what airplane for grass airfield operation

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we consider to get syndicate of owners for 4-6 place single piston
(for start) airplane for VFR/IFR flights for flights 500-800km, with
anti-iceing but operating it out of 800m grass airfield. People
questioning ability of Cessna 350/400 and Cirrus due small clearence
of propeller, but I could not find anything on their web about it.
any recomendation or experience about others like Piper etc? thanks
for help. tibor

-- tibor fx, June 10, 2008


None of the planes that you mention are certified for flight into known icing conditions. I don't think any of those planes are good on short fields. Probably something like a Cessna 182 would be a good choice.

-- Philip Greenspun, July 8, 2008

Tibor, to answer your question below... The latest Cirrus has more prop clearance. It is probably sufficient. I've landed the SR20G2 (older model) on high quality grass strips and still have the original prop/engine so obviously it can be done.

You're using the POH data to decide whether or not you can operate the airplane out of a given runway? Remember that airlines don't dispatch to any place unless they can land in 60 percent of the available runway. So if the book says you need 1800' (test pilot on his best day ever), the airline would insist on a runway at least 3000' long. Do you think that all of your owners are better pilots and more consistent than airline crews?

-- Philip Greenspun, July 8, 2008

thanks for view, I am not aiming at known icing, just to have protection when flying spring/autumn when got into nasty weather accidentally. From data provided by Cirrus/Columbia it seems 800m runway should be fine for landing/take-off over 15m obstacle, does your comment means I should not believe them and reality will be more disapointing? I was rather worried about possible propeller damage by hitting ground on roll on grass bumpy surface when full loaded plane and bit wet runway. It is issue for Cirrus as we know but wondering if 350/400 could be any better.

-- tibor fx, July 8, 2008

You might want to look at the bonanza. I am a devoted Mooniac (just so you know this isn't coming from a Beechead) but in your situation, that is what I would look at.

Here is the rub on the fixed gear glass planes - you will lose a good amount of performance when you take off the wheel pants. The Bo's are commonly used on grass fields that are reasonably well kept. The gear is solid enough for the job.

If you must have fixed gear, then traditional Cessna or Piper would be better buys IMO than the glass planes (once again, not biased here, loved my DA40). I say this because I think you will get better value out of them because their main selling points are not speed (which you lose when you take off the wheel pants).

-- Eric Warren, July 15, 2008

How good is the Grass field? is the question you should be asking. The rougher the field the more likely a tail wheel airplane is best. Soggy, Ice-snow are other questions? C-180, C-185, Beaver, Turbo-Beaver and Pilatus Porter are all good VFR airplanes in this regard. If you do settle for a C-182, C-206 or other nosewheel airplanes; pay particular attention to the engine mount y welds to the nosewheel strut and the firewall for damage in operation. A price to pay for having a nosewheel airplane in soft -field operation.

Good luck

-- Ron Goes, August 24, 2008