Dirt vs. Grass Strips?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by MarkH, Feb 12, 2023.

  1. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    I learned to fly on a grass strip, but I have never used a dirt strip.

    I am looking at a plane that needs a little work, and when I inquired about hangar space at my closest airport I was informed they have a waitlist for tie downs.

    I spoke to someone who may be willing to do a short term space rental in his hangar, but it’s on a dirt strip. (He is not a pilot, so he couldn’t give me any insight about operations).

    What benefits and challenges should I prepare for if I choose to operate from a dirt strip?
     
  2. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    Do a rolling runup to prevent damage to the prop, otherwise there's nothing magical compared to a grass strip, assuming drainage is adequate.
     
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  3. Tools

    Tools Cleared for Takeoff

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    Typically not flying when too wet… that’s about it unique to the surface.
     
  4. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    [​IMG]

    You could do worse. :D
     
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  5. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    No loss of braking traction when wet. Advantage dirt.

    If the dirt is wet or the temp near freezing your tires may pick up stones and throw them i to the prop. Watch your tires as you taxi and if the stones are sticking? Power up slowly.
     
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  6. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    Don't give it a UPS paint scheme, noted.
     
  7. Alien Mind

    Alien Mind Pre-Flight

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    Your avatar says you're Las Vegas based, we have some pretty 'sporty' dirt strips near here, if you tell me which one, perhaps I could advise.
     
  8. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    In this case, the strip is not near Vegas, but I would be curious about your thoughts on Kidwell/Cal-Nev-Ari.
     
  9. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Growing up, we used what was supposed to be a grass strip, but it was mostly dirt! If you can, I recommend wheel pants and we added a rubberized tape to the leading edge of the tail. We used the tape to cover the dents caused by rocks, but it probably would have been better as a preventative measure!
     
  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What is the airplane.??

    I have been on dirt strips and off airport work but I have never been on a grass strip. But I do concur with rolling runups. And yoke in the stomach when moving for nose wheel A/C.
     
  11. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    I'm mostly looking at Wittman Tailwinds. Tube and fabric fuse with wood/glass or metal wings.
     
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Landing on a dirt strip is like landing on a paved runway,depending how much it’s used. Stay away from any mud.
     
  13. Shepherd

    Shepherd Final Approach

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    Rocks suck, mud can turn you upside down.
    Be prepared to clean your plane, thoroughly, after flying.
     
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  14. Alien Mind

    Alien Mind Pre-Flight

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    Kidwell's runway is actually well looked after (well, it was when I last landed approx 2 years ago..). I flew in with a PA28 with wheel pants and had no problem; it's mostly hard packed sand with some gravel and was pleasantly flat. Remember to do a rolling take-off though to avoid prop damage.
     
  15. Alien Mind

    Alien Mind Pre-Flight

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    Oh and... You might want to see if any spaces available at Sandy Valley (assuming you live in Vegas, it's a MUCH shorter drive than CalNevAri)
     
  16. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I landed on lots of dirt and one gravel in Australia when I was flying there. As pointed out, start slow, and keep moving. Pull power while not moving is going to suck stuff into the prop. I live on a grass strip now.
     
  17. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Learn that flying through rain showers is not so bad after all...
     
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  18. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Grass is good, dirt (sand rock ) is hard on props and paint on lower fuselage.
    I love the runway where flyingron lives BTW :).