My First Cessna 195 Landing On A Ice Runway
Guest Editorial written by Brian Byl – January 23, 2018 was a noticeably beautiful day for flying as I took off that morning. Winds were calm, clouds few and the sun bright. As I climbed to 4500 feet I called Stu and he told me he was just east of Carstairs. Perfect timing! We discussed a destination and decided to head to Lacombe for lunch. The air was smooth and in no time we were on final for Runway 16. Two greaser landings and we were parked.
Heading into the clubhouse we met Jon Fromm. As we talked another pilot walked in and said he was going out for a flight. Jon asked him to check out the Gull Lake airstrip if he was over there. Hmmm, I’d never landed on an ice runway. Jon told us where the strip was located and that it was clear and in good shape.
After lunch I decided that it would probably be a good day to land on the Gull Lake runway. We flew to Gull Lake and while Stu orbited a couple of thousand feet above I made a couple of low passes to inspect the runway and check the wind. As the wind was negligible I decided to land on runway 33 (approximately) in case the braking action was very low and I over-ran the runway. No trees or shoreline to get in the way.
As I lined up for a short final my pulse was definitely rising. I touched down nicely and let the airplane slow down on its own. The runway had some light snow patches but they didn’t cause any problems at all. The light snow cover did help the braking a little but it was still marginal. As I taxied to the north end I had trouble turning as I couldn’t get enough traction to brake and unlock the tailwheel. The runway was not wide enough for me to turn around but luckily there is a turn area at the north end. Even then I thought I would have to get out and push the tail around but a snow patch finally gave me the traction I needed.
A couple of photos later I fired MLB up and took off to the south. The lack of traction prevented much of a run-up so it was a rather quick takeoff. Stu and I went back into formation again and headed home. We had a nice cruise around Sylvan Lake looking at all the fishing huts. They were enjoying the beautiful weather as much as we were.
A few minutes later I was setting up for landing in Carstairs and Stu continued on his way back to Kirkby’s. What a great way to spend the day and what fun to add to my flying adventures.
Bryan Byl is a Cessna 195 Owner and Regulatory Affairs Liaison at the International Cessna 195 Club. The club was founded in 1969 by Dwight Ewing to promote the use and enjoyment of the Cessna 195 series and other classic Cessna aircraft. Paid subscriptions help the club to continue to provide valuable resources to its members. Learn more at: Cessna195.org/