Time for Skis

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Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Time for Skis

Postby gkremers » Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:49 pm

Like it or not winter came a little early in western Michigan. Finally got to try out the Summit skis on my Highlander. I started out with a couple of take off and landings on the hard surface just to get the feels of it. Flew over to a close grass runway to try them out. I was a little surprised at quickly the plane decelerates. The snow was a little wet so you had to give it some power to keep it moving. Take offs were fine, the skis seem to increase the lift. Next time I'm up I'll do a series of stalls to see what effect they have.

If you live in the cold weather you've got to enjoy it!

Sorry for the bad lighting, it was getting dark by the time I got back


IMG_1564.jpg


IMG_1563.jpg


IMG_1566.jpg


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Re: Time for Skis

Postby Familyflyer » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:51 am

It looks great and I am sure it is a lot of fun!
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby User GDS » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:30 pm

Looks like a lot of fun! What size tires are those?
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby gkremers » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:50 am

The tires are 8.5 x 6, same tires I run without skis. We are supposed to get another round of lake effect snow starting this afternoon. They are predicting colder temps this week (low 20's) with 6" - 10" between late this afternoon and tomorrow.

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Re: Time for Skis

Postby av8rps » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:54 pm

Gary,

Your plane looks great on those skis!

And as we continue to get more snow you're going to enjoy flying it on skis even more I'm sure. Most know that my favorite thing to do with an airplane is to fly on amphibious floats, as it turns an airplane into a go-almost-anywhere adventure machine. But flying on wheel skis is my second favorite thing, as not only can you go almost anywhere, but with the additional lift from the cold dense air, along with the minimal weight gain from the addition of the skis, you will see performance from your Highlander like you will never see in warmer weather (or on floats).

So if you have warm clothes and a good heater, ski flying is a PREMIUM thing to do with your Highlander in my opinion 8)

So please keep us posted of your future winter adventures in your Ski-equipped Highlander. It's great inspiration in the dead of winter for all those still building...

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Re: Time for Skis

Postby gkremers » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:18 pm

Paul,
I'm new to flying on skis. Luckily I've got a friend that fly's a Champ on skis, he has been given me some pointers. I have a lot to learn but will take it slow and cautious.

My goal was/is to eventually put it on amphibious floats. When that time comes around I'll be picking your brain. I figure the best combo will be amphibs and skis.

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Re: Time for Skis

Postby danerazz » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:24 pm

...now amphibious skis would be the ultimate accessory.
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby av8rps » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:55 pm

danerazz wrote:...now amphibious skis would be the ultimate accessory.


Hey, he already has amhibious skis :)

Having wheel penetration skis that allow you to operate from snow or pavement feels A LOT like when you have amphib floats and you can choose between water or land.

Skis? Floats? Skis? Floats? All good!!!

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Re: Time for Skis

Postby av8rps » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:27 pm

Gary, while I try never to underestimate any kind of flying, I have found ski flying to be a really quick thing to learn, and an absolute blast! But you do have to be careful as many planes have been wrecked on skis. So here is what I'd caution about when on skis;

- Be careful to not get snow blinded. It happens easier than most would think - polarized sunglasses help.
- Always fly low over your landing area to make sure there are no ice fishing holes or ice shoves or pop ups that can ruin your day.
- Be careful with snowmobile tracks as your wheel skis can get caught in the grooves they leave, especially if frozen.
- Be prepared to deal with slush on lakes. And keep an eye on your wheels when landing at airports as snow and ice slush can build up and lock up your tires. If you think you have frozen slush locking up your wheels (usually can be seen visually out your doors), find some snow (slush free) to land in rather than pavement so you can clean the ice off to insure the tires are free. If you feel you have to land on pavement be extremely aware of the potential for having one or both wheels lock up on landing. One is actually worse than both as it can veer you off the runway in a big hurry. Try to carry enough flying speed that you can always fly away if necessary. I will actually "bounce" my airplane momentarily on the runway as a precaution to make sure the wheels aren't locked, and then if things seem ok I just land farther down the runway. This might seem like overkill to some, but I've had skis lock up twice on me after flying off of slushy lakes. The good thing is that plastic bottomed skis tend to not freeze up, but if there's enough slush turning to ice, any wheel ski tire can lock up.
- Make sure to always carry cold weather and survival gear with you in case of an emergency. Wheel skis turn an airplane into the perfect escape machine - but with that you can easily find yourself in the middle of nowhere before you know it. So warm clothes and emergency gear should always be in the airplane. Also, a cowl blanket can do double duty for survival, so don't be afraid to carry one or two. (you'll have plenty of lift for the extra load too)
- Rig up a portable LP heater to be used as a preheater for your 912 in case you end up somewhere longer than you expected. It too can be used in emergency.

I'm sure I'm missing something here, but this is at least a good start. Maybe others have some ideas? Anyhow, have fun. The Highlander has to be one of the best airplanes I could imagine having on skis :D .

Paul
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby gkremers » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:08 pm

Paul,
Thanks for the tips. Looking forward to the learning process.

I was asked in a private message to post a few pics of the attach points. I think my Highlander is the first with Summit Skis (http://www.summitaircraft.com). Mike asked me to send him the gear legs so he could fabricate the mounting brackets. He did a really nice job and now has the tooling to make them for anyone with standard Highlander gear. I leave the ski brackets on all the time so the actual ski installation only takes 5 minutes. The initial installation including mounting the brackets, setting the angles, cutting and swaging the cables took about 2 hours.


IMG_1568.jpg
Bracket


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Bracket


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Spring and safety cable attach point


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rear cable attach point


IMG_1571.jpg
Ski wheel


IMG_1573.jpg
Spring with crust cutter


Stay warm and fly safe
Gary
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby av8rps » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:37 am

A very nice setup...
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby Tralika » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:29 am

There's an article on Ski Flying in the current issue of FAA Safety Brief. Worth a look.

http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/?cid=TW112
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby moving2time » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:22 pm

Gary, forget the skies. Your hangar is amazing. If I had a dream come true it would look like your hangar. If I took a picture of my garage right now, with my project stuffed inside, it would look the complete opposite of your hangar in every way. I could get so much done in a space like that! Makes my knees weak just thinking about it. Joe B
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Re: Time for Skis

Postby av8rps » Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am

Joe,

Yeah, I agree with you about that super nice hangar.

Your shop and mine sound very similar :?

But we can dream...

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Re: Time for Skis

Postby Jack L » Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:52 pm

Gary,

In your first post you said that you would do some more flight testing and specifically stalls, have you had a chance to do more testing? How does the Highlander react to the skis? Any experience you can share would be appreciated. Mine is on straight skis and I am just waiting for the opportunity to get out there, so far the wind, cold and slush have kept me grounded.

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