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Thread: Advice for Beach Landings

  1. #1
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    Default Advice for Beach Landings

    I need instruction, or at least advice, on beach landings. What's the best way to tell if it's too soft from the air and any other gotcha's. I'll be flying a C-172 "Superhawk" with 8.5 X 6 tires all the way around. Was thinking of Montague, the Tsiu, Silver Salmon Creek to start. Although admittedly I've never been to any of them.

    Jeff

  2. #2

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    Silver Salmon Creek is a great beginner beach, it is wide, firm and flat and the north beach has a wind sock, and lots of bears to see and later on good fishing. There are people on here that will add pointers but I will cover the main issues as I know them, I fly multiple beaches every day on the west side. We currenly fly 206s on 8.50/10s but for one summer we flew them on 8.50/6s and didn't have that many more problems so you should be fine.

    1. Don't land within 100 yards of the mouth of a river or stream. The sand can get softer the closer you get
    2. Whoopty Doos are "speed bumps" that run perpendicular to the water line, you can usually see them easily from the air. They can cause a lot of trouble fast. You land skipping on the tops of them but as you slow down you will get to a speed that the bouncing can be quite dramatic (that speed varies depending on the depth and frequency of the whoops). I have known people that bent their tail cones into the rudder by hitting the whoops.
    3. When you go into an unfamiliar beach, drag it first, basically a very slow touch and go, to test the consistency of the beach, be ready to get on the power and get out at the first sign of anything that doesn't feel right.
    4. If you fly beaches you will eventually get stuck, period. bring a shovel.
    5. When turning around, make your turn up hill first and then turn towards the water. For example, if the water is on your right, turn to the left (uphill) first, when you have room turn to the right to finish. This way the tightest part of the turn is downhill, not uphill reducing the chance of getting stuck (see#4)
    6. The firmest part of the beach (usually not always) is the sand that has been wet most recently. It is obviously most easily found on outgoing tides.
    7. We will start taxiing uphill on roll out until the sand starts getting soft and then turn downhill, slightly (very slightly) tap the brakes and the tires will dig in so you won't roll downhill. This gets us high enough that other planes can land. It is really annoying when people land on beaches and leave the plane in the middle of the beach, making others do a landing over and obstacle (the plane). No matter what beach you are on leave space for others, they made need it to make an emergency landing.
    8. Use brakes very, very sparingly, some say don't use them at all, but that just isn't realistic.
    9. Some of the beaches we fly are fairly steep, on those beaches watch for winds blowing out to sea. You will be wing low into the wind as you land, but as your tires set down the lower part upwind wing will be exposed to the wind which will try and lift it and push you towards the water. This can be at a minimum exciting (we really don't want that) and at worst could lead to a flipped airplane in the water. That happened north of Hallo bay some years back. Everyone walked away (definition of a good landing) but the plane couldn't be used again (definition of a great landing).
    10. Have fun
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

  3. #3
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    Another good place for a beginer is Hook Point on Hinchenbrook Island. There is a Forest Service cabin for rent there. The beach is long, wide, smooth and firm. You could land a Mooney there. It's not far from Cordova where fuel is available at the city strip and if the weather gets bad you can easily scud run there safely. Another place I like is Kayak Island. The island is long and narrow, it is laid out Northeast to Southwest. The beach on the southeast side of the island is good but depending on the wind when the tide is going out it can be covered by lots of driftwood and floatsum. The Cape St Elias lighthouse is on the southwest tip of the island, I think it belongs to the native corporation now. If you catch the weather right you can land on the southeast beach and hike to the lighthouse. If the Southeast beach is covered in driftwood there is another good landing beach on the northwest side. It's on a little spit of land that pokes off the island directly to the north. Again a long wide smooth firm beach. It's too far away from the lighthouse to hike (at least for me). I've never seen anyone else out there, your almost assured to have the whole island to yourself.

    Make sure you can read a tide table accurately and be off the beach before the tide comes in. I know someone that came back from deer hunting on Hitchbrook and found his Cub partially submerged. It was not a good day.

  4. #4

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    Go to "AIH" buy a """"ROPE""" come-a-long (NOT CABLE) but a continuous rope come-a-long and at least 150' of the correct rope, a shovel. You can thank me later.

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    headoutdaplane is correct in all he says. I'll only add that a steep beach will give you a good opportunity to cross control your rollout: the plane will want to roll down the beach toward the water, and a judicious use of both "top" rudder and light braking on the downhill side will very likely be required to maintaini the direction you want.

  6. #6
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Default Best advice..

    Get a taildragger. Go with a buddy who has a taildragger so you can inspect the beach and decide if it is something you want to tackle. Conditions change year to year as well. So where you landed last year may be no good this year or this tide. The tide will soften allot of your landings and with the nose wheel that can be real expensive.

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    Thank you all for your input.

    Jeff

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    One other aspect to consider that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is depth perception on a wide sandy beach like Hook Point. When you start getting close to the hard packed sand, it is a lot like making a glassy water landing. It is not easy to judge precisely how far above the sand you are. This is especially true on overcast or rainy days when the light is flat. But at Hook Pt. there is a lot of beach so it's pretty easy to ease it on with a gentle rate of descent and still have plenty of beach length ahead.

    In my experience flying tail draggers onto steep beaches, upon touch down the airplane will want to turn up hill away from the water, especially if you're landing three point. So important to be ready with rudder input to keep it going straight.

  9. #9
    Member AkPacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Go to "AIH" buy a """"ROPE""" come-a-long (NOT CABLE) but a continuous rope come-a-long and at least 150' of the correct rope, a shovel. You can thank me later.
    Amen to that....... learned it the hard way this last weekend. Thank god there were four of us at the time and all turned out well. Man that tide sure does come in fast!

  10. #10
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    My best advice to you on beach landings is to deploy as much naval gunfire and air bombardment as is possible immediately before you land the craft. If you do this too early, the Germans likely will commit their armor and other reserves and potentially drive you back into the water. Thus, you must deploy as much firepower as possible without giving too much notice to the enemy. Also, rearward dissembarking amphibious vehicles are the only way to go, because the dissembarking troops initially can move laterally and make more difficult targets for the enemy emplacements. Also, no matter what the adversarial conditions, move rapidly inland, cut the enemy"s communications, and cause chaos in their rear echelons. Remember, don't attack the enemy. Attack through the enemy!

  11. #11
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    So in a nose gear aircraft like the 172, will there still be the tendency to run up hill?

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