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Critical Safety Information: SOGGY RUNWAYS AT EHHV: HOW TO MANAGE?

Nederlandse versie hier


All EHHV runways have been soggy for months due to the abundant rain. The ground is too soft for the heavy tractor, so the grass can’t be mowed properly either and this has resulted in an extremely poor condition of the runways. This situation will not change short-term.

Experience over the past few months has shown that the poor condition of the runways requires a much longer ‘Take-Off Distance Required’ than we’re used to. The additional factors to consider for calculating the take-off distance according to the Pilot Operating Manuals (POM’s) don’t provide for extreme circumstances such as ours at EHHV at the moment.

Practice has proven that many ACHA flyers don’t consider this sufficiently and their take-off distance calculations turn out to be far too optimistic. In addition, many ACHA flyers don’t know (anymore) how to execute a soft field take-off properly. In the past months, take-offs have been aborted repeatedly as a result of bad take-off distance calculations or badly executed soft field take-off technique.

How to manage extremely poor runway conditions at EHHV

The ACHA board has decided the following for the times that the “Havendienst” opens the airfield for limited air traffic. The club will respect the limitations set by the Havendienst. In addition, the club will apply the following rules:

  • If ‘Maintain a Plane’ (MAP) can’t get the ACHA fleet to the flight line, the ACHA-fleet is grounded.
  • If runways 07 and 36 are in use, but the Havendienst displaces the thresholds shortening the take-off and landing distance, the ACHA fleet is grounded in principle, unless the President of the ACHA board, in conjunction with the Head of Training decides otherwise.
  • If the ACHA board finds the circumstances too critical, the ACHA board can ground the ACHA fleet.
  • If a member of the ATO Management Team (Accountable Manager, Head of Training, Safety manager or Compliance Monitoring Manager), an ACHA Ops operator or any of the ATO Flight Instructors find the situation too critical, they can ground individual pilots or the whole ACHA fleet after consulting with one of the board members or the Head of Training.

 Advice to all pilots

  • Be aware that all runways at EHHV can be soft and soggy in the coming months. Be extra careful when there is only little wind. Don’t load your aircraft too heavily. In short; make realistic mass & balance and take-off and landing calculations.
  • Check the NOTAMs and information on the notice board at the Havendienst regarding restrictions or adaptations in the TODA of the runway in use.
  • Calculate your take-off and landing distances very carefully. Use realistic extra safety margins varying from 40 to even 75% by adding them to your calculations. When in any doubt; don’t fly or ask an instructor for advice first.
  • The main roll resistance is usually caused by the nose wheel. It tends to dig itself into the long wet grass and soft ground, unless the pilot uses the soft field take-off technique. As the nose drops, the wings produces less lift, causing the nosewheel to sink even further into the ground, making the situation worse.
  • Use the ‘Soft or Rough Field Take-Off’ procedure , which you can find in the procedure books on the ACHA website https://vliegclubhilversum.nl/flightplanning/lesboeken-c172-en-katana/
  • For the C-172, the procedure is as follows*:
  • For the DV-20, the procedure is as follows*:
  • Realise that it takes a while in the Katanas to notice an effect of back pressure due to the T-tail.
  • Prepare for a soft-field landing as well. A soft surface runway has more friction compared to a hard surface runway. When the main gear touches, the airplane has the tendency to slow down immediately and for the nose gear to lower to the ground. Try and keep the nose gear off as long as possible. See also: https://vliegclubhilversum.nl/flightplanning/lesboeken-c172-en-katana/
  • If you are in any doubt about your abilities or proficiency, make an appointment with an instructor to practice these soft field take-offs and landings together. Theoretical knowledge is one thing, but only actual practice makes perfect!

Hilversum, March 31st 2024

* From: Procedures Cessna 172 (v1.7 6/2023) and Procedures Katana DV20 (v1.5 4/2023). Always consult the most recent version https://vliegclubhilversum.nl/flightplanning/lesboeken-c172-en-katana/