CHAPTER 7—Skiplane Operations


In the air, skiplane flight characteristics are similar to those of airplanes with standard landing gear, except for a slight reduction in cruising speed and range. Leaving the skis in the extended position in flight produces no adverse effect on trim, but may cause a slight loss of speed. Consult the operator’s manual for skiplane performance data, and weight and center of gravity considerations.

The AFM/POH skiplane supplement may provide limitations including limiting airspeeds for operation with skis in flight and for other wheel/ski configurations. These speeds may be different from the wheel-type landing gear configuration, depending on the type of ski and the tension of the springs or bungees holding the fronts of the skis up.

Understand both the limitations and advantages of the ski equipment. Compared to the standard wheel equipped airplane that incorporates individual brakes for steering, skis are clumsy and the airplane is less maneuverable while on the ground. Like a floatplane, a skiplane has a tendency to weathervane with the wind and needs considerable space to maneuver. Maneuvering on the ground and parking require special techniques which are acquired only through practice.


  • Powder Snow—Dry snow in which the water content and ambient temperature are low.
  • Wet Snow—Contains high moisture and is associated with warmer temperatures near the freezing point.
  • Granular Snow—Wet snow that has had a temperature drop causing the snow to ball up and/or crust.


  • Glaze Ice—Snow that has been packed down and frozen to a solid ice pack, or frozen snow.
  • Glare Ice—A smooth sheet of ice that is exceedingly slippery with no deformities, cracks, or other irregularities in the surface. This ice lacks any kind of traction, with a coefficient of friction near zero.
  • Clear Ice—Ice that forms smoothly over a surface and has a transparent appearance.
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                                                                                                      Contact Us              Return To Books

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator