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Thread: Landing in snow on wheels

  1. #41

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    I watched my dad lasso the tailwheel on his 170 once when I was really little. Nosed over in soft sand and stopped around vertical. I don't remember much about it but I thought the fact that he could lasso something was about the coolest thing I had ever seen. I'm sure he has different memories about it than me! Luckily we had friends with us to pull it back down.

  2. #42
    TVATIVAK71's Avatar
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    Many years ago…….in a far away place called Dillingham, AK at a period time when the the usual off airport tire was the 8.50x6 and racing slicks were common to see on planes and if you had the balloon 24” or 26” tire you were considered unstoppable. I really had no problem landing in snow of various depths and consistencies as long as I used some techniques to make it safer. There was an old local pilot named Dick Armstrong (second generation area pilot at that) that always seemed to have words of wisdom that fell on my young selectivity deaf ears. One day we were discussing wheels on snow and soft landing areas and methods. He was very adamant that unless you have a VERY good reason to do the wheels on snow off airport type ops with out knowing with certainty what lies beneath the white stuff. It’s just asking for trouble even if you do run or drag the tires to check it (i.e. beaches, mudflats and bars). I told him with all the advice him and some other seasoned pilots conveyed to me that I pretty much have that type of operation “dialed in”.

    Funny how you think you keep a clean plane by vacuuming and such. But once you turn them upside down there is sh&t everywhere. As well as learning about how tight a seatbelt should be just in case you have to hang from it. Man, I wouldn’t have hit that glare shield if I woulda had my harness tight as well as a cargo net to keep everything from getting dumped on the back of my head. That day had a very steep learning curve. It wasn’t a snow landing but a soft surface nonetheless. Real ELT ops and a ride in a cool helicopter. Yup, guess I had it all “dialed in”. LOL
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  3. #43

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    Tires and snow can make for the biggest snow angle you have ever seen.
    DENNY

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by sixmile View Post
    got to dig a hole for the nose to go into when you pull it over otherwise you can crunch a bunch of stuff
    like this
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  5. #45
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    I felt kind of stupid after asking this question in the original post, but there has been a lot of good discussion and comments. Thank you all.

    Tvativak71,..."Dickie Armstrong"'...that name brings up good memories. What a good guy. Lots of stories. And he would often tell them himself.

    Jim
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  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by sixmile View Post
    got to dig a hole for the nose to go into when you pull it over otherwise you can crunch a bunch of stuff

    As if you did not do any damage putting it on it's back in the first place.

    I had 6X6s with me on two rightings, place them out a foot or so under the blades. Then work the plane back over.
    I had to right a Waco cabin that went over, at first it looked good when I got started, soon I realized the engine mount was in pretty bad shape so I chose to remove the engine first. Then was able to roll the plane over pretty easy.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  7. #47

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    I've seen a lot of airplanes damaged more letting the tail fall back down after getting it vertical instead of walking it down easy.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    I've seen a lot of airplanes damaged more letting the tail fall back down after getting it vertical instead of walking it down easy.
    Saw them break a 195 in half like that. They didn’t want to take the cowl off and dig under the engine or put a rope going both ways. They grabbed the tail with an excavator and flipped it back over. Fortunately they listened and took the metal wheel pants and spinner off. Both were undamaged


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  9. #49

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    When pulling a small plane over by hand, an A frame from 2x4 is handy to run the rope over to both lift and arrest the set down.
    A 195 is a long plane to drop, fools.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    When pulling a small plane over by hand, an A frame from 2x4 is handy to run the rope over to both lift and arrest the set down.
    A 195 is a long plane to drop, fools.
    They picked it up by the tailwheel vertical and tried to swing the engine forward and back onto its gear. The fuselage buckled in the middle. They got it flipped over but did way more damage


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  11. #51
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    I like how this thread has progressed from the OP's question "how much snow can I land with tires", to various methods to upright the plane, after the question has been answered!

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    I like how this thread has progressed from the OP's question "how much snow can I land with tires", to various methods to upright the plane, after the question has been answered!
    Started with "should I try this" to " why did I try this"

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    I like how this thread has progressed from the OP's question "how much snow can I land with tires", to various methods to upright the plane, after the question has been answered!
    So I guess what everyone is trying to say is that 'landing in snow with wheels is fine, until it's not....'
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  14. #54

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    5” of snow.
    I knew I was in deep sh*t immediately on touchdown,
    full power and aft stick kept the tail down, managed to nurse it to a stop.
    Tried to pack a runway to depart but bush wheels have a mind of their own in snow and kept following previous grooves.
    I was able to lengthen the strip with each successive pass then did a full power luge run hoping I’d be air born before I hit the end of my tracks - which ended at a creek bank.
    I grew up in Northern Mn, think I’d know better..

    my first attempt to depart, following in my landing tracks, too much drag, aborted just shy of the ditch

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    parked and assessed things for a minute
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    Last edited by Oliver; 02-07-2022 at 05:54 PM.
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  15. #55

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    A quick follow up on last post:

    I did do a quick “drag” pass to test snow conditions, tire marks just visible in yellow circle.
    the proposed landing strip was a short one way due to a tall windrow of cottonwoods.
    I dragged at an angle to allow a go around. Snow felt powdery and lite.
    Couple lessons learned:
    Fresh snow on deep grass is a lot deeper than it appears due to the grass supporting snow pack.
    Surface was still powdery but heavy underneath due to relatively warm ground beneath.
    last takeaway, don’t land in snow on wheels.

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    Last edited by Oliver; 02-07-2022 at 02:22 PM.
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  16. #56
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    Gotta' pack those snow shoes for times like these

    Gary
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  17. #57
    TVATIVAK71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    I like how this thread has progressed from the OP's question "how much snow can I land with tires", to various methods to upright the plane, after the question has been answered!
    I don’t see a real definable answer to the question in past posts……4”,8-12” or 2 feet. Think it’s far from answered depending on experience and equipment. Not to mention changing snow conditions and underlaying terrain. But the common denominator to landing on snow contaminated (talking “how much can one get away with”) surfaces is sometimes stuff doesn’t go right. So how you gonna fix the problem you created. So I think it’s relevant.

    One thing I heard fellow pilots in the past say is that they are always spring loaded to full power and back stick to keep from nosing over in snow, sand, mud whatever. It might keep you from going over or might get you airborne if you have lots of power. I think it’s a good technique and something to think about. Has it worked for me. Yup, In various models of planes………till I joined the “Didn’t work that time club”. Nothing like being spring loaded in a low powered 8.50x6 aired down over sized tire equipped plane holding wheel in lap with full throttle and tail wheel barely kissing the sand as you feel the plane lurching hard trying to go over all while not accelerating.

    Other than my pride and the barrage of vocal Monday morning quarterbacking by my fellow air taxi pilots of my day off escapade it was a valuable experience in decision making.

    So what is the answer? Maybe we can all make a RCAM (Runway Condition Assessment Matrix) chart like we use on the Boeing to define can and can’t do. Get input from insured companies as well just to round it out.(Just kidding)

    My answer is do what ever you want based on ones own and others experience. Then except the outcome if it goes wrong. Then have a plan to recover.
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  18. #58

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    I keep almost replying, but then not taking the time. I will just add a couple things. First, if you can see the color of ice showing through the snow, then the snow is less than an inch deep. That can be managed with pretty much any tires. After scaring myself in my tripacer a long time ago, I figured that out and don't mess around unless I can at least see the dark ice through the snow.

    Second, don't land on sloped beaches with ice or snow on them. Have done that a few times, figured out that it is better to find a frozen lake and sort out the snow cover situation. Rollout when the plane is slipping sideways and there are chunks of ice that can take out a gear leg or tailwheel that you are sliding sideways toward is not an experience anybody needs. I got that experience without anything expensive happening, offering it here for free so you can learn from my free mistake and not repeat it yourself.

    Third, if you are evaluating snow surfaces, understand that the primary problem is the stopping. If you roll the tires at flying speed and don't let the plane slow down, it gives you a chance to feel the snow without committing to landing. If it feels like hordes of zombies are grabbing at the plane, fly away and don't go back. If it feels okay, go back and look at your tracks, then if it doesn't strike you as deep, run your tires in the same tracks again. If you do that a few times and reach the point where you are sure you have the tires down onto the hard surface, then maybe landing is an option so long as the snow is less than 4 inches. That is my personal limit for 31 inch bushwheels on a cub at work. I am sure it can handle more, but I don't feel any need to find out how much more.

    And the important thing is you should be asking yourself if you really want to be doing this. Snow and ice are infinitely complex surfaces. I learned a lot of this stuff by trial and error. I wouldn't recommend doing it that way.

    FWIW.
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by TVATIVAK71 View Post
    I don’t see a real definable answer to the question in past posts……4”,8-12” or 2 feet. Think it’s far from answered depending on experience and equipment. Not to mention changing snow conditions and underlaying terrain. But the common denominator to landing on snow contaminated (talking “how much can one get away with”) surfaces is sometimes stuff doesn’t go right. So how you gonna fix the problem you created. So I think it’s relevant.

    One thing I heard fellow pilots in the past say is that they are always spring loaded to full power and back stick to keep from nosing over in snow, sand, mud whatever. It might keep you from going over or might get you airborne if you have lots of power. I think it’s a good technique and something to think about. Has it worked for me. Yup, In various models of planes………till I joined the “Didn’t work that time club”. Nothing like being spring loaded in a low powered 8.50x6 aired down over sized tire equipped plane holding wheel in lap with full throttle and tail wheel barely kissing the sand as you feel the plane lurching hard trying to go over all while not accelerating.

    Other than my pride and the barrage of vocal Monday morning quarterbacking by my fellow air taxi pilots of my day off escapade it was a valuable experience in decision making.

    So what is the answer? Maybe we can all make a RCAM (Runway Condition Assessment Matrix) chart like we use on the Boeing to define can and can’t do. Get input from insured companies as well just to round it out.(Just kidding)

    My answer is do what ever you want based on ones own and others experience. Then except the outcome if it goes wrong. Then have a plan to recover.
    Call the chart " please a hero, not a zero today"

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  20. #60

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    Wonder how many Cubs have nosed over due to landing on snow with wheels on in past 10 years?

  21. #61
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    Too many. And it takes sooo long to get them back into shape.
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  22. #62
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    For winter fun? Find a hard packed, narrow, crowned runway that’s also short. Land on a near-freezing day with Bushwheels. That’ll test your rudder skills. Easy on the throttle because brakes don’t work and actually enhance slipping off the side. The things we do…. once!

  23. #63
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    I ride the slopes behind my place on a fat ebike with a front ski. It's educational to see how much, if any, the rear tire sinks in. Totally different not only from day to day, but hour to hour. I also ski fly these same slopes. .
    .
    Last edited by courierguy; 02-08-2022 at 02:53 PM.

  24. #64
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    Always increase your insurance hull value prior to landing in snow with tires.

  25. #65

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    Even better, how about not land on snow with tires if possible and instead invest in a set of skis for snow ops? Skis are much more fun than flying with wheels on snow!

    Too many photos of nose overs every year, and assume we are only seeing a small number. No one likes to share photos of nose overs.

    How much is a good set of skis for Cubs now a days?
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  26. #66
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    Tva71,
    Here is da man himself.....Click image for larger version. 

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    Actually saw Dick ding a plane back in 1980! Was following him into Shannon's Pd, in a Bristol Bay Lodge Beaver when he touched down on the pond and the Beaver he had fell down ontop of floats after the front cross wires broke .............. there it sit left wing sinking, in middle of Shannon's. He was out on right float, but jumped back in and got on radio and says , Sorry to mess ya up Earle, should be plenty of room to land behind me.....
    Apparently one of his pilots had flown it in the Bay the day before, and subjected it to some enormously heavy seas
    Obviously cracking the crosswires enough, that they broke on first trip out...... I think that pilot was on the Wein flight outta Dilly that evening.........
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 02-08-2022 at 11:28 AM.
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  27. #67
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    One time landed to pick up a yote in 2 inches of 38 degree snow. Landing in a cut wheat field the landing was intended to be on a gentle upslope aiding in the breaking. Would only be a short walk to the dog. So I make a nice touch down and hit the breaks with no appreciable slowing. Look outside and the wheels are locked and sliding along. I crest the hill and start down the other side which happens to have a gentle side slope. Now the plane starts to slide sideways coming to a stop 10 feet from the yote. Kind of like sliding into second base. Unfortunately nobody was there to witness this as I could have said I planned it that way.
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