A few of the NH16 “locals” and friends were planning to meet at Plymouth, MA (KPYM) for lunch. I wanted to do a bit more than just fly down to some long pavement and back, so Isaac and I left early to hit a few grass strips on the way. First stop was Crow Island where owner Rob Albright and a few of the locals were enjoying the nice weather. Next I stopped at Myricks, a strip next to a lake, Bulljump, a spot I have no name for, Peter’s Perch (“The Cranberry Bog”), “The Ultralight Strip” and finally Plymouth.
The lake strip is orthogonal to the edge of the lake. The approach is done over the water with a small berm between the water and the runway. The length is about 900 ft. This was an easy landing, taxi to the far end, turn around and take-off.
Bulljump has a narrow slot in the trees that turns a 1500 ft runway into more of a “short 1000 ft” one. The approach over the cranberry bogs and through the slot was full of gusts and wind-sheer. After landing over the narrowest of the branches, I taxied back and parked in the middle to see just how narrow it was. Last time we where in there, none of us quite dared to go through the slot at speed and didn’t get around to taxiing in it. I found a foot or two on each wing tip. …and not in a straight line. The owner stopped by to chat and was happy to have people using his strip. On departure I took off through the tight spot and didn’t notice any loud noises over the sound of the O-540.
The “I have no name” and Peter’s Perch strips are long so I just did quick stop-and-go’s on each of them without even bothering to taxi back to the start of the runways.
One thing I’m not yet good at is judging runway length from the air by just looking at it. If I needed to estimate a runway length, I’d need to do a time*speed estimate. The first time I saw “The Ultralight Strip” it looked like it was about 500 ft long to me. I was a bit incredulous when told it was 1000 ft. 500 ft would require that I be on top of my game. 1000 ft is a casual walk in the park. Under favorable conditions I use 300-500 ft. When the plane is loaded and the wind is trecherous I use 700-800 ft. …perhaps 900 ft if it is night and trecherous. The first time we only did a fly-by and didn’t land. When I got home I pulled up Google Maps and measured the length. …yup! It’s 1000 ft! Nothing to worry about. This time I knew ahead of time what I was dealing with and that it was well within my abilities with the Bearhawk. Results? Down and stopped in 400 ft with a light to moderate and shifting cross wind.
All of my landings this day were in the 400-550 ft range, depending on obstacles and winds. With all the “fun strips” done, we headed to Plymouth to meet friends for lunch. We didn’t know that one of them was arriving in his Waco biplane which Isaac enjoyed getting to sit in. After lunch we headed to Grammie’s for a short visit and to refuel the airplane.