Your connection with the sky

Shorts and Softs

Yesterday was all about the short and soft field takeoffs and landings.  Although they are not used very often, its always a good idea to follow the Boy Scout's motto to "be prepared".  You never know when you might have to put the plane down in a tight space or a turf strip.  Having the skills to safely land the airplane at unusual airports can help in an emergency instead of creating one.  I made sure to leave extra early so I could brush off the snow that had fallen the previous night.  After brushing off all the snow and preflighting, we departed runway three to remain in the traffic pattern for the next hour.  The first takeoff and landing we did was normal just to get used to the winds and conditions.  The runway and taxiways had not been plowed yet and were pure white.  We made sure to land more short as our braking effectiveness was greatly decreased.  Next 2 takeoffs and landings were short field.  The objective of short field takeoffs and landings is to get in the air and climb over an obstacle as soon as possible.  On takeoff, you start at the very end of the runway, hold the brakes, push the throttle all the way in, and release the brakes.  When you reach 50 knots, you pull up and climb at a steeper than normal angle.  When landing at a short field, you approach at a slower than normal speed causing you to sink a little faster.  The rest of the landings is just about the same.  After the shorts we moved to the softs.  The objective of soft field takeoffs and landings is to keep the weight of the airplane on the wings rather than the tires.  Soft fields (especially in bad weather like rain) can get so saturated that the weight of the airplane can actually cause the plane to sink and get stuck.  Even though you shouldn't be flying in conditions like that, pilots still need to be prepared.  When you taxi, the control wheel is held all the way back as to keep some weight off of the nose wheel.  Also when you taxi, you are not supposed to stop moving.  This also prevents the plane from becoming stuck.  Landings are the same as normal landings.  We practiced one more soft field and one more short field takeoff and landing and then called it a day.  After he signed my logbook, we went over what the next weekend was going to be like.  Next weekend starts my cross-country portion of my training and let me tell you, I am quite excited.  Sometime this week, I will be planning a cross country trip somewhere 50 miles away from Westosha.  When I have my plan I will make sure to post it.  Thanks for reading everyone!!!

-Evan Krueger

One Response to “Shorts and Softs”

  1. The last time I did a BFR in my Archer II I made a full flap, nose high touchdowns at minimum airspeed. The young CFI in the right seat asked if I always made soft/short landings.

    I said yes because I was the one buying the tires. With this technique, I usually got 1200 - 1500 hours on the main tires.

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