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Thread: landing with big tires on water

  1. #81
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I have read most of this thread. The best thing about aviation is the diversity, what keeps me jazzed would be seen as clown like behavior to more then 99.% of the flying pilots or general public. I see what aerobatic pilots do and go these guys are amazing (lots say there crazy and a few die from time to time). The challenge is what keeps me out there practicing, I don't want to wreck my airplane anymore then the next guy. I go over poor decisions in my head for days afterwards. I don't stop doing what brings me joy. I don't carry insurance and I rarely carry passengers. I don't care much about the rules for landing off airport. I don't plan on changing what I do because anyone out there says I am a nut, dangerous or a poor example. If you want to know what it takes to land on water and get good at it, it's probably poor judgement. If I was a guide in Alaska I probably could go my whole life and never use the technique. Would I? Heck no, it is to much fun. I don't see my airplane as a pickup truck or tool it's my fourwheeler/ atv / dirt bike and I never owned anyone of them without dinging it either. It may look like fluff to alot but there are rules that I live by when landing on water. I think anyone interested in learning the rules should have access to them.
    I would give more information but I think you really have to learn it on your own. I will give some bacis ones for someone starting out that is not afraid to wreck there plane if things go wrong.

    Disclaimer: You screw the pooch from anything I every say don't call your lawyer blaming me- information I give is mostly B.S. with a few facts thrown in for good measure!

    Beginners Rules:

    1. Never land down river into the wind.
    2. Land up river whenever possible even if there is a tailwind.
    3. When learning this technique start on calm wind days (no more then 2-3 mph wind) preferably none.
    4. Once on the water it is groundspeed not airspeed.
    5. Like any glassy water (lakes) it is the most sticky and will bog the airplane down the fastest so rivers are the place to start.
    6. Use a gps for ground speed. I would give the speeds to start at but I don't want a law suit.

    I can tell you that I have scared myself a few times on the water and if you are going to try to do it bad things can happen, So don't start on a lake that is 20 feet deep and get to slow. Start in a river that is 6" deep, you can flip your airplane in 6" of water also so don't let this give you a false sense of security. You just won't drown.

    Greg

  2. #82

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    Cubflyer, I am really puzzeled trying to figure out what you are driving at..

    "and although it seems to be a bit of challenge, would welcome some like you to our party."

    Why would it be a bit of a chellenge? Do you think that I am not already one of the Cub pilots type?

    The trouble with the internet is you sometimes can't figure out what people are trying to say.

    C.E.

  3. #83
    54tw's Avatar
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    Greg, my thanks to you and Lonnie for sharing your adventures with us via your DVD. Though it's not marketed as an instructional video, I learned a lot.

  4. #84
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Greg, thanks for your comments - it puts the whole thing into better perspective. For me, I can't imagine doing that on purpose - looks WAY too scary for this kid. Thirty-some years ago I went down in water immediately after takeoff from a beach, due to a downdraft - I was carrying full power (such as it is in a T-Craft, and the tires were 8.00 X 6) to the bitter end, but the bitter end was upside down in the water. It was wading depth, and I was able to rebuild the plane, but it scared the living dickens out of me and I really have no desire whatsoever to put my tires on the water again! Of course I've thought about it a lot, and I have a couple questions:

    1. Is it actually possible to shorten one's distance on the gravel? If so, how much? Looking at your video, it looks like it may be more about being on the ground exactly at the water's edge, but with flying speed?

    2. If you feel your tires getting draggy (sinking in) how much opportunity do you have to add power and speed up? I suspect very little?

    3. What is the minimum tire size for cub-size airplane?

    4. Maximum weight and minimum HP?

    These are curiosity/interest questions - no way do I have the nerve to try it!
    Gordon

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    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  5. #85

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    I know I shouldn't ask this but what the hell Greg you offered the advice so...

    " Use a gps for ground speed. I would give the speeds to start at but I don't want a law suit. "

    At what point in the water skiing manouver do you use the GPS to check your ground speed, on final...before the flare....as you touch the water...while you are skiing?

    I am interested in this bit of advice seeing you offered it.

    And I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm just courious as I have never used a GPS for checking speed that close to the surface.

    Chuck E.

  6. #86
    cubflier's Avatar
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    Challenge

    Chuck E - You are way off the mark. It was your retort to my post where you referred to us as the "he man group called Bush pilots" and the following comments that prompted the use of the word "challenge" in my comment:

    "aside from the obvious issue of wheel equipped aircraft not being legal to deliberately land on water, exactly what great skill is really needed to hydroplane on the water?"

    "We all have to make our own judgment choices when flying, me I am of the opinion that attempting to land a wheel airplane on the water is stupid."

    "Anyone who deliberately lands a wheel equipped airplane on water is demonstrating poor airmanship and even worse judgment."


    The challenge I was referring to would be to listen to you call us stupid and irresponsible even if that really is your opinion. We would do our best to endure this but could you forgive us if we thought your views are a bit out of place?

    Our (as in the group of pilots I hang around with) views are simple:

    We don't think of off airport flying as being something to be governed by rules and regulation or by the condescension of those that choose not to participate in our fun. No macho he man stuff and no attempt to judge your flying was implied.



    Take Care - Jerry

  7. #87

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    Thanks for your reply Jerry, no offense meant as everyone is entitled to do whatever they want to with their own airplane.

    I probably have formed my opinion on what not to do from having been in the bush flying game for many years and never had the desire to ski on the water with a wheel equipped airplane because if I felt the landing area was to short to land and take off on I did not land.

    For what ever it is worth I believe that Big wheels were first put on a Super Cub by a Canadian named Russ Bradley and I first flew one of his Super Cubs on big wheel conversions in the high Arctic in the 1960's. My main intrest when landing in such a remote place was landing and getting back out with the same airplane, in fact I used this thought process up there not only with the Super Cub but over the years on the Beech 18, DC3, DC6 and during the last years I flew off unprepared surfaces the Twin Otter.

    So for what ever that is worth I guess we will just have to use our own judgement in what we do with aircraft.

    I hope that sort of explains why I have my thoughts on this and also hope you hold no hard feelings, just because we think differently about this.

    Chuck E.

  8. #88

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    Let's put this into perspective, We land short in short places with Cubs. alot of the Supercub.org chatter is about this skill and challenge. How to lighten the plane, up the power, lower the stall speed, placement of VG's etc.

    A couple of guys make a DVD to show their take on the remarkable peformance they enjoy with their STOL aircraft and share it with us.

    What's there to criticize, its great cinema! some risk taking! very accomplished flying and good entertainment.

    Am I going to do it, probably not.

    Lighten up folks!! Enjoy the video for what it is, I don't think they could include any more disclaimers than they've shared and placed in the DVD already.

    And speaking of risky flying, career Alaska Bush Pilots, the statistics say you have a 12% chance of dying in your job over the length of your career. Maybe its safer to waterland gravel bars for fun!!

    Scott

  9. #89
    cubflier's Avatar
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    Chuck E -No offence taken here. Just glad to see duckhunter finally get the info he was after. Hope he didn't leave the blind.

  10. #90

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    " And speaking of risky flying, career Alaska Bush Pilots, the statistics say you have a 12% chance of dying in your job over the length of your career. Maybe its safer to waterland gravel bars for fun!! "

    That is an intereting statistic, but on the other side of that statistic is those of us who are in the remaining 88% and have managed to survive for over fifty years in this business...

    ..And we must also remember that Alaska is only one of many places on the planet where so called bush pilots earn a living, every place has its own set of problems terrain and weather From North America/ South America/ Africa/ PNG and on and on, hell B.C. where I live is pretty well the same as Alaska except for the very low temps during winter, however we do have the Yukon where it gets real cold. The lowest temperature I ever landed in was 64 below zero C. in Mayo , Yukon with a Gooney Bird.

    Anyhow its sort of interesting getting everyone to comment on their views about flying.

    Chuck E.

  11. #91
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I don't need the gps anymore for landing on water but I use to use it when I was learning the technique. I can actually feel what the water is doing around the tire, down into that risky business area. This takes practice and I am not going to post to much about this. It's learned and it comes with some risk but it can be figured out over time. When the wheel really stops hydroplaning you had better have something solid that your rolling up to or onto underneath. I get down below my stall speed when driving on the water so the wings are producing less lift then is needed for the airplane to fly. I would guess but have no reason to pull my wings off to prove it that it would do the same without them. My airplane is heavier in the tail which I believe to be an asset in water landing so supercubbers may need to proceed with more caution then I needed to in order to learn this technique. I have used water getting out and it works but you need to be at the hydroplaning speed otherwise it feels nasty, the airplane will feel like it decelerates when you hit the water. It has to be able to overcome this. I can get into gravel bars that there is no way to get back off of them even using water. If I have places I want to make a high bank strip or need to clear off all the crap on an existing strip I can do this using less then 30 ft of gravel bar in a lot of cases.

  12. #92

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    Have you noticed that the wheels will hydroplane better if you have the brakes on prior to surface contact?

    The reason I ask is because in the early sixties when I was flying Stearmans crop dusting a couple of our pilots used to water ski the Stearmans and they found holding the brakes on hepled to keep the wheels hydroplaning...sort of like on the runway hydroplaning with the brakes locked.

    I never tried it because one of my friends did not quite make it during one of his attempts at water skiing on glassy water, that was enough for me to get the message.

  13. #93
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I have tried both ways (brakes applied or not applied) and do not notice a huge difference either way. I do not have the brakes applied when I am doing it, I am always ready for a forward pitch during transition from water to firm ground. I am ready with controls(elevator), brakes or power what ever it takes to make it come out right. You can not master this in a weekend, some fluff takes longer then that .

    My guess is that I spend as much time landing in the water as landing on solid ground. So if I only fly once a week and do 40 landings & half use water of some sort that is 1000 landings a year and I have been doing the water thing for 3 years or so. I know this is a short time if someone has been flying for 50 years but I also know that I probably do more landings in one year then the average pilot may do in 10 or 20 years. There have been times in the last 3 years when I have flown 3 or 4 times a week (120-160 T.O. and Landings in a weeks time).

  14. #94

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    Mauleguy :

    The best method of learning and retaining any new motor skill is repetition in a short time frame.

    I use this method to reprogram Jet pilots back to hands and feet flying

    I have found the magic number to be 50 touch and goes using a low short three minute circuit, we train two pilots together. They each do 30 minutes ( 10 touch and goes ) and change seats.

    After fifty the motor skills and attitude judgement is burnt into their brain and easy to pick up further down the road.

    Chuck E.

  15. #95
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    After fifty the motor skills and attitude judgement is burnt into their brain
    I'm sure it takes more than 5 of these sessions to 'reprogram' a jet pilot.

    DAVE

  16. #96

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    Quote:

    " I'm sure it takes more than 5 of these sessions to 'reprogram' a jet pilot. "

    Actually I am amazed that it works, but there have been times I was worried.

    The hardest part is not the hands and feet reprograming it is the culture of needing SOP's to fly that is the problem, but eventually I manage to reprogram even that part of their brain.

    After a while they figure out that not all aircraft are a numbers game and they learn to drive the thing based on what they see outside the windshield.

    Chuck E.

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy
    I have tried both ways (brakes applied or not applied) and do not notice a huge difference either way. I do not have the brakes applied when I am doing it,

    Hmmm, interesting to hear that from somone who aparently does a bunch of this. I had always heard that you had to lock the brakes, And I've thought about it, and from a physics standpoint I can't see any reason why there would be a benefit to having the brakes locked.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy
    I get down below my stall speed when driving on the water so the wings are producing less lift then is needed for the airplane to fly. I would guess but have no reason to pull my wings off to prove it that it would do the same without them.
    Producing less lift, yes, but not producing *no* lift. You *might* be able to hydroplane without the wings, but intuitively it would seem that it would require a higher speed across the water than with wings.

  18. #98
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    You take the time to pull the wings off of your airplane and I will test it out. If it does not work I will buy you dinner and will call it good

    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy
    You take the time to pull the wings off of your airplane and I will test it out. If it does not work I will buy you dinner and will call it good

    Greg
    It better be a real nice dinner

  20. #100
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    Greg, aah... aren't your fuel tanks in the wings?
    I can't lay off on this one so here goes. Hydroplaning is a well understood science. It's a result of water not being compressible, that's why depth isn't an issue. Greg can hydroplane easily because his tires can support the plane with very low tire pressure. If his tire was flat it wouldn't hydroplane. Above hydroplaning speed he might just as well be rolling on pavement. Of course, he isn't rolling at all on water, he sliding, but the surface he's sliding on, from the tires perspective is just as hard.
    Anyway, it's probably not the best explanation, but as no one has talked about the science I thought I'd pitch in. My point is that just because someone biffed trying something doesn't mean the theory was bad. 35 inch Bushwheels are cutting edge technology. People haven't had access to tires that could support an aircraft with, what Greg, 4psi? So the old rules are not applicable anymore. Will people get hurt figuring this out? Probably, but we may learn a new way of getting our planes into cool places, and isn't that what all of this is about.

  21. #101
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    30" Airstreaks work just fine at 4PSI

    Water, Gravel, Tundra, Pavement(yikes).

    Just to throw a wrench in there, Jeff.

    DAVE

    People haven't had access to tires that could support an aircraft with, what Greg, 4psi?

  22. #102
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    I knew someone would throw something like that in. It's hard to make a point and not use examples.

    Are Airstreaks radials?

  23. #103
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    Radials? that's a pretty broad term if you want it to be.

    I do not think one would describe 'streaks as a radial tire. Anyone with intimate knowledge have input on that? I don't.

    DAVE

  24. #104
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    Tire pressure

    I run between 2.5 and 3 psi on the gauge, of course when measuring this low there may be some discrepancy.

    Greg

  25. #105
    hottshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins
    Radials? that's a pretty broad term if you want it to be.

    I do not think one would describe 'streaks as a radial tire. Anyone with intimate knowledge have input on that? I don't.

    DAVE

    The Airstreaks were just like the old Bias Bushwheel So yes they are a Bias Tire. Not a Radial

  26. #106
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    Greg - are you running your tires soft to cushion the impact with rocks below the surface and on dry land or to assist in hydroplaning? I would have thought that a real soft tire might produce more drag like an inflatable boat.

    Is Lonie running radial bushwheels? They came out with the radial the day after I bought the last new pair of bias 31's.

    Jerry

  27. #107
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    I use 2.5-3 psi for landing on the big rocks it also seems to help me stick it to the ground better. More pressure and these tires will bounce you back into the air.

    I am not sure if it is a benefit this low or not while hydroplaning. I have always ran them on the low side because I like the feel so all my water play has been at low pressure. I use to have 31" radials and they felt different and I spent a little time getting use to the 35" in the water. I can not tell you if they are a benefit for water landings as I am always pushing the envelope with my plane. What may have been crazy last year is common everyday play this year if that makes any sense.

    Loni also has Radials

  28. #108
    cubflier's Avatar
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    Thanks Greg - That was my assumption and low pressure doesn't appear to hamper any of your efforts. I went from Airstreaks to bias 31's. They are ok but seem to be a bit hard for running real low pressure. The take off resistance starts to add up significantly so I stay around 5-6 or so. I'm trying to wear out my bias ply so have a reason to go to radial but the darn things are too tough.

  29. #109
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    just another opinion on wheels and water

    I say to each his own. I've been flying in Alaska 28 years, had my own cub the last 21 years. I don't see a need to use water to land on a gravel bar- But, I think if a person realizes the risks involved and has the resources (money to through away in case) it can be done. Just depends on a lot of factors, have you scouted it on foot, pilots skill, particular airplane, how lucky your feeling that day, winds, water, sun, shadows, gravel bar ect. It's just like landing on a mountain to or hill side that looks bad but you have walked it on foot and know what is there. You just have to factor it all in and see if you think you really need to be there? 99% of the time the answer will be no. So I guess that just leaves it to pilots who are thrill seekers or want to hone their skills and do something different. As I get older it sounds/looks like fun but I wouldn't do it unless the gravel bar had a smooth transition from the water and the water was shallow (4-5 inches or less).
    Pete

  30. #110
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    Greg, Dave and the bunch,

    I think I can take credit for first showing Loni and Greg landing using water? Am I any good at it (not currently) but we used to land and take off using the water to a give us the room we needed (wanted) when I was flying in Alaska 30 years ago. (for me and most of us old farts, this technique was first done by accident (or should I say necessity) because either the tide came in on the beach or we just miss judged the room we needed to get the loaded cub airborne!!!

    Trust me guys both Loni and Greg have more practice doing this then most "bush pilots" do in their whole career.

    great Topic and a lot of fun with a cub if you are as Greg said willing to bend your "ATV".

    Tim

  31. #111

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    >The sum of the aerodynamic lift plus the hydrodynamic lift must equal the weight of the airplane.>

    Umh, shouldn't this read "The sum of the aerodynamic lift plus the hydrodynamic lift must equal the weight of the airplane plus the tail download" ?

  32. #112

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    Greg, I'm well aware that you are a better pilot than I ever was, or will be (I'm not being facetious, I'm indeed well aware that you are better). That said, I want to quibble about one thing. You said:

    1. Never land down river into the wind.
    2. Land up river whenever possible even if there is a tailwind.

    I think that might depend upon local geology. For about 17 years, on and off, I did search and rescue flying in a J-3, mostly around the Mississippi River and White River in the reaches south of Memphis, TN and north of Greenville, MS. On those two rivers in that area, the ripples and dunes on the bars and islands tend to have a sharp, abrupt sawtooth shape, so that if landing downriver, you'd jump off each dune unscathed onto the next one (like going off a ski jump). If landing upriver, you'd rip the gear off or nose over when you hit the 2 to 3 foot tall vertical sawtooth rises. Consequently, our rule of thumb was to land going downriver, no matter what the wind direction -- unless we were very familiar with that particular bar or island from having inspected it on the ground since the last high water.

    We also always landed on the dry sand rather than the damp sand near the water. On the Mississippi, the wet sand near the water tended to be quick on occasion, and you risked sinking into it.

    All the best,
    JimC

  33. #113
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    Hydroplaning speed

    I am staying away from the main topic, but do want to correct one comment.

    Christina Young wrote:
    NASA hydroplaning studies have shown a speed across the surface of at least 9 times the tire pressure (in knots) is required.


    The NASA formula for hydroplaning speed is 9 times the square root of the tire pressure. So if your car has 36 psi in the tires, it will hydroplane at 54 knots, or a little over 60 mph for a rule of thumb. If your Cub has a tire pressure of 6 psi, it will hydroplane at 22 knots. I'm not sure this applies to a river, as it is the speed at which a tire on a hard surface develops a nice lubricating film of water between the rubber and the road.

    I'll stay away from the river question, but do think it is worth noting that hydroplaning on a wet paved runway is a real issue with low tire pressure. Once you lose tracking ability, it is real hard to get it back. Trust the guy who has had it happen in very large airplanes! Note that weight has nothing to do with this-- it is strictly speed.

  34. #114
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    Re: Hydroplaning speed

    Quote Originally Posted by clouds
    The NASA formula for hydroplaning speed is 9 times the square root of the tire pressure. So if your car has 36 psi in the tires, it will hydroplane at 54 knots, or a little over 60 mph for a rule of thumb. If my Cub has 11 psi in the fat-boy tires, that works out to 30 knots. With 6 psi it is 22 knots.
    This formula was developed for a different use in mind. The low tire pressures we can use in Bushwheels the formula doesn't work out. I run my pressure down to 2.5 sometimes =14.23knots and I know you can't get that slow. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THIS FORMULA WORK!

    Greg

  35. #115
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC

    1. Never land down river into the wind.
    2. Land up river whenever possible even if there is a tailwind.

    You must use common sense, and if like you said you have 2 to 3 foot waves coming at you I don't think your going to use the water anyway either direction. That being said, this is a rule (number 1. & 2.) I would use if you are just getting into playing with landing on water. Always use common sense first!

    Greg

  36. #116

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    Fresh water is roughly 814 times denser than the standard atmosphere, and a cub has about 178 sq.ft. of wing area (say 800 and 200 for talking purposes). So for a given lift coefficient, 200/800 = 0.25 and about a quarter sq.ft. of tire would support the entire weight of the plane in the water. Much less tire area when the wings are helping.

  37. #117

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    >You must use common sense, and if like you said you have 2 to 3 foot waves coming at you I don't think your going to use the water anyway either direction. That being said, this is a rule (number 1. & 2.) I would use if you are just getting into playing with landing on water. Always use common sense first!

    I agree wholeheartedly about the common sense -- and I didn't say 2 to 3 foot waves, I said 2 to 3 foot dunes and ripples (ripples are a landform that occurs in silt, sand, and gravel). Wasn't talking about waves, was talking about the final part of the landing roll and the interface between land and water. There are a number of locations on the Mississippi where you simply cannot roll out or launch upriver, while you can downriver.

  38. #118
    Student Pilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aalexander
    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy
    I have tried both ways (brakes applied or not applied) and do not notice a huge difference either way. I do not have the brakes applied when I am doing it,

    Hmmm, interesting to hear that from somone who aparently does a bunch of this. I had always heard that you had to lock the brakes, And I've thought about it, and from a physics standpoint I can't see any reason why there would be a benefit to having the brakes locked.

    With brakes on at faster than landing speeds it's easier to keep the wheels planing. With the brakes off the wheels tend to spin up and the Aircraft tends to skip and not ski continuously. At faster speeds you can actually pole forward to keep the wheels on and the tail up.

  39. #119
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    I don't use the brakes while hydroplaning.

    Also, the main reason to:
    1. Never land down river into the wind.
    2. Land up river whenever possible even if there is a tailwind.
    ......is the concern that you must have enough water speed to keep the tires hydroplaning (you could call it 'boatspeed').

    If landing into the wind and downriver, the boatspeed will be low.

    The reason to land upriver is that the boatspeed will be higher.

    This is converse to what float pilots look for because on floats, the extra several MPH of boatspeed when adding river-current to the equation might mean the extra drag that keeps you from getting enough airspeed to get off the water. (in a T-crate or low-HP Champ, anyway......or a grossed-out Cessna, or Beaver I suppose, too).

    Seriously, there is no huge magic to hydroplaning.

    DAVE

  40. #120

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    Mar 2006
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    I’m no expert pursuant to skipping rubber across water however I have been around it a little bit. It’s my understanding that one ought to apply brakes prior to “impact.” If the wheels start spinning the hydroplaning propensity is greatly reduced and you can get sucked in VERY FAST. How many of you don’t apply the brakes?

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