View Full Version : Landing Short Over a 50 or 100 ft. Obstacle

01-01-2003, 05:47 PM
Most of my short landings require clearing obstacles usually 50 to 100 ft.

Starting at about twice the height of the obstacle and 30 to 35 mph indicated, I sometimes mentally draw a straight line which I fly with a minimum of power to touchdown. Other times, I cut power and dive the plane to the ground short of the touchdown to clear the obstacle, adding power as necessary to flare. The addition of power, necessarily uses up precious space. I still haven't decided which technique works best.

What technique seems to work for those of you who are most adept at these things?

01-01-2003, 09:18 PM

01-02-2003, 12:28 AM
Hang it on the prop at about 42 mph actual with 2 notches of flaps (on a 3 notch set up). When the obstacles are cleared. Cut the throttle, jam the nose hard down and grab the last notch of flaps about 1/2 way down.

Start your flare at about 20 feet and get the tail as low as you can. Dead stall it about 1" above the ground, dump the flaps fast and brake as hard as you can without going on your nose.

From touch down to dead (figuratively) stop should be about 250 feet.

You will have to wait about 5 minutes to get out of the Cub because your sphincter will be pinching the seat real tight.

Actually, I do this regularly at my hunting camp, with about 5 feet of side clearance and it works fine but be careful of cross winds at tree top level. Another danger is that if you have a little head wind, it will disappear when you drop below tree top level and you will drop like a brick if you are too slow.

01-02-2003, 01:04 AM
To me, hanging it on the prop means using more like 32 - 35 mph under partial power. With 42 indicated and the nose down, after chopping power, I'd just sail on down the strip. What am I missing?

With my BLR VG's, I can helicopter almost straight down without stalling, but I have to add power for the flare. That uses up real estate.

I guess if you can properly flare, without any additional power input, then maybe that is better than using a slower speed and having to add power to flare.

I'll try that. I try everything.



01-02-2003, 01:20 AM

01-02-2003, 03:39 AM
One of the BLR guys tried my strip and couldn't get stopped any shorter than I did.

01-02-2003, 09:09 AM

Diggler does it the way I do. Power off through the top two feet of trees at about 38 to 40, I don't have flaps so I slip it with the nose high. Just before I crash, straighten out, ease foward on the stick, pin the main gear down, and stand on the brakes keeping the tail down with the stick. If you don't have any sticks or leaves stuck in your tail wheel or tail wheel spring you could have been a little lower over the trees. The above is with little or no wind. Have fun.


01-02-2003, 09:33 AM
I do the same thing Murph.........only when I chop the power and drop like a rock I close my eyes...........when the guy in the back yells "holy ****" then I yank back on the stick real hard.
Seriously.........I've never been able to pin these landings consistently what with the situation changes of wind, temps, a/c weight, etc. It takes a real pro on the throttle to "guess" just right everytime.

01-02-2003, 10:00 AM
Thanks, guys!

Dave I do mine kinda like you describe, except that I'm the one hollaring "oh ****!". I have been known to bounce over the landing site.


01-04-2003, 04:10 PM
Merrill you should sign your name to such words of wisdom...:P
I don't even look at the airspeed. Just cut the power after the obstacle, fall and then power up to cushion the landing. Works great every time. W/ or W/O VGs.
And if ya do it right you can spot it every time--but ya might bounce a good one if you don't katch it in time! :P

01-05-2003, 12:23 AM
Hi Murph, i'm glad to see the direction you are going. The boys are giving you many
good tips and ways that work. I don't want to see you bend your plane while you
are just getting started. All planes handle a little different even with the same equipment.
Try this, go up to a safe elevation and practice flying at the slowest possable speed
while decending while under power. After you get comfortable with this start adding
turns durning your decent. You can't get to many hours of this type of practice. You
need to have a vary good feel for your plane before you get to wild close to ground.
Have fun and good landings! stolmaster

01-05-2003, 01:19 AM
Heck, sometimes I make several practice stalls like that at altitude just so I can get back down on the 2 mile hunk of pavement my airplane calls home. (Damn I hate concrete).

01-06-2003, 12:19 AM
Cub Couper,
What tires you running?

01-06-2003, 01:25 AM
Thanks, guys!

Oh, I'm not just getting started. I'm just trying to get better.


01-06-2003, 01:59 AM
Just made the first step up from my 8.5x6's... put on 26" Goodyears just before Christmas. (I have to wait until I win the raffle to move up to Bushwheels :) ).

I haven't had much chance to practice with the 26" tires yet. I can tell a difference, but haven't worked out what it is yet. After I mounted them I did a half dozen landings on a nearby gravel-and-turf strip -- liked the way they felt. Have only done a few landings on concrete with the new tires but they seem a little more grabby. Might just be me though(?)... I've been down for maintenance for awhile and I need to do a lot more flying before I can judge the difference.

01-06-2003, 01:12 PM

That is why I asked...hating pavement with 8.50's is one thing but landing w/ anything larger than 24" can really accelerate this hateful relationship!
What you are noticing as grabbing is correct--obviously the more tire surface the more friction. Landing on pavement w/ 31" tires (something I try and NEVER do...!) is even that much More "grabby". What you will also start to notice is a little less ground stability, esp. if you are runnning the tires low pressure--i.e. you take-off from a real rough strip and have to land on pavement--the airplane will be more difficult to handle on the ground, and even more in gusty winds or crosswinds.
Also, with the real big tires, braking (w/o booster brakes) will be more inefficient, because of the greater torque of the larger tire.
I believe in God, and in the Bushflying World, Pavement is His antithesis--The Devil! :evil:
It is horrible for the tires and difficult to control in weird winds.
Just some things to think about...

01-06-2003, 01:29 PM
When no one is looking, I'll usually opt for "outside edge" of the runway. Unfortunately they've doing doing a bunch of construction at my airport and everything outside the runway lights is as rough as a fresh planted corn field. The airport manager has a rep for doing everything he can to discourage "little" planes... hence the millions he has spent putting in a 10,000' runway to load the ramp with deisel burners. I don't think he is planning on smoothing out the grass for me.

Speaking of landing on furrowed fields... suppose one had to set it down in corn field. My assumption is that you would land with the rows (guessing that crossing them would tear out the gear in nothing flat). Would a plan be to stick at least one main and the tailwheel into the ruts and hang on?

01-06-2003, 01:37 PM

Having been associated with this manuever, I can tell you that you don't want to go cross-row in a freshly bedded field even with 47" BushMonsters. It may be a little squirelly if your wheels don't fit the row pattern, but they sure as heck don't fit going crosssways.


01-06-2003, 01:59 PM

Being from Alaska, I have never had the option to land in a cornfield, I would have to be a ways from home to do so...:P
However, it would make sense to land with the ruts--I don't know how big the burms are but I would think that if you landed crossways you would risk losing your gear and more likely nose over when you slowed down--but if the dirt was real soft you would probably nose over anyway landing with the ruts...? Nosing over isn't so bad if that is your only option--better than the other options for sure!

Steve Pierce
01-06-2003, 02:04 PM
I have a friend that races a White Lightening at Reno, it's one of those plastic go fast airplanes. He can tell you what corn sounds like when its hitting that composite wing going real fast.

01-06-2003, 02:06 PM
Do they have row crops in Texas, Murph? Just this past week I tried out my Bushwheels on corn and bean stubble going crossrow.........I've done it in the past with my 8:50's but that really tests the bungees. The Bushwheels make for a fairly nice ride........pretty much all the shock is going to the tires. If you have to land in these type fields and have a strong xwind you are better off landing crossrow into the wind......the rows sometimes tend to grab, kinda like heavy slush on car tires. I landed crossrow on a chisel plowed field on skis years ago.......but that is another story.......don't do that.

01-06-2003, 02:47 PM
How deep are the ruts/rows in said cornfield? I've landed in a potato field to water the plants...but the ground was pretty well frozen...

01-06-2003, 03:22 PM
Depends how they are planted and the row width but most in the midwest are landable crossrow after harvest in the fall. Corn is a bit rougher because of the crown root system. Don't get me wrong..........I land with the rows when the wind is right. but I wouldn't shy away from crossrow landings. I do get a little concerned on the corn though because jumping across rows may put your tires in more jeopardy of a puncture, where going with the rows once the tire is down it rolls over the stubble. If it's too rough you will know in a couple of feet and can go around. I guess, Andy, it's kinda like me asking how big can the boulders be or how soft are the mud flats? It's always fun to try new areas.

01-06-2003, 04:16 PM
I landed an Ag Truck in 12 ft. high corn once. Harvested about 15 acres of corn before it stopped. The only thing that touched the ground was the prop then the tailwheel as it crashed back down. Kinda pulled the left wing back about 20 degrees. Other than that it was real smooth.


01-06-2003, 04:28 PM
LOL Murph...........how did the takeoff go?

Gary Reeves
01-06-2003, 06:41 PM
Since this has slipped into story telling - remember way back when we were talking about not worrying so much about landing short , but getting back out?

If you absolutely have to land short and will worry about how to get out later,think about a bounced wheel landing with brakes full on. Land hard and bounce with the binders on and then let go- of the brakes - before you hit again and full stall it. It will be a one bounce stop and the shortest you can imagine. I have only done it on ice and soft gravel. I figure that harder surfaces will cost in tires or props.

I'd rather not go into how I did my first one.

Now, Jerry, if you really want to get back off fast, hit a hard drift you could not see because of whiteout, right after you get your tail up.


01-07-2003, 12:06 AM
Wayne Mackey and a few of the guys from Anchorage may remember the days when we used to jump over to the knik mud flats or cross the inlet by hope and hunt ducks in the really crappy weather where know one else was flying (specially the fur and feathers?? well, while were telling on each other, I will refresh myself of a real fun time: the knik/susitna mud is a blue clay that is like nothing else in the world, worse then quicksand and it gets a 30ft tide twice a day ( I will post some pictures) the tidal flats have a few areas where you (used) to be able to land a cub and get some good duck hunting when the weather forced the migrating ducks down--I had not landed at my 'favorite spot in a couple of years', but being "real good" I just set her down in the grass right next to what was left of my blind--well the grass swallowed up the cub and the world turned GREEN I could see nothing so I just held on and when we stopped it was amazing! the grass was just about even with the airbox and the Red/ white cub was now slime green--It took 2 days with a machette to hack out a spot large enough to get out--must have taken a week to get the airplane to return to red and white!! You can't imagine the crap I took when I landed back at Birchwood Airport!

By the way I did not have a chance to hunt!


Steve Pierce
01-07-2003, 08:56 AM
The hunting wouldn't have been as memorable as machetteing your way out and cleaning green slime. Sounds worse than cleaning cow patties from under the wings and giant grasshoppers from the cowling.

01-07-2003, 11:38 AM
trust me I look closer now at the places I want to land! Just how big are those TX grasshoppers (I am told they will dent the leading edges?


01-07-2003, 08:24 PM
Hey Tim, you know them Texans. Everthing they got is bigger including those grasshoppers! And the cow patties are bigger in texas too. Have you seen the horns on those cows. Must be a byproduct of inbreeding. Just Kidding steve, but every so often I like to get some licks in on the texans. You know I'm married to one of them. She gets to talking about how great texas is and then I ask her why she went to Colorado (AKA:Gods country) to find a husband. She must have something against cowboys,,,come to think of it she is a Bronco fan. Latter. Scott

Steve Pierce
01-07-2003, 09:11 PM
Thet won't dent the leading edges but some years they eat everything that is green. It's almost like the plague. As for cowpatties, they just make a mess. A buddy of mine has a bunch of those long horns. Buddy you better watch yourself when you go to feed em. Those horns go everywhere, you feel like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

01-07-2003, 11:16 PM
My windshield and oil radiator get pretty packed w/ mosquitos and black flies every summer--and seagulls and swallows can sometimes pose a collision problem. I almost hit a swallow one time at over 8K feet coming down out of a sheep strip--that bird must have been on the chase of his life for that poor little bug he musta been after...
But anyway, Texas ain't got nuthin on Alaskan Mosquitos. :P

01-11-2003, 04:57 AM
Grouse scare the crap out of me. They nest along the openings where I land and when I take off, they fly right out in front of me when I'm about 5 feet off the ground. VERY high pucker factor.

I also dodge water fowl all summer, some real close calls.