Lesson 45 - Friday Aug 6th

Short and Soft Fields

More newness today, the joys of short and soft field landings and takeoffs.

A short field is an airport with a runway that is short (like, under 1000 feet?), a soft field is an airport with a runway that is soft (like, grass, or mud).

Both situations call for different actions when landing and taking off, all of which I did today, to varying degrees of success.

I was in 26132 today, which is a crappy plane.  But cheap, hey I saved $35!

Anyway, first up is a soft field takeoff, where we have to steer without using the brakes, keep the weigh off the nose, and get in the air as soon as possible.

So, you keep the nose back, and when you leave the ground, you just keep it in ground effect until you are fast enough (Vy = 79 knots) and then up as usual.   I got confused as usual, but got the plane off the ground eventually.

We then do a soft field landing, which is basically the same as a normal landing, you just keep a bit of power in.  That seemed to go okay.

Then  a short field takeoff.  Put on full power with the brakes on, then let her go, get in the air as quickly as possible, then climb out at Vx (best rate of climb, 63 knots for us), until you are over your imaginary 50 foot obstacle, and then continue climbing at Vy.  Reasonably straightforward.

Then the fun part, short field landings.  You basically have to put the plane down on a specific point on the field.  Your approach is pretty much as normal, but on final you have to aim for a specific point before the landing zone, and keep that in a fixed position visually, which gives you a 3 degree glide slope, then you round out as normal (put in a more precise position), and when you are over the landing zone, you just drop the plane down.

That's a bit scary, as I've been taught all along to hold the plane off as long as possible, but now I just have to get it on the ground as quickly as possible (assuming you approach is all fine).

Anyway,  not too bad.  I'm sure I was not very good at any of these things, but I got the basic idea, and I just need to practice a bit. 



(c) 2004 Mick West