Using Skis to Land Planes

by Emily Baird on February 20, 2010 at 6:39 am

It’s a piece of equipment that isn’t used much in this area because we aren’t used to seeing this much snow on the ground at one time, but some pilots are putting skis on their airplanes to help them get around better.

The skis don’t really affect how the pilot flies in the air, but rather how that individual handles the ground.

"The skis allow us to transition into the deep snow, and the wheels wouldn’t allow us to do that. We’d have to plow the runway, " says Y-City Flying Service instructor, Robert Norman.

It also makes things a little easier when it comes to taking planes in and out of the hanger.

"There is dollies that we put on the skis to roll them, but if you don’t have that capability, you’ve got to shovel that snow in the hanger and then put the airplane on a wooden block. Then shovel that back out. You’d do that every day, " says Norman.

Norman says he likes to use the skis when there’s at least six inches of snow on the ground. The ones on his plane are antiques, dating back to around 1910.