Bush pilots in Alaska need to be able to land and take off in short distances. Many of them recently attended a competition focusing on this skill in the town of Knik River. Bobby Breeden, a student pilot, can do it in ten feet using a modified Piper Super Cub. Here's how:
The massive 35-inch tires are inflated to less than 3 psi to absorb the impact of landing on rocks and other debris. They also give the wing a high angle of attack to aid in decreasing the takeoff and landing distances. The engine has been stroked out an additional 15 cubic inches (375 total) and puts out around 210 horsepower. To help balance the heavier engine, the composite propeller weighs just 14 pounds. The result is helicopter-like performance.
“It’s just full power with the brakes locked and you get the tail up,” Breeden says, “you just rotate immediately as you release the brakes and it just lifts off the ground.”
Link | Photo: Jason Paur/Wired.com
Previously: Fighter Lands, Turns Around, and Takes Off in Under a Minute