pt 135 cant use an experimental for revenue. But I did know one hunting guide that had a 520 in his personal super cub. And it took about 3 rotations of the wheels and then airborne..!!! One mining company would have us fly their folks to a not very well taken care of strip where a helicopter picked them up and took them into the mountains at the spots where they were needed. That was one "runway" that always had me on my toes, especially in the Navajo. At least in the winter it was covered in snow and much smoother.
I have done less than 20 hours flying in the Mat-Su area, and that was all training or check rides. I have seen some really neat looking landing areas near weekend cabins when driving through. I always thought that would be cool to have a car and airplane in the same hangar. That way a person could fly to the cabin on good days and drive on bad weather days, unlike "real" Alaska where there isn't any roads.....
Flying in rural Alaska is not what it used to be, thank goodness. But I still enjoy it.
Very cool video! Thanks for sharing.
Im curious though, as someone who doesn't have any experience like that, does touching the water before reaching the gravel bar serve a purpose? or is it just for fun? is it a speed control thing?
Done correctly, it shortens the landing distance.
gotcha. thanks. Ive seen it in other videos too. I suspected it was something like that. I just wasn't sure.
Plus it looks really cool..!!!
And done incorrectly it does what?
it REALLY shortens the landing distance !!!!
It doesn’t shorten the landing distance, it extends the landing surface. If I need to get down and stopped on a short place where the water is shallow toward the beach I can touch down in that shallow water with no problem and roll onto the beach. Leaving the beach I can use the water to extend the surface as well. Big tires with a little ground speed don’t sink in.
It appears this guy had the wrong size tires.
This guy should be able to land anywhere...
he doesn't have to worry about landing, he will never get off the ground!