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What do you use to find grass strips?

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Forums Chief Pilot
Staff member
Oct 31, 1996
Type aircraft owned
Carbon Cub FX-3
Base airport
How do you build your network of places to fly in the backcountry? Finding grass strips, permissions, etc?

I use the website below but it's pretty slim in my area. Trying to figure out how to find more exciting places to fly in my somewhat local area. Any tips?

That is a great question with a multi-part answer: I have close to 50 different landing areas in about an hour radius of where I am based. I have cultivated those spots over 12-15 years. First you have controlled/public airports - self explanatory. Second you have RLA's, generally someone is listed as an owner/manager in Foreflight, There is a phone and an address. Generally I write to the address so I don't bother them with a call. I give them my email, cell, address and details of what I want, what type of plane, a picture. I generally tell them one landing, no touch a goes, not too early - etc. And then you wait for a response, most of the time there is a connection somehow to EAA, someone knows someone, you run into them somewhere. About 5 of the places I land are ex patients or their grand parents own the strip ( you may not have that connection opportunity ). Of this group, RLA group, I have only had two solid no's - don't go there don't even fly over low. Sometimes there is not a hard yes but a wink and a nod, go to these occasionally. If someone gives you a hard yes, there is no plausible deniability - they gave you permission to land outright - these types, the wink and nodders, are fine with you landing, but if anything happens they can say I never said he could land. Then there are the unlisted open fields that you know look like they own an ultralight, for this there is an app called onX Hunt. I use it for flying and hunting, it will list the land owner with an address - same letter scenario. I once had someone wave at me as I was circling flying over, a wave is permission in my book, landed talked and is one of my go to places now. Cropduster fields are awesome, the land owner leases to a crop-duster service, if you contact the landowner they will tell you who leases it, or you find out through the aviation grapevine. Generally if you avoid crop-duster fields during spray season they are fine, indeed appreciative as you can email them with problems with the runway - coyote holes, gopher holes etc. Be aware, sometimes these fields are only cut once or twice a year and are used for hay also. A low pass and drag is a good idea - see attached video. Lastly there is the just go for it. In my time in the Air Force, 1983 - 91 era, we had a saying "Better to ask forgiveness than permission" This carries it's own problems which I cannot recommend ;)
Have you contacted your local EAA chapter? Many of those maintain lists. If they don't, the members generally know.

The most interesting one I've been to isn't back country. It's a restaurant with it's own airstrip. What makes it interesting is that it's not even a blip on the Sectional.
No, haven't asked EAA, good suggestion. Just been contacting private fields, some have permission, some don't respond, etc. Still learning the ropes.

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