Chris K

Soft Field Procedure in a Long Body

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Tried searching soft field here and mostly finding feedback for mid and short body planes.  POH for long body is silent so just wondering what procedures other long body pilots use?  In my J model, this is what I used to do:

1)  Trim slightly high (attitude);

2)  Set approach/takeoff flaps;

3)  Full aft elevator during taxi and takeoff roll;

4)  On takeoff roll - Ease into throttle OR full right away depending on field length and runway conditions;

5)  Typically would slightly relax the elevator around 50 kts to avoid launching at minimum flyable speed;

6)  As soon as aircraft breaks ground, push forward as necessary to remain in ground effect and gain airspeed;

7)  Retract gear as soon as safe to do so;

8)  Climb at Vx or Vy as necessary;

9)  Retract flaps.

Did I miss anything of importance that would apply to the long body (especially regarding amount of backpressure due to the long/low tail)?  Any other long body pilots actually fly out of a soft field?  Obviously I would only plan on flying into fields with very short grass and good conditions due to the low prop clearance but wondering what other characteristics other pilots have found on these models?

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Chris,

You might want to state how much power you have....  

Expect a tail strike to be possible under some conditions.... dragging the tail could really accidently extend the T/O run...

Are you sure there isn’t anything listed under T/O distance calculations for soft fields?  Let me know, I’ll look into it...

Best regards,

-a-

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Only thing listed in POH is to expect to up to 15% longer takeoff distance when operating from a grass field.  Nothing as far as recommended procedures other than for a gravel surface, throttle should be applied slowly.   I can always try a few different procedures, but asking what others may have tried and what worked and what did not.

 

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Chris, you may want to check out @donkaye's site regarding Mooney transition training.  He discusses the importance of shorts/softs as part of his training syllabus.

http://www.donkaye.com/donkaye.com/Flight_Instruction.html

See "Checkout procedure...", specifically, Item #5.

Steve

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My question would be, how did you get into the field in a long body? Not trying to be flip here, but how you got in would be a big determinant for how to get out. I have not landed my O3 on a soft field and would have to be very sure of the surface condition before I did. The extra weight up front just makes it seem very risky to me unless I knew the field was very high quality, like Triple Tree. And if the field is that smooth, then getting out isn’t going to be much different than a regular takeoff.

I would be very interested to hear from any long body owners that do regularly use soft fields and what your experience is.

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16 hours ago, StevenL757 said:

Chris, you may want to check out @donkaye's site regarding Mooney transition training.  He discusses the importance of shorts/softs as part of his training syllabus.

http://www.donkaye.com/donkaye.com/Flight_Instruction.html

See "Checkout procedure...", specifically, Item #5.

Steve

Yes, getting closer.  Since POH is silent, seems trim should be set to standard takeoff.  Full elevator or partial to avoid over-rotation?

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I would never fly into a soft field in a Mooney without closely checking conditions. A call to the airport manager for current conditions is a must in addition to everything you need to do for paved runways. Also check and follow weather for prior several days to monitor potential for a soggy runway. Lastly, personal familiarity of the runway and conditions could help make a go/no go decision to use that field.  

I was once under the false impression a Mooney had no business in a soft field until I was convinced to give it a try in my J model.  The result was it not only made me a better pilot but also opened up more airport options I had never thought possible.  

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18 hours ago, Jeff_S said:

My question would be, how did you get into the field in a long body? Not trying to be flip here, but how you got in would be a big determinant for how to get out. I have not landed my O3 on a soft field and would have to be very sure of the surface condition before I did. The extra weight up front just makes it seem very risky to me unless I knew the field was very high quality, like Triple Tree. And if the field is that smooth, then getting out isn’t going to be much different than a regular takeoff.

I would be very interested to hear from any long body owners that do regularly use soft fields and what your experience is.

You mention Triple Tree ,out west I can think of Grass strips of that quality...Cavanaugh Bay,Priest Lake ID 66s or Seeley Lake MT....it's all about how much rain they had recently and if a Caretaker 

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9 hours ago, Chris K said:

I would never fly into a soft field in a Mooney without closely checking conditions. A call to the airport manager for current conditions is a must in addition to everything you need to do for paved runways. Also check and follow weather for prior several days to monitor potential for a soggy runway. Lastly, personal familiarity of the runway and conditions could help make a go/no go decision to use that field.  

I was once under the false impression a Mooney had no business in a soft field until I was convinced to give it a try in my J model.  The result was it not only made me a better pilot but also opened up more airport options I had never thought possible.  

I did not hesitate to take my J into soft fields if I was confident of conditions. Perhaps my concerns are unfounded, but I just feel like with all that extra weight on the nose it is much riskier to take in the Ovation. I would love to be able to...I really enjoy landing on turf. I’m actually hoping someone can give me their experience and confidence that I should give it a try.

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Make sure all tires are fully inflated and no more than half full tanks. Keep the elevator up when taxing on grass.

José

Edited by Piloto

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On 9/15/2018 at 9:08 AM, Piloto said:

Make sure all tires are fully inflated and no more than half full tanks. Keep the elevator up when taxing on grass.

José

Good tips - thank you.

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For the long body, have a good reserve set up for your tank reseal after bouncing around on the grass.  Short field (>2,300 feet), yes, soft field for me, NO.  The year following my bouncing around on the grass at Oshkosh, I had to have the tanks resealed.  

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2 hours ago, donkaye said:

For the long body, have a good reserve set up for your tank reseal after bouncing around on the grass.  Short field (>2,300 feet), yes, soft field for me, NO.  The year following my bouncing around on the grass at Oshkosh, I had to have the tanks resealed.  

Yikes - my tanks were just done a couple years ago - think I'll stick to only smooth runways in that case.  The nice thing about my J model was that it had worry-free fuel bladders.

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I wouldn't disagree with @donkaye but the condition of the sealant your tanks would also have something to do with this.  Sealant in good condition should be pliable and wouldn't be effected by landing on a relatively smooth grass runway. But sealant that is old, brittle, and about to need resealing anyway, will likely be pushed over the edge and start leaking by any rough surface under the landing gear.

I wouldn't expect that recently resealed tanks would be effected by roughish landing fields. 

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On 9/14/2018 at 7:04 PM, Jeff_S said:

I did not hesitate to take my J into soft fields if I was confident of conditions. Perhaps my concerns are unfounded, but I just feel like with all that extra weight on the nose it is much riskier to take in the Ovation. I would love to be able to...I really enjoy landing on turf. I’m actually hoping someone can give me their experience and confidence that I should give it a try.

I'm trying it on Wednesday. ill let you know.

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3 hours ago, Niko182 said:

I'm trying it on Wednesday. ill let you know.

 Hi Niko,

Did you pick up N9152Q from Kenosha, WI?  I went up to see that plane and missed buying it by a few minutes.  Really nice airframe when I saw it.  Let us know how the soft field works out.

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Just now, Chris K said:

 Hi Niko,

Did you pick up N9152Q from Kenosha, WI?  I went up to see that plane and missed buying it by a few minutes.  Really nice airframe when I saw it.  Let us know how the soft field works out.

Yes. it was the plane I found on Ebay. somewhat a funny story. and will do.
Nik

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8 hours ago, Chris K said:

Yikes - my tanks were just done a couple years ago - think I'll stick to only smooth runways in that case.  The nice thing about my J model was that it had worry-free fuel bladders.

I'm not sure I wouldn't take it as a bit of a coincidence and a grain of salt.  A quick search for Don's airplane shows it's a 1991- there's a good chance his tanks were due for resealing anyway.

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59 minutes ago, Andy95W said:

I'm not sure I wouldn't take it as a bit of a coincidence and a grain of salt.  A quick search for Don's airplane shows it's a 1991- there's a good chance his tanks were due for resealing anyway.

Good point. When I was shopping for a long body I came across numerous planes that were begging for tank re-seals or had substandard seal repairs that started leaking not soon after.  After owning a J model with bladders, seems market is overdue to come out with bladders for the long bodies.  

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I had my tanks resealed by Weep-No-More in about 2009 and have done probably two dozen soft field landings and takeoffs since then, no problems.  Mine’s a K.

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