Soft-field landings, grass strip

20 November 2007, 18:52 CDT

Visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Between my schedule and lousy weather around TZR the last couple of weeks, there hasn’t been much flying. Picked up 1.1 this afternoon at KSMS. Got some good instruction in ground reference maneuvers, and actually did some short/soft field work on an actual grass strip – not just pretending the asphalt was grass. I’m sure there are places around TZR to work on grass strips, but the FBO rules prohibit landing their planes on non-paved surfaces, except of course unless you contact 121.5 first.

The particular aircraft I flew today was a little bit different – there was no flap position switch ie set it and forget it. This one was press and hold to extend the flaps, and toggle up to retract. The grass strip wasn’t too much different than paved, but trying to do short-field was a little strange – especially considering I nearly hit the top of a tree of my first attempt, landed long on the next two, but managed to do pretty well on the fourth. One of the things that I kept forgetting was to pull the yoke back to the stop as soon as I touched down. Flaps have to be immediately retracted, and carb heat closed – things which normally wait until after I’m clear of the active unless I’m doing a touch and go.

Three of the four IPs at KSMS (who had business cards at the desk) are CFIIs. I didn’t realize it until after he was gone and I saw his card, but the IP I flew with is ex Airforce – a Lt Colonel. Very cool.

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