Grass Runway Landing Training

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by poadeleted20, Nov 29, 2007.

?

Did you ever receive flight training on a grass runway?

  1. Yes, during PPL training

    86 vote(s)
    53.1%
  2. Yes, but after PPL

    25 vote(s)
    15.4%
  3. No, never

    51 vote(s)
    31.5%
  1. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    I am really, really not being argumentative here....but out of curiosity, why is it that a CFI will "put his ticket on the line" letting students fly into grass, but will not "put his ticket on the line" over night solos, an inherently safer activity?
     
  2. Maxmosbey

    Maxmosbey Final Approach

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    I need to get serious.
    I started out in a champ, and on grass.
     
  3. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    Um, ok I give why is flying at night inherently safer than landing on grass?
     
  4. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Huh? "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
     
  5. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Think as a newbie pilot. Differentiate the grass strip in the middle of nowhere from the giant grass fields located all around it. Find the giant gouge in the runway that is hidden by the long blades of grass. Find the airport using nothing but dead reckoning, as there's no navaids colocated.

    Now, picture the same newbie pilot. Find the bright ass beacon about 25 miles out. Fly to it. The runway is paved. Land on the runway, exactly as you always have during the day. Your landing lights will likely show most obstructions in the way, and those that it misses will be far enough down in MOST ga planes to be avoidable because of the slow speed.

    Worst case scenario at night: Lost engine, guess where the safe spot is.
    Worst case scenario on grass: Land hard, bounce, and wind up in the trees. Oh, and lose an engine where you know that there's no safe spots. Same diff as night.
     
  6. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    Nick, its easy to find the grass, it the strip carved out of the corn! :D
     
  7. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Was that the number of times each wheel touched the ground? :rofl:

    Never been on grass except to taxi a few feet into it to park. This was when one could do that and walk over to Ol' Wills BBQ off the approach end of 31 at WDR.


    -Rich
     
  8. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ...and what about the little scattered clouds that the student didn't see before he flew into them?
     
  9. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Leslie and I didn't get to do it pre-PPLs, but were taught in NZ, since we were based at a grass strip there, and most of the places we were going were grass. Then, when we came back to the States, we just asked the chief pilot for permission to do it in the club planes and he said "sure, as long as the wheel pants are removed." (They'd had a few wheel-pants damaged at $1K each.) Most of the 172's already had them removed, and he removed them from the 182 when we asked him to so we could take it to Gaston's. I don't think they've been back on since!
     
  10. Shipoke

    Shipoke Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd need to check 2 answers, I did landings on grass both before and after PPL. before was in my PPL Training , After was doing my Tailwheel training. So i'm not sure what to check.
    Dave G.
     
  11. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Is it a requirement?

    No training on a real grass strip...but I didn't see this as an issue. I did have soft field training on a paved runway.
     
  12. Nav8tor

    Nav8tor Line Up and Wait

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    Yup, lots of grass crop duster strips in South Jersey. My CFI did most of my soft field training on those fields.
     
  13. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    The flight school did not allow grass field landings and the club I am in is a no go too.

    My only time on grass was to taxi and park at the Wings Fly-B-Q ;)
     

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  14. p8cleared2land

    p8cleared2land Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Grass strip training was allowed with the airplane I rented. Unfortunately, they paved the nearest grass strip six months before my training. Most of the grass strips here require some mountain flying skills, although there are a couple I would feel comfortable using.
     
  15. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I understand that Aurora Airport (KARR) is installing a 6000' grass strip parallel to one of their existing runways.

    Of course, you can expect it to be paved once they get funding!
     
  16. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I received grass training (one landing) during my PPL. The examiner had me land on grass during my checkride. After my PPL I received my tail wheel endorsement on grass and have since been to countless grass fields.

    All the tailwheel airplanes I've flown are *way* easier to handle on grass.
     
  17. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Nick, almost all of the grass runways I've been to, are very easy to spot and very easy to operate on. People don't crash on good grass runways. People crash because they took the paved runway with the big crosswind instead of the easy grass into the wind.
     
  18. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    A few points...

    First, I suppose I should have asked "When did you get your first grass runway training" -- Answer 2 was supposed to be for those who didn't get it during PPL but got it later.

    Second, there's a pretty huge difference between an instructor training a student on a grass runway and an instructor turning a student loose solo at night.

    Third, no, it's not a requirement, but I think there is a reticence among many pilots to go roll on the grass if they've never done it first with an instructor. Also, it's my opinon that doing a soft-field landing on a hard runway and actually landing on a grass one are significantly different experiences.
     
  19. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    OK, now differentiate between four different beacons flashing at you in a washout of urban lighting...which airport was I supposed to land at again?

    My night cross country was Kingman to Blythe, California on a moonless night. Blacker than a...well, you get the point.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think either are inherently dangerous. But we are talking about a grass runway here, not off-airport backcountry ops. A grass runway with a comfortable length is a non-issue so long as pilots understand a few basics issues (like wet grass.)
     
  20. skyflyer8

    skyflyer8 Line Up and Wait

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    Nick, you said that training isn't necessary but then gave some convincing reasons why it is.

    It's true that many grass strips aren't really that soft. However, in my experience, many of them are rough, giving me a good reason to do soft-field technique. I make sure all my students get the experience.

    From what I understand, the nosewheel RVs have had trouble with their nose gear getting wrecked on bumpy grass strips. Is that the case? I know of one local RV-6A that had that problem. I don't know if it's due a bad design or bad training or both, but if training can help prevent the problem, hey... why not get the training.
     
  21. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Did my first grass pre-ppl, because I specifically sought out a flight school that didn't have any silly no-grass policy. I encourage others to put some pressure on your local flight schools to do the same.
     
  22. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dual vs. Solo, Nick... I bet Ron doesn't send students on cross countries to grass fields solo, either.
     
  23. snowbird

    snowbird Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Now I see how fortunate I was to train at a country airport with an instructor who trained a lot of flying farmers. He had permission to use his student's farm strips with the result that a large number of my training flights were on grass. Darn nice fields too. Amazing how many "starving farmers" have a plane in the barn running on colored autogas. Great people but I always remind them that AIDS is spelled with an "s" so farmers won't apply for it!
     
  24. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    Never landed on grass, but I did finish one landing in the dirt alongside the runway at SDM during my tailwheel training... does that count? :D

    I almost got the chance to land and take off at Jacumba (dirt runway) while I was out there, but I couldn't find it. :redface:

    One of these days, though... looking into doing some flying soon at VanSant and/or Andover, and a landing on that beautiful grass at Grimes is on my wish-list. :)

    I dunno why non-paved runways are not used more often during PP training and often forbidden to solo students... once a student has shown the ability to use proper soft-field technique and understands the possible problems with taking off from grass, it shouldn't be a big deal, IMHO.
     
  25. tdager

    tdager En-Route

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    While it was not "allowed" technically, I did get to fly into two grass strips. One was a little rat-hole of a jobby that even now I would not go into. The other has a great restaurant on it and even the flight school owner would join me and my instructor on training flights to go there and eat.

    Now my aircraft is based on a grass strip and I can say that I prefer landing on grass...much gentler on the aircraft.

    BTW...I notice that even on paved strips I unconsciously haul back on the yoke of the 182 to lighten the load on the nose wheel! It is weird to just let it sit there like you can do on a paved strip...hahahahaha.
     
  26. HPNPilot1200

    HPNPilot1200 En-Route

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    The flight school I currently fly out of (Panorama) specifically prohibits any operations on grass runways or a runways shorter than 2,000 ft. under normal conditions (non-emergencies) in the renters agreement I sign every time I rent there.

    However, the small flight school I occasionally fly out of in Springfield, VT when vacationing at my grandparent's house does allow grass takeoffs and landings. I did perform about 5 grass takeoff and landings with a CFI during a lesson there about a year or two ago. It's very good experience that I'm glad I was able to take advantage of because it does give me greater reassurance I can successfully land on a soft grass surface if the need ever came up.
     
  27. swamppilot

    swamppilot Pre-Flight

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    That was a long time ago for me, and I had to think back some. I did not get any formal training for operations at grass strips. During mu COMM training, we did some TO and landings at a grass strip, but there was no formal "introduction' to grass strips. Since then, I have operated routinely out of several grass strips in all kinds of WX, but it was a learn on your own process, listening to the old heads who had more experience.
     
  28. Maxmosbey

    Maxmosbey Final Approach

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    I need to get serious.
    I can't remember taking off or landing on a grass strip was any different than pavement, other than it was a little bumpier. I flew both a champ, and a cessna 150 off of a grass field. I think that I flew a tri-pacer off of it too. I don't think that we did either soft field landings or takeoffs, we just took off and landed the same as we would on pavement. I do remember that the field had a hump about halfway down the runway, and we always tried to launch off of that hump on takeoff. On landing we tried to get it slowed down before we got to the launch pad. The runways were lighted, but I don't remember a lot of flights after dark out of there. I worked there as a mechanic one summer for crop spraying outfit, and I used to get out of there late. It was my job to turn off the runway lights when I left. They closed the airport down during the winter. One year they said that they weren't going to open up in the spring, and instead they plowed the runways and planted them to corn. Everyone had to get their planes out before the first snow. Now it is just a big farm field. I fly over it all the time, and get a little nostalgic. Some of the hangers are still there. Those days, flying was much less complicated than it is now. That's about it.
     
  29. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    First solo was at Harford County Airport, Runway 19. Grass runway intersecting pavement.

    T/O and LDG from 1 was *fun*...
     
  30. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    At night or during the day?

    Come to Baltimore during the day, I'll show you a good grass runway you can see clearly from approach. A well maintained grass strip is *obvious*.
     
  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The flight school at my home field allows grass operations. Right before we headed off to Australia to fly 172's around the outback, we decided to get some flight instruction in one at home (haven't really flown a skyhawk much since I bought the Navion). When we told the instructor what we were doing, he immediately had us head over to a short grass private strip near by.

    Oddly, there was no real "soft" anything in Australia even on the dirt strips. The main thing we did have to worry about is dodging camel dung at one airstrip.
     
  32. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    Nothing real soft in Colorado either unless you count snow which is another challenge in itself, and not only for landing. Taking off on an unplowed surface even with a inch or two can increase your takeoff distance. A lot. No worries about camel dung though.

    I don't remember getting any specific training on grass or dirt but that didn't stop me from trying it myself.
     
  33. etsisk

    etsisk En-Route

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    my first 60 or 70 landings were ALL on grass! :)
     
  34. drafttek

    drafttek Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got to do some grass work during my PP training. We have a grass strip perpendicular to the paved one. I've used it a few times on heavy cross wind days. As a renter I had asked them if it was ok to take the plane into Katama (grass) on Martha's Vineyard. They said "Hmm...Your instructor was Lan, right? Yeah, you're all set." That little girl was good.
     
  35. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Never have. As Ron said, I am reticent to try on my own, even though I have a decent plane for the task. I'm going to get a tailwheel endorsement (one of my 2008 resolutions, along with earning Comm/Multi and logging my 500th hr) so I'll certainly get some grass work then.
     
  36. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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  37. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you don't have your grass cherry popped by Wings, I'll go up with ya, and we'll go find one.
     
  38. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    Posted by a guy with the forum handle, "iGoingBlind" that there just sounds wrong...
     
  39. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now how can I refuse an offer like that!!!???!!!:eek: :D All joking aside -- thanks for the offer. Why not?!

    I'm heading out west for some backcountry flying in June, so it'll happen one way or the other.
     
  40. Chas

    Chas Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Learned to fly first time round in an Ercoupe on the grass field at White Waltham, England. When they hadn't cut the grass in a while, take-offs in the old bird could be very .... very ..... lethargic, what with the incline to a hump in the middle of the field and all. But, I hardly ever bounced a landing (hard to do, on tall grass) and I never hit a rabbit - that I'm aware of.

    Over here, the closest I've come are some sand/dirt fields in the desert east of Julian and west of the Salton Sea (Anza-Borrego). The hard part is being sure that you're properly lined up - always make a low pass first IMO.