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Retractable gear, c/s prop 4 place aircraft that can deal with grass

I’m looking for opinions (eh…) on aircraft meeting the EASA requirement for a “CPL trainer”, i.e. retractable gear, constant speed prop and 4+ seats. The catch is it would live and work at a grass field. Any recommendations for / warnings against particular types/models? The instructors and maintenance have a (slight?) preference for Cessna, which would favor a RG version of the 172, 177 or 182 but I would not see that as a deciding factor.

I know @boscomantico flew an Arrow IV to a grass strip in the UK and seem to recall @achimha said his 182 doesn’t mind grass, but how doable would that be on a permanent basis, with the hardship of CPL training and the unavoidable countless touch-and-go’s?

If the plane would make a reasonable travel machine and/or IFR training platform, it would be a significant advantage, so e.g. a 540 instead of a 360 is acceptable. But the key parameter is “happy on grass”.

Assume the field is in good condition – mowed and rolled regularly, properly drained – planes with wheel spats use it regularly without issue, as does a resident Seneca.

Reason for asking? We’re trying to see if we can expand the ATO part of the club to include CPL. We already have access to the resident Seneca for MEP, but that’s probably overkill for the CPL requirements.

EPKP - Kraków, Poland

A Bonanza might fit your needs. The rectable gear was constructed to be used on grass strips. I use mine regularly on grass.

EDDS , Germany

It’s next to impossible to operate such an aircraft without a loss for training. I do not know any FTO that manages.

The most frequent complex singles for FTOs are 172RGs. Almost all RG aircraft are suitable for grass and I don’t think it’s the grass that hurts them, it’s the constant use of the gear mechanism combined with hard landings that produces expensive maintenance bills.

I would never ever let anybody do training on my aircraft. On the other hand, I have no problem landing it on any half way decent grass strip. I have done it numerous times and I don’t view it as a problem or a negative of the airfield.

The arrow I used to fly lived at a very bumpy grass airfield (White Waltham EGLM), and dealt with a lot of touch and goes too. I wasn’t involved with maintenance, but I don’t remember it having bad availability.

I know an Arrow IV owned by a maintenance engineer and based at a grass strip.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

An Arrow III would be even better, because with the conventional elevator you can hold the nose off at lower speeds. The IV model is not ideal for grass.

Also I agree that the Bonanza is great for grass, and many Mooneys fly from grass too, their landing gear is among the most solid.

Apart from that i agree the way that i would not buy an RG trainer.

The answer depends a great deal on whether you will be expected to allow self fly hire i.e. flying without an instructor in the RHS.

If yes, the plane will get trashed a lot quicker.

I went around this block with my TB20 in 2002/2003…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Mooney on grass can be a issue not with the gear but with prop strike depending on how bumpy the grass is

Bonanza for sure ok i use regular some italian microlight fields with grass

i guess a Rockwell114 would also be an option (112 can be a bit of an issue when hot and high as completly underpowered)


The C177 has a different airfoil and is – allegedly, I’ve never flown one – very prone to wheelbarrowing on landing if you’re not careful. Probably not good for the role you want to use it for. I’ve got a few hundred hours in C172RGs and C182RGs and love them, the 182 of course being much more powerful and faster, so a great touring airplane. Also, loads of space between prop and ground (even more so in the three-blade prop version), so better suited to grass than, say, a Mooney which has very little clearance. I would probably go for a C182RG, they really are the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of GA!

The prop clearance of 3-blade Mooneys is not as bad as with the 2-blade, which almost nobody has anymore.

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