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Short fields
short fiels
St Paul Airlines Special Operations presents:
Short Fields Tours, Bush & VFR flying

Your starting point for new adventures is Mezza Petaluma short field (California)


NORTH WEST USA Short Fields Round Robin
For our bravest bush pilots, I propose the “Very short airstrip North-West USA Round Robin”. It was certainly a real challenge to design a comprehensive tour including exclusively the shortest airfields, ranging from only 800 to 1’600 feet long.  Furthermore, the whole tour is made of short hops of about 30 minute’s flight each, making it easy for anyone to find the time to have a go.

Our departure airport is Mazza Petaluma airfield in the San Francisco (Ca) area.
The only question now is: have you got the guts to face up this experiment?

All pilots who will complete all the legs of a "short fields Round Robin" will have their name entered in the Special Operations Hall of Fame and receive an award. Just inform me when you have completed the last leg by sending me the date of flight for each leg. Your automatic flight sim log will keep the record...

Short Fields technique


Operations at an airstrip where you don’t see the strip from far out requires that you make some simple calculations. In the backcountry we don’t often use the 3-degree glide path; rather, a 4- to 5-degree approach angle provides better obstacle clearance and a better sight view for making timely glide path adjustments. If, for example, we decide to use a 4-degree angle, then we should be 400 feet above the runway at 1 mile from the threshold. If the airstrip cannot be seen until one-half mile out, you should be 200 feet above the runway. And if you can’t see the approach end until arrival on a one-quarter mile final, you should be 100 feet above the runway surface.
To achieve a 4.5-degree approach angle, multiply the ground speed (in knots) by 8 to obtain the rate of descent in feet per minute. While maintaining the approach airspeed, adjust the power to obtain the rate of descent and align the windshield mark with the aiming point on the runway.


Airspeed control

If I had to list only one problem that plagues students during a short-field landing it would be the lack of airspeed control. A mere 10-percent increase in approach speed equates to a 21-percent increase in landing distance. Ten percent might not sound like a lot, but where the normal approach speed is 60 knots, it takes only 6 knots to increase the landing distance substantially.


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Copyright Yoland Grosjean - Special Operations manager - St Paul Airlines Virtual Revised in 2015

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