How Often are grass runway used, when there is a paved runway?

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by aeronav, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    Student PPL here, and I have a hypothetical situation at a certain airport which I might encounter, an uncontrolled airport with two runways:
    1- Paved runway 14/32
    2- grass runway 02/20
    Wind will be blowing NNE or NE , anywhere from 15 to 50 degrees, which makes best runway to land is 02 (grass), landing on runway 32 will mean almost direct crosswind, which runway will most pilots choose?
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've landed on fields with grass intersecting runways when the winds favor it. (Though at Harford county they came out to inquire if I was a glider pilot as they say only those pilots land on the grass0>

    Hell, in the day I landed on the grass at FDK next to 30.
     
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  3. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    If the grass isn’t aweful, tore up, soggy, too short for comfort, etc take the runway that is favorable. There’s things to be considered with grass as you learned in training, but dealt with properly there isn’t a reason in the world to not use grass. Heck if you end up flying tailwheel ever you will seek out grass over pavement...

    But I remember as a student grass intimidated me... yes had practiced soft field take offs- on the big paved runway! Wasn’t till my first biannual I asked if we cud go in on real grass. Instructor chuckled at me that I didn’t want to land on grass first time without him. Oh well...
     
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  4. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Why are you scared of grass runways?


    Personally I prefer grass.
     
  5. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    When I lived in Lead, SD I used the grass runway in Spearfish, SD for about 1/2 of my flying. Loved the grass...:thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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  6. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    I am not, I just haven't landed on grass before, of course I know the theoretical part of it, keep nose up as much as possible,etc , but i just don't want to try it flying solo on my first cross-country
     
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  7. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Don’t. Ask your instructor, not the internet.

    When I trained, FBO wouldn’t allow their planes to land on unpaved surfaces. Didn’t do it until after my PPL.

    First time I had to go around, cuz I was just aiming towards green, rather than a touchdown point...I’m so used to numbers.
     
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  8. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I once took off from an airport that had both and chose grass

    I will NEVER do that again. And I am super comfortable with grass runways.
     
  9. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had to go look to see whether you might be talking about 3D2, in which case I would have said "the grass runway isn't plowed this time of year, take the pavement." ;)

    But yes, if this is a solo XC, definitely ask your instructor, not us. There may be something in the rental agreement, and your instructor will probably want your first grass landing to be with them, not on a solo.

    In the real world, "most pilots" will choose the pavement, but that doesn't make them right - That often makes them inexperienced. Too many pilots have never landed on grass. There are other considerations you'll need to think about beyond the surface, too. May times, the grass runway is shorter because it was built to accommodate gliders, Cubs and other tailwheels, etc. that do very well on grass and generally like to stay out of everyone's way. So, make sure the length is appropriate to the operation too, not just the surface.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Por que?
     
  11. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    I will always choose the grass runway if available and in good condition. Easier to land on, less tire wear, more fun. At my home field there's no official grass runway, but many pilots choose to land on the 900' long grass alongside the runway if there are no planes parked there.
     
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  12. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    When your soft tundra tires cost north of $2K each? You avoid pavement. If you’re running conventional 850 or smaller airplane tires? It makes little difference. If you’re in the habit of touching down sideways grass can be more forgiving. If its been raining for a week? Grass can be less forgiving.
     
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  13. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    No, it's KCRS, I've already cancelled it due to wind, my instructor was a little disappointed cuz he had more faith in me I guess, but I just really dislike wind at this stage.
     
  14. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    I used grass runways much more in New Jersey, of all places. N51 (Solberg) did training on their grass runway. I've only used a grass runway once since then, at 50K (Pawnee City) mostly because the FBO's prohibit grass runways.

    I hope he'll have you do more crosswind practice with you. You should ask for it if he doesn't volunteer the extra training.
     
  15. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    From airnav:
    "Runway 2/20
    Dimensions: 3200 x 75 ft. / 975 x 23 m
    Surface: turf, in fair condition"

    Depending on your airplane you might want to find out just how fair the condition is before using it.
     
  16. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel En-Route

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    Standard answer: Depends.

    Depends on the plane. Depends on the winds. Depends on the condition of the grass. Depends on the condition of the pavement.

    If I were in a 172 or similar with wheel pants and winds were direct crosswind but under 10 knots, I'd probably take pavement over grass unless I knew the grass to be in good condition with no chuck holes. No wheel pants and stronger winds? I'd probably use the grass.

    If I were in a Mooney? I'd be wary of using any grass I wasn't familiar with. Especially if there's intersecting pavement. Any kind of dip in the grass at the edge of the pavement could lead to bent prop tips in something like a Mooney.

    But all those choices apply to me now. My answers would likely have been very different when I was facing my first solo cross country. I think you made a good choice.

    Dry grass in good condition doesn't have any great challenges for a typical light trainer. But even still, its probably a good idea to go find some grass with your instructor before you do it on your own.

    Same with cross winds or winds in general when it came to landing. From the time I soloed until well after my checkride, I could get the plane on the ground in crosswinds without bending anything. But it was never pretty and I didn't feel very confident about it. Somewhere between 50-100 after my check ride the whole crab/kick concept just finally all came together correctly for me one day and I had one of those ah-ha moments we sometimes get. My apprehension with crosswinds began to diminish after that. Now I think they're fun.:)
     
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  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Unless the wind is greater than 15 knots, I am landing on the hard surface in a tricycle gear plane. As a CFI, I am not releasing you on a flight to that airport unless the wind is like <8 knots with those angles and your restrictions prohibit you from sod runways.

    If your primary training airport is sod, that would be a different issue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  18. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Radials, taildraggers, and grass runways are how God intended aviation.
     
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  19. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    That's what I always thought while watching classic aviation movies! If I survive PPL training, I'll try taildraggers , and land them on grass.
     
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  20. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    God must really like to go slow.
     
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  21. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Cleared for Takeoff

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    I learned how to fly in a 150 on a 2700' grass strip. So we were always landing on grass at least once a lesson. Did a mix of pavement and grass during the lessons, but the grass was great. Often grass strips are wider than pavement, no tire wear, forgiving, and no problem at all for a light tricycle like a 150.

    I got lots of practice with soft conditions this past year (East Coast rain anyone?) and had to plow through mud to get to my checkride and arrived with grass and mud all over my tailfeathers, but it was either that or missing my appointment. The runway was well built so it survived the rain well, but there was 40' of soft mud between my parking spot and the runway. Nothing like real world soft field takeoff practice from a soaking wet grassy runway. Full back yoke until the nose comes off and them let it roll up to speed and lift off into ground effect, flaps help a bit too to get unstuck from the surface.

    There should be nothing scaring anyone away from landing on grass, especially if it is a maintained runway surface. Taking off, choose the pavement as the grass will slow you down, but for landing, grass is great.
     
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  22. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, since God is everywhere, God doesn't need to be in a hurry to get anywhere, does he? :rofl:
     
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  23. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Conditions permitting, use the grass. Your tires will dry rot before they wear out.
     
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  24. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'd use a grass rwy - but only if I was familiar with it or got some reliable pireps. Too many variables from soft ground (low spots that may hold water and remain soft a long time after the rest of the rwy dries out), ruts, whatever.
     
  25. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Tailwheel on grass is the easy way.
     
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  26. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The crossing taxiways were paved. And higher than the grass
     
  27. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Many learned how to fly in taildraggers on grass strips
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  28. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How much wind?
     
  29. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yup, and with the canopy open.

    [​IMG]
     
  30. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    But muh cirrus haz parachute ;)
     
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  31. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    8 or 9 knots@20 degrees, later gust was reported @17
     
  32. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    20 degrees as in 020, or 20 degrees off runway heading?
     
  33. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    As in 020 degrees true, so 60 degrees off the runway
     
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  34. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That doesn't sound so bad, but of course what folks consider "too windy" can vary by where you live.

    What do you fly? As others have said that will be a factor in your decision whether or not to use the grass.
     
  35. aeronav

    aeronav Pre-Flight

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    I don't think it's bad either now, however , I was mostly worried about gust picking up while I am in route, it happened before, now that the event is in the past and I have the numbers handy I don't think it would have been bad.
    I fly a skyhawk 172
     
  36. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    at 60deg, you already noted that's about a direct xwind.

    My CFI didn't like me flying anywhere, solo, with more than 7-8kts for a long time. I can't remember what my limitations were when I did my solo xc. My CFI was pretty conservative about raising that xwind limitation on my solo endorsements.

    If your CFI thinks you are ready to handle that, but you don't, then find a good xwind day/location and work it out with your CFI. It sounds more like a confidence issue than a limitation that your CFI wants you to stay under.

    If the choice is between the rwy with the xwind at 8-9 G 17 and a grass rwy that I'd never used before (or hadn't ever landed on grass before), I'd take the paved rwy. Just because it's grass doesn't mean it's "soft field", so don't overthink it. But it will feel different.
     
  37. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    [​IMG]
     
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  38. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    A TBM 930 will run with that gas pig and carry 6 in pressurized air conditioned comfort.
     
  39. Cam Bender

    Cam Bender Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I’ve found landing on grass to be no harder than landing on pavement if not easier.
     
  40. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    I got my private at 82J Ferguson Field in Pensacola (2001). They have a paved runway and a grass runway side by side. The management at the time, if you were renting their planes or taking flight instruction had you take off on the paved runway but land on the grass strip for the very reasons you cite. Less wear and tear on the plane.

    On my check ride a funny thing happened. I'm coming in for a landing and the DPE tells me I'm way off and to go around. Found out the problem was I was trying to land on the grass strip as usual and he was expecting me to land on the paved runway. We finally got it figured out. lol.

    Come to think of it, I think my checkride was the only time I ever landed on the paved runway there.
     
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