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Old 03-16-2005, 11:37 AM
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Waiter Waiter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Northwestern Ohio
Posts: 1,096
Default grass strip EZ operations

I speak from a LongEZ, but they are very similar.

I perform turf operations three or four times a year. BUT, Only from fields that I know personally, sounds like that isn't a problem for you.

1) The grass itself needs to be very short.
2) The surface needs to be hard, no moisture
3) No rocks or other big stuff that will damage the prop.
4) no hidden holes, or mounds, prefer freshly rolled.
5) CG - AFT CG limit is more desirable then forward limit.

The problem is, that tiny nose tire acts like an anchor. The amount of drag presented as it rolls across the turf is directly proportional to items 1 - 5 above. (Try and ride your 10 speed bike with those skinny tires, through the grass, same thing)

The plane will accelerate to some speed, (V-won't go any faster, or V-wgaf) depending on items 1-5. The runway could extend from Ohio to Florida, but if I can't get the nose wheel off the ground, I'll never be able to accelerate to liftoff speed.

I generally taxi, and start my takeoff roll with the speed brake down. The speed brake has little drag (compared to the nose tire itself) at these low speeds, and offers protection against stuff getting thrown into the prop. At this point, the speed brake is really a "mud flap".

The plane accelerates up to that magic V-wgaf. I then take advantage of any bumps or skips, to get the nose wheel to hop off the ground. Sometimes this happens in two or three steps, i.e. get the nose wheel to hop off for a couple seconds, pick up speed. Get the nose to hop off again, pick up a little more speed, etc. etc. until the nose stays off.

Once I achieve the speed that I can hold the nose off, (very shallow angle, just enough to keep the nose tire from touching the ground), I retract the Speed brake (mud flap)

The airplane continues to accelerate and do a normal climb out.

The biggest factor, is getting the nose tire off the ground.


Never land on a turf runway unless I have personal knowledge of its condition. The Guy on Unicom see's planes takeoff and land all day from the turf, and just assumes that its OK for you. ITS NOT. I can easily land on a runway that will require a truck and trailer in order for my plane to depart.


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