STOL plane landing on ultralight strips

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Dear Mr. Greenspun,
I found strange plane. The Katmai-260SE. Basically it's a heavily
modified Cessna 182 with canards. The web site says it can stop in 400
feet. It would be interesting, then alot of the small ultralight
airfields would open up. Advertised approach speed is 55 knots.
Would you as a safety minded pilot land one of these regularly on a
700 feet field?

Somsak W.

-- Somsak Supakit, July 23, 2008


I would take a Robinson R44 instead of the C182 and land in 50' at an approach speed of 0 knots.

Guys in Alaska land C182s and C206s on very short gravel bars and such all the time. Of course, they also have more than their share of landing and takeoff accidents.

I wouldn't land any airplane on a 700' field. If I had a lot of training and an airplane capable of very slow flight, I might try to build proficiency at landing on a 700' runway with clear approaches at both ends. This is more or less what the Alaska guys do. They are flying in a treeless wilderness and approaching over a river so they don't need to clear any obstacles but just stabilize the plane on a shallow slow approach to the touchdown zone.

-- Philip Greenspun, July 23, 2008

Somsak, I fly a C182 with Vortex generators here in Arizona. I practice landing short, just for the day when the engine gives up the ghost. I flew bush in Alaska through the 80's. Yes, gravel bars and beaches etc. were used for landings. The number of incidents makes it hard to justify though, outside Alaska. (I know back country pilots from Idaho will probably take me to task on this one.) As was mentioned, if you really need to get into a small space, use a helicopter. Because getting out is going to be exciting.

-- Nick Cain, July 29, 2008