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How short a field?



Let's talk about how much runway do you need to land. What is the shortest you have ever landed on? Let's here from all you other CT pilots. <br style=""> <br style="">


Here are some considerations for a short runway landing for a Flight Design CT and will differ from plane to plane and even from person to person. Landing at these short runways are at your own risk.


Many people in rural areas or overseas in the UK and Europe land in these distances on a regular basis. A challenge from our UK friends is what spurred me to practice and play with these short fields.


This question is really one that has a few different facets. For me it is 300m or 1000'. We need to look at a few things here, your own flying skills, training, runway condition, atmospheric conditions, aircraft landing configuration, approach and some good judgment when you do pick a short runway. Let’s not leave out our buddy the wind. Let's look at a few variables.

First what is the runway made of: asphalt, dirt or nice energy absorbing grass. Grass a little long would be best. Plus something to think about while you are sizing this up is how wide is it? Will it allow for a little error to the left or right, something to consider. What is on either end of this runway? Is it flat off the end of the runway or does it have tress? Can I make a flat approach or does it have to be steep due to obstructions on the ends. If only one end has an obstruction that steepens your approach then maybe the other end is a better choice to land.

Ok, here is a big item, your own personal training or practice time. When at longer runways practice and practice again hitting a specific target. Learn to set those wheels down just as close as possible to a pre-selected spot every time. Then pick a different spot and learn to hit that spot. This type of practice will always pay off especially if you ever have an engine out situation and need to land in a short distance. Most of us aren't going to have an 8K' runway below us if the engine ever goes out. If I was that lucky I would buy a lottery ticket. So when you approach this very short runway you will be able to set those wheels down in the first 10% or less of the runway and hit your exact spot. Remember any runway behind you is a waste of your runway and if you land too long may add to you pucker factor. Speaking of this pucker factor or being in the panic mode is the worst thing that can happen. When in the panic mode all logical and rational thought ceases. If you practiced like you play then you shouldn't have this problem because your mind will already be set up for this eventuality. So now you are practicing and it may be on a very long runway, but pick out two markers or the beginning of the runway to a marker to stop short by. Now what about the plane? Well landing at zero flaps and at 60 knots is not the best choice. The better choice is flaps at 30-40 and 50 knots. This will keep you slow enough to dump some of that energy quickly on approach and once you touch down. Those 30-40 nice big flaps are good air drag surfaces. Now for the approach, you will need to approach this particular short runway a little flatter on approach than you would normally tackle a nice long runway. A flatter approach, landing right at the beginning of the runway with 30-40 flaps at 50 knots should pretty much guarantee plenty of room to land. One little thing to look at in addition to this is, am I really heavy at max weight or do I weigh 150 lbs and only have half a tank of fuel and solo? This is less kinetic energy to stop. Know your brakes!! Do my brakes stop me well or do they fade with heat and I just keep coasting? Do I have to pump them. These are not conducive for short runways.


So we have looked at runway length, type of surface, flaps, speed, approach angle, brakes, weight and your skill level. Landing in 1000’ isn’t hard, but does put more demands on being a better pilot and setting yourself up for success early.


Then the inevitable happens! What if I’m too fast, too long, too high, bounce and too much brake or it just doesn’t feel right? Recognize these early!!!


Go Around!!!!



Try again and fix what might have been wrong with the first approach. Take as many approaches as necessary to get it right. Don’t sacrifice safety for your pride.


Practice, Practice, Practice. Hit your target and know your plane!




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