Operate from 450 feet of grass?

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jedi

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I am sure I will get flack from this but with my limited experience I think the Zenith is given too much credit for it's short field performance abilities. Perhaps it is also given to much credit for it's lack of good looks so all things tend to balance out in the end.

As for a post #59 reply. Some POH numbers are conservative but they represent real performance and you can not cheat physics. You need to understand the conditions and limitations of the POH as well as the conditions and limitations of the aircraft. The POH is for the average pilot. The POH for the EU nations express landing distance with different braking techniques than the US POH manuals, etc.

Yes, a good pilot can do better than the POH numbers and verify that with impressive video, BUT. Factor in the headwind and the below max gross weight, etc. as BJC said and you will verify the physics. Consider an EAB POH the same way you consider an EAB airplane. What you get is what you get. It is not certified.

The only way to really answer this is to fly the aircraft from a longer strip and verify the performance of the plane and the pilot and then make a decision about landing in the field.. Do the landing first because that has the greatist pilot skill and variability. In addition you will hit the trees at a much lower speed and do a lot less dammage to the aircraft. I would add some safety improvement at the roll out end of the strip hay bales or soft dirt, gravel etc. On takeoff the trees will give you enough room to abort at liftoff it you are nos sure you can continue from the go / no go point most of the time. Do the first operations under the most ideal conditions and safely expand the edges of the operating envelope. You are a test pilot testing your ADM and skills as well as aircraft performance.

As other posts clearly state, it all comes down to the conditions and will vary from day to day. Read the fine print as in the common statement "Your conditions may vary".
 
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Rhino

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I think the inordinate credit sometimes given to Zenith STOL aircraft is often due to people seeing planes that are highly modified for the purpose, and too many assume they can all do that. If you look at the specs, they aren't all that radical, and they're routinely bested by people with aircraft that are very typical builds. Maule didn't design airplanes to take off from inside hangars, and I'm betting it wasn't in the POH. My only point is that many aircraft, under the right circumstances, can, and regularly do, exceed the POH specifications without any appreciable negative result. But as you and I both said, an inordinate amount of care and caution is necessary in those circumstances.
 

jedi

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A 150 foot strip of soy beans planted along side the runway is very effective as an alternate breaking device for a few summer months. It is highly recommended.

A ramp for the first and last 150 feet is also very effective even if only a 50 foot rise but it is much more difficult (expensive) to construct. unless you have the proper equipment and materials.
 

TFF

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That is one percenters. STOL is a form of aerobatics. It’s the same level of concentration. Goal is different.

A friend and I would take this Grumman AA5 down the runway as fast as it would go and then dump the flaps to full. Did it with 172s also. Not with the Mooney.
Definitely not standard pilot operations. Once you go past the POH, you are the test pilot. Some stuff is non issues; some can be big issues. If you watch the Flying Cowboys/Trent Palmer stuff, they are very active on the flaps. This is only learned with experimentation. They also are not doing best climb at rotation; they follow the stream or valley or cut in the trees until they have speed.

I have seen a friend take his 701 off on pavement in an easy 150 ft, but then he kept it on the deck or at least ckecked the climb until he had speed. It wasn’t all that far to get speed, but at 50 mph, 5 seconds is 360 ft. I know he has a 300 ft spot next to his home runway in some corn. If he misses, it’s just more corn. His regular runway is not long with trees. His little traveling plane can barely get in with comfort.
 

12notes

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A 150 foot strip of soy beans planted along side the runway is very effective as an alternate breaking device for a few summer months. It is highly recommended.
I can verify from that soybeans can stop a near stall speed glider in about 20' from when the wings first contact the soybeans.

Err, I mean, so I've heard...
 

Victor Bravo

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I never landed in soybeans or other large crops with a full-size aircraft. There was a small cornfield next to our R/C model field as a kid, and we'd have to go out in the corn and find our models in that, which was enough of a deterrent for me to not want to land in corn now. We picked up a guy who landed his glider in a (mostly dry) sewer settling pond in a contest, and lugging that Kestrel up the embankment surrounded by the smell was another memorable deterrent... I remember it very well more than three decades later :)
 

Dana

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When I was at Parks College in the '70s we flew R/C models from the old college airfield behind the dormitories. The two grass runways were still there and that's what we used, but the rest was planted in soybeans. The "beanfield" claimed its share of models.

On another note, there was a guy who made an emergency landing on what looked like a smooth field but turned out to be an algae covered sewage pond. As the plane sank into the muck he yellled, "HELP! FIRE!". Asked why he yelled "fire" when there was no fire, he replied, "Would anybody have come to help if I yelled, "HELP! SEWAGE!"?
 

Pops

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When I was at Parks College in the '70s we flew R/C models from the old college airfield behind the dormitories. The two grass runways were still there and that's what we used, but the rest was planted in soybeans. The "beanfield" claimed its share of models.

On another note, there was a guy who made an emergency landing on what looked like a smooth field but turned out to be an algae covered sewage pond. As the plane sank into the muck he yellled, "HELP! FIRE!". Asked why he yelled "fire" when there was no fire, he replied, "Would anybody have come to help if I yelled, "HELP! SEWAGE!"?
Smart pilot :)
Wasn't the Ercoupe factory at Parks College field at one time ?
 

bmcj

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I am sure I will get flack from this but with my limited experience I think the Zenith is given too much credit for it's short field performance abilities. Perhaps it is also given to much credit for it's lack of good looks so all things tend to balance out in the end.
[DISCLAIMER: I have not flown a Zenith STOL, but I do have flying experience in a large variety of aircraft including some similar to the Zenith in size, weight and characteristics.]

I tend to agree with Jedi here. I’ve noticed that the Zenith STOL aircraft seem to have taken on a cult-like following, and those followers tend to tout the Zenith as the preeminent STOL aircraft with no limits to its capabilities. I don’t know if this is a homegrown phenomenon or if it was fostered by the company, but I don’t see anything about it that would raise it above others, except possibly going overboard on weight reduction with thin metal skins.

There are a lot if planes out there that can be flown like a STOL with a capable pilot at the controls. Even a Cessna 150 can easily be soft landed and stopped in less than 400’ as long as you have a clear approach path.

Of the planes I’ve flown, perhaps the most impressive in terms of short field capability in my opinion is the Stinson L-1, a large gangly tube and fabric plane with LE slats and a radial engine. The placard on the panel cautions the pilot “do not fly below 18 MPH”. There are accounts out there where the plane was flown in and about of a 30’ circle, and my experience with it leads me to believe those accounts.
 
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Dana

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Smart pilot :)
Wasn't the Ercoupe factory at Parks College field at one time ?
Not that I ever heard of, but it would have been a wee bit before my time. But in the late 1920s and 30s the college was manufacturing Parks P-1 and P-2 biplanes. The P-2 figures prominently in several of Richard Bach's books.
 

Pops

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Not that I ever heard of, but it would have been a wee bit before my time. But in the late 1920s and 30s the college was manufacturing Parks P-1 and P-2 biplanes. The P-2 figures prominently in several of Richard Bach's books.
I could be wrong, but I think in 1939, 1940 and 41.

Added-- I checked, 1937.
 
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