June 2015 Issue

Off The Beaten Path

Using runways made of FOD.

Private pilots are required to demonstrate soft-field technique before they earn their certificates. The FAA, however, doesnít require you to demonstrate that skill on an actual soft field. Perhaps they should. Itís too easy to find examples of pilots filling out reports of accidents and incidents involving unpaved landing surfaces. Based on my experience and those of other pilots like me, there are many novel ways a pilot can screw up when venturing off pavement. Insurance companies know this and often restrict operations to paved runways.

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