Operate from 450 feet of grass?

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rotax618

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Joined
Oct 31, 2005
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1,438
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Evans Head Australia
I have a friend who operates a flying school from a less than 450’ strip near Brisbane OZ, the approach is over a strawberry farm so its only one way. He uses an ICP Savannah as a trainer. He has had the odd nose leg problem due to the required deceleration but has been operating for years - he gives initial landing training at a nearby airfield.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
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65
Location
Madera, California U.S.A.
In central/northern California behind old hotel/bar in Mokelumne Hill @ one time a 350foot +/- personal strip. Fly up river land uphill and take off down the hill. He had old aeronca and later PA20 (135). Worked on state highway construction and commuted to work. When landing on improved runways always used same approach as @ home, full flaps slip and hit the numbers. I would guess the ramp to his hangar was over 50 feet to get wings level enough to get in hangar, it was impossible to fly and see operation because of terrain. I drove in.
 

Dana

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Apr 3, 2007
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CT, USA
OK, wrong place. I thought you was talking about College Park in MD.
I did fly my T-Craft into College Park once, long ago, on a business trip. It was a neat place. Of course this was long before 9/11 and the SFRA.
 

Victor Bravo

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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Distant memory, I think I tried to take my T-craft into that strip on the hill in Mokelumne Hill, it was on the side of a mountain. It was gusty enough that I couldn't keep the T-craft on speed or heading well enough, and I thought better about it.

So I rocked my wings at the guy who was waiting for me down there (Craig Catto of Catto propellers) and landed at a nearby municipal airport a few miles away. He drove down there and gave me my race prop. This would have been about 1988-89.

Is this possibly the same private strip you're talking about? It seemed longer than 250 feet, plenty big for a T-craft, it was just the gusty thermals and winds that turned me away and not the length of the strip.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
65
Location
Madera, California U.S.A.
It likely is. I said 350 plus or minus and I did walk it. And at that time Craig was in Jackson before moving down to new airport at San Andreas. T craft could make it, but you have to be committed and no room for error. Number of hot shot pilots from San Jose area busted up some aircraft but no real serious injury, however few successful landings. Not like the old Angles Camp (before extended and closed) it was no sweat for most 65 aircraft as long as you stayed alert.
 

Stolch

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Jan 10, 2022
Messages
13
I built a Zenith 701 with an 80 hp Rotax 912, Whirlwind prop pitched for takeoff and climb, and fly it out of my Alabama back yard grass strip airport, 8AL7, which is 1,100 ft long with mature trees at both ends. The slats are installed. Been flying in and out of here for about 2.5 years, 100 hrs now, over 300 takeoffs and landings. Summer is 90F with 3,000 ft. DA, Winters are 45F and 1,000 ft. DA. Mostly crosswinds, if any. Slight upslope when taking off to the West so I only do that when there’s a West wind to use. I would not recommend trying to make something half this length with trees at each end a home field for anything but a helicopter. I routinely go around due to shifting winds, and have had to abort several takeoffs when carrying a passenger on Summer days. As others have said, it’s not so much the takeoff distance with a Zenith 701, it’s the landing. Even if I had the 100 hp Rotax to get out of a 450 ft strip with obstacles, it would still be dicey on a hot Summer day with a passenger, and landing and getting stopped on any day regardless of engine would require a bit of headwind, comfort with skimming the tree tops, a brief slip, followed by flawless timing of the flare every single landing, max braking, and leave you no margin for error. You would end up tempted, or pressured, to fly when you should not too many times and it would bite you some day.
 
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