Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

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Lommer
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Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by Lommer » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:22 pm

Hi all, I was watching videos on youtube when I caught this one of an Aussie P-51 doing a gear up landing. He couldn't get any of the gears to come down, so he burned off fuel while emergency services prepared; then belly-slid it in on the grass. The apparent lack of damage is amazing, which got me to thinking, why don't pilots with gear failures belly-land on the grass more often? On a single with the prop fx'd this would seem to be even preferable to landing on one main and the nose gear, or sans nose gear. Even on a twin would (maybe) saving one prop from impacting the ground be worth landing on two gears on pavement?

It seems like a good option to me - no sparks off the concrete and (maybe) less airframe damage. What am I missing?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze2nEipD ... re=related
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AuxBatOn
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by AuxBatOn » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:37 pm

A good reason not to land on the grass is the fact that grass isn't usually level and even, as opposed to a concrete runway. If your aircraft has a higher landing speed, it might make it thumble around.

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sissyphus
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by sissyphus » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:09 pm

Insurance companies may not insure you if you take action against the checklist.
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It's the Pitts
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by It's the Pitts » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:43 pm

This is a good question. Some peoples thinking behind this idea is that if you land on turf you don't know what is there for certain eg. drainage systems, ect. As for landing on the runway, you know that it's level and clear. In the event that you needed to have a fire put out, the fire trucks would be following you and would be able to drive right up to you and hopefully put it out saving your life.

Pitts :lol:
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tired of the ground
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by tired of the ground » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:50 pm

As soon as you have an emergency you no longer own the aircraft. Once you decide you have an emergency the insurance company automatically buys the aircraft; That's what all that paperwork you had to sign was, a purchase agreement for a possible later date. At the end of it all, you then have the option to buy back the aircraft for zero dollars. If you no longer appreciate the condition of said aircraft, insurance will purchase you another one.

If you ever call an auto insurance company to tell them that you were in an accident, the first thing they will ask is if everyone is alright. They couldn't give a crap personally, they just know it's way cheaper to fix metal than flesh.

All this is a roundabout way of saying F_ck the airplane and save your ass.
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The Mole
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by The Mole » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:56 pm

Minimize the deceleration trauma.
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by . ._ » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:45 am

I wish I could land that smooth WITH wheels!

Looks like a job well done, all things considered.

-istp :smt023
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bmc
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by bmc » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:20 am

istp wrote:I wish I could land that smooth WITH wheels!

-istp :smt023
You seem to be able to walk away from them and log onto Avcanada.
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bobcaygeon
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by bobcaygeon » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:51 am

Metroliner AFM specifically recommends not landing on grass as historically it causes more damage.
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groundtoflightdeck
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by groundtoflightdeck » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:54 am

"As soon as you have an emergency you no longer own the aircraft. Once you decide you have an emergency the insurance company automatically buys the aircraft"
Not sure about this... are you suggesting that if I have an engine flame out for some reason and declare an emergency, the insurance company owns the aircraft? I think the insurance company buys the aircraft when you make a claim and they agree with the paper work before that- I've seen plenty of aircraft in dsitress make it to the ground just fine.

On the subject of gear unsafe landings, our AOM says that its "preferrable" to land with the available gear rather than a belly landing
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foxmoth
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by foxmoth » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:17 am

some afms recomend runway, avoid grass.
2 feathered props support aircraft weight most of the run, stops amount of damage. props could dig into turf, flip plane. Amazing results, if done right. Worry about all else once your ass is safe on tthe ground.
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2R
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by 2R » Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:11 am

Most retractable aircraft especially mooneys /piper arrows have skid plates .And will slide nicely on pavement to a nice slow decelerated stop .The big danger of landing on grass is digging in on one side and the rapid shock loads impossed by a sudden stop on the airframe which may be transferred to the occupants with fatal results as most people do not have boxers necks and you may just break your neck in the spinning stop .
That guy done great job landing .But if a wing dropped it may have had a different ending .The grass may have less friction than the pavement but the danger of digging in i would prefer the slow slong slide on the runwway as there is less chance of rapid changes in direction and the loads impossed on the human frame by the shock loading .The body can withstand quite afew G's if applied slowly but rapid g loading is often fatal .
Most deaths in Spits/Hurricanes were on take off and landing on grass fields in WW2 . Snag a field drain your next meal may be through a tube if you are lucky.
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Doc
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by Doc » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:34 am

"Grass" tends to grow on turf. Dirt. etc. With the wheels are up, "things" that don't normally come in contact will. These "things" hanging down tend to dig into turf, causing a whole bunch of damage, while pavement just tends to "file" them smooth.
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Lommer
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by Lommer » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:23 pm

12 excellent responses that more than adequately answer my question - this is why I read avcanada.
Thanks guys.
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tired of the ground
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by tired of the ground » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:52 pm

groundtoflightdeck - I was just telling it in simple terms. People tend to think about the aircraft as "THEIR" aircraft and they have to save "THEIR" investment because it will cost "THEM" so much money if they prang something. Really what I was saying is that you should do whatever is necessary to save lives/prevent injury and not worry about the condition of the aircraft.

People talk about feathering both props and popping the starter until the props are horizontal if they are going to gear it up. While they are so concerned with saving 60g's worth of engine overhaul they destroy the aircraft and kill people. This is why I say that the insurance company now owns the aircraft. If people are now not worried about their pocketbook because the insurance will take care of it they won't try ridiculous things to save the aircraft and will just do what is safest for the pax.
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Four1oh
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by Four1oh » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:30 pm

I was taught that the grass will tear the bottom off your plane, and the runway will only make skid marks and some sparks.
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RatherBeFlying
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by RatherBeFlying » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:55 pm

By landing on grass wheels up, you're making a big bet that no part of the airframe will get snagged by a soft spot, groundhog hole, drain... then dig in and cartwheel or noseover the aircraft with concommitant danger to life and limb of the occupants.

Glider pilots do sometimes choose to land out gear up because the wind or field length compels landing across ditches or furrows, but they're lighter, don't usually have bits dangling below that might snag on something and can get down to around 25 kt. in ground effect before touchdown.
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Lurch
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Re: Gear up landings - why not try the grass?

Post by Lurch » Thu May 08, 2008 9:26 pm

i think he would have been better off on the runway

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