Can a Cirrus land and take off on grass?

I have been considering a purchase of a Cirrus SR22 but I have a grass field. It’s a 3120 foot runway. Would it ruin the landing gear?

Thank you for your input!

It all depends on the condition of the field. If it is relatively smooth and free of holes and mowed, there will be no problem. If you do it a lot, the wheel pant brackets may crack over time and need replacing. But they are relatively cheap.

No…
Lots of grass in Europe, Auz and the US… No problems for the aircraft…
Most of the problems are the pilots…

Do you see a lot of Cirrus pilots on grass, Jim?

+1 on condition of the field. Did a trip today to EHMZ which had rain the last week. Immediately after landing the sliding started. Parking the aircraft really left some footprint in the grass (see picture). Taxiing out again required my passengers getting out and back in later because the craft would not move even at 100% power. And the takeoff was one of the scariest I ever did. Cleaning the pants back at EHRD was also good fun [:)]

If grass is dry and short it will indeed be no problem but here in NL that’s more a summer thing [H]

Roshard,

i do it all the time, on a 1800 ft grass runway. No problem at all.Just keep the nosewheel off as long as possible and land as slow as possible.

Jim sees it all. You should listen to him. It is all far out, man.

Very nice video!

It looked like the runway was only moderately smooth.

1800 ft is all you need?

What speeds do you use on approach?

My home field in Wisconsin (2P2) has two 2250’ grass runways with over runs of several hundred feet. It’s open all year, is well maintained (mowed and plowed) and has a firm bottom under the sod. With the exception of the spring melt it’s usable all year. I’ve been flying from the field for over 35 years with several high performance aircraft, the last 6 years with SR20’s and now my SR22. The 20 lacks the performance to operate with sufficient comfort margins at high gross with summer temperatures. I would usually limit my fuel to half tanks, pilot and one passenger with density altitudes above 2500’ in the 20. That’s conservative but gives the necessary comfort factor. My SR22 will operate at near gross comfortably under the same conditions. I find that landing is the most critical consideration when operating on grass. Most important is to be on SPEED and stabilized on final approach. Any tendency to be high and/or fast means a go-around. Braking on dry grass can be okay but wet grass is very slippery. I’ll be at 1.3VS + half the gusts on final and bleed some speed on short final usually hearing the horn at touchdown. But, IMOH, this should a normal landing at any airport.

Check the wheel pant security on pre and post flight. I’ve had two broken inboard brackets over hundreds of landings and keep a spare on hand. Flying from a grass runways is fun…enjoy…mb

3000 is plenty for a 22 because it is silly overpowered. A 20 that’s a different story. Bottom line grass is fine just make sure the hair is cut close to the ground.

Thank you for all of the posts!

If you guys had a choice between a grass runway and a paved runway, (But the paved runway is another 20 min drive) which one would you choose? (With all things equal except the type of runway).

Sorry, fairly new here but enjoying the site so far!

As you have stated the choice – everything else except the travel time is equal – I would take the grass.

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If you guys had a choice between a grass runway and a paved runway, (But the paved runway is another 20 min drive)

Grass, obviously. Unless the weather is bad and an instrument approach is required or it’s dark. These are the decisions I make all the time as I have my own grass strip with a proper airport 5nm away. It’s great to have the option to go to a paved strip when the grass is unusable.

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Thank you, Bill

I always use the 77 KIAS short field speed minus 1 knot for each 100 lb under gross weight. So when I fly to my company in the Czech Republic (video) i am always alone and even with full tanks that results in a speed of 72-73 KIAS even with almost full tanks (flight is only 40 minutes)

One time i tried it with 70 KIAS, but I don’t recommend it. I stalled the plane in abut 6 feet and the arrival was not nice. Now i don’t try slower than 72 anymore. Ifyou really hold the yoke all the way back at touch down, it’s okay. I always have a stall warning at touch down and until now I have not ruined anything. Wheel pants have no scratch. But the field is never muddy, very hard and dries quickly.

In February I’ll get the 4 balde MT prop and then it will probably even easier to land short. From what Alex told me the 4-blade prop is a good speed brake too :slight_smile:

Paved.

These are really heavy planes with small tires. Every time I’ve had to park on grass, it has been a battle to move the plane. They like to sink in and it is really hard to get them out (with a tow bar). There is some risk trying to use the engine.

To move these planes into a hangar, you need a power tow. A power tow needs a solid base (like pavement) to pull the plane at all. If there is a pothole or 1/2" lip (on a hangar ramp), you can not pull the plane over it. Even a 1 hp tow can not do it. It takes a 5 hp power tow (on pavement) to move on a rough taxiway.

Be aware that you will break a wheel pants bracket (now $40) on any rough runway or taxiway. You have to pull off the faring, jack up the wheel and remove it to be able to swap the bracket. A royal PITA. I’ve broken 3 so far (taxiway had 1/2" deep potholes). Now the taxiway has been resurfaced so maybe I won’t have to do anymore bracket replacements.

Just my experience…

Here is a picture of that bracket:

Wow! How come those 4000 bucks are still in my pocket?

Be aware this is a MUCH too general statement. Be aware I have not broken one of those brackets, ever, despite a hundred or more softfield ops. Just my experience…

I’ve broken 3 in 10 years of operation (1195 hours). Sorry if it sounded like you would break one on every rough landing/ or taxiway.

Paul:

I understand your point and it is well taken. The bottom line is that there are more issues landing on grass. I also realize in many regions grass is the more practical place to be an operate. Convenience is one of them. But Clyde suggested if you had a choice of two airports, one 20 minutes closer and grass; he would take the grass. Before I moved this year, I had that very choice except both runways were paved. And I still took the option of going 20 minutes further. Why? These are things about grass airports, at least in the US, that are impediments to operating there.

  1. They are usually smaller overall airports with shorter runways.

  2. Many have no fuel.

  3. Most have no IFR approach.

  4. Many do not have hangars.

  5. Many are not “maintained” meaning they are not predictably mowed or drained or rolled after moisture moves in. So the status of runway condition changes from day to day. This increases the chance of wheel problems such as you are describing. Many have flown to Oshkosh and discovered that a taxi from grass to a paved runway or other taxiway can break the wheel fairing or bracket so it is an issue.

My home airport has paved runways. And, I’ve often visited friends in other parts of the country that are on grass strips. My airplane is an SR22 G1, something I believe Is relevant. Cirrus redesigned the wheel pants after the G1, and the interface between the wheel pant and strut faring is different. Plus, the G1 strut faring has a metal puck (small, flat disk) that is glued to the inside of the maingear strap that holds the wheel pant in place vertically. I’m unsure of the arrangement in the newer aircraft.

With that background here are my thoughts:

  • if the field grass is nicely green and in good shape, it’s likely that the earth has moisture. If it has moisture, it’s soft. And, we have relatively small tires which will sink into the ground if you park the plane overnight. And that makes it real bear in the morning to get moving. So, if you’re going to park it someplace for an extended time, you might consider parking on some plywood boards under all three tires. (A good grass strip is quite a bit different than packed dirt.)

  • if the runway has swales, it’s likely that the main landing gear will flex substantially during takeoff and landing. If you have a G1, the interface between the strut fairing and gear faring (the strut faring is supposed to slide inside the gear faring) can pull apart and then bind. That’s tough on the fiberglass!

  • if the grass strip is it all rough (as compared to the paved runway), the puck holding the strut faring in place will come unglued. I have heard that Cirrus has used a couple of different glues for that purpose in an effort to find something that would hold under all conditions.

  • In the G1 wheel pants, eventually the bolt on the outside of the wheel pant that screws into the axle will elongate the hole in the faring (due to additional vibration) necessitating a small repair. You may wish to put a flat washer underneath the head of the bolt.

  • I recommend actually using soft-field technique for takeoff and landing. Most pilots that I see seem to have forgotten how to do that. Be sure and keep the nose “light” to protect it against chuck holes and any unexpected divots in the runway.

Craig