Sod Runway Season – Tips for using sod runways

‘‘Tis the season for landing on sod (grass) runways in much more of the country than it was just a few months ago. With the spring and summer weather comes a desire for many pilots to land on runways they don’t get to land on as often, or perhaps, only for a few months out of the year. Here are a few tips that are always good to remember when landing on sod runways.

Do Your Performance Calculations

It will take more runway length to take off on grass than it does on a hard surface runway. How much? Well, it depends.

Some aircraft provide performance calculation data or charts for takeoffs from other than hard surface runways, but not all. In the cases of those that do, there may be notes indicating that the data provided may only be for a dry grass runway. Even when data is provided, it is worth remembering that it was provided based on the experiences and performance skills of a test pilot in a perfectly performing aircraft. Enough said.

Personally, I usually add at least 50% more to any takeoff roll or obstacle clearance calculations when I am going to be operating from a good, dry, level, well-maintained sod runway. If it is anything worse, like wet grass, long grass, or a soggy field, I add more.

Take the time to carefully consider how much more runway you are going to need when operating from a sod runway. Continue reading