Soft fields present an interesting challenge for an airplane, especially a tricycle gear airplane. You have to adjust your takeoffs and landings such as to keep all the pressure you can off the front nose.. so that it doesn't sink into the muck.
Landings, you come down on two wheels, and intentionally keep the front end of the plane from touching down, and stay off the brakes. The field you're landing on will slow you down plenty.
Takeoffs, you try and keep the pressure off the nose gear - and actually raise the nose gear as early as you can. Looks funny as hell. Trying to fly that way? annoying as hell. Once you get enough speed, you get off the ground, but stay in ground effect - getting off all 3 wheels as soon as you can. You can do this at low speeds, but if you try and actually move away from the earth, you'll loose the the ground effect, and come crashing down. So, you have to build up spee d while floating _over_ the ground until you have enough for a proper departure.
I also practiced "short field" landings today, per the book. According to the book, I can land that plane in 550 feet. Currently, I'm landing it in about 750 feet. We'll see how close I can get to what the book says. In any case, I'll learn my personal minimums, on what I can safely land with.
Tomorrow: cross country, Sacrmamento to Chico to Redding to Sacramento, solo... assuming the weather is kind.
Originally published: 2006-07-08 18:31:00 -0700, by jfesler