Oh the lure of a grass runway: One of GA’s Best Kept Secrets
One my favorite things to do is land on a nice grass runway. There is something about it that almost makes it seem like a guilty pleasure.
No TSA, no metal detectors, no sequestration-impacted-control-towers, and rarely any fences, and certainly no barbed wire! It is flying in the most organic sense of the word.
My first grass airport landing with in El Reno, OK. at Gibson Aviation. There’s a famous cylinder repair facility there and they have a runway right outside of their shop – as it should be. I had 137 hours in my logbook. My vessel was the veritable C-152 and I remember it well. Most of all I remember thinking how cool it was to fly an airplane like the pioneers did it so long ago.
- Less wear on tires and brakes
- Directional control is easier
- Touch down are smoother
- Stopping distances are shorter
- It’s cool! Eddie Richenbacker and the Red Baron did it that way
- If its an omnidirectional field you don’t have to mess with those pesky crosswinds
- Longer takeoff roll (more rolling friction)
- If it isn’t smooth, wear and tear on the aircraft
- Not always suitable for aircraft with less than robust undercarriages
- Depth perception can suffer due to lack of markings
- They can be hard to see depending on local terrain and/or direction of flight
- Lee Bottom, IN – 64I
- Broadhead, WI – C37
- Rough River state park, KY – 2I3
- Triple Tree, SC – SC00
- Johnson Creek, ID – 3U2
There are thousands of grass strips out there, many are unlisted afraid of the spectre of liability – thank you U.S. Court System!
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