DA62 / 42 on gravel surfaces?

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Pehu
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DA62 / 42 on gravel surfaces?

Post by Pehu »

I am contemplating on visiting one of the biggest fly-in events in Finland and I have been there at EFKH with my DA40NG few times. But now with the DA62, I was wondering if visiting the field makes any sense as it is gravel field. As I wrote earlier in another thread, I have already chips on the right hand side of the fuselage next to the RH engine. Not big ones, but clearly they came from loose stones /gravel even if I have flown only on asphalt (but visited couple of not that well maintained airfields, with some small stones on the runway).

Now, landing or taking off from gravel gets me thinking will it be bad for the aircraft. Have the owners of diamond twins experienced similar things and are you flying in such airfields - or is it a total no-go?

I am putting a bit of extra protection to the nose/next to the engines next week with a transparent film, so the chips should be more easily "fixed" by just changing the film if they happen.
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OH-ASM / DA40NG #N_399 (sold)
OH-WOW / DA40NG #N_328 (co-ownership, sold)
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Gordon
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Re: DA62 / 42 on gravel surfaces?

Post by Gordon »

Also very interested in others experience on this subject.

I have seen another DA62 that did a bit of bush airstrip work, but not owner pilots. This aircraft - with the Diamond grey paint scheme had a bunch of small chips on the right side paint work, with the white base coat showing through. My aircraft is white in that area so shouldn't be so much of a problem.

The aircraft I'm talking about also had a bunch of minor stone chips in the props and maybe MT props don't handle small stones as well as metal props, however maintenance was happy to "dress" those prop chips and let the aircraft keep flying - didn't seem to affect the performance in any way.

I'm not sure if the chips (prop and fuselage) occured during takeoff/landing or were caused by doing the auto run-up on gravel. It seems to me the run-up on the brakes is the highest risk so if the airstrip has any sealed or well grassed area (even if the runway is gravel), this would be the place to do your run-up.
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Boatguy
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Re: DA62 / 42 on gravel surfaces?

Post by Boatguy »

I picked up stones with my prop and got some pretty good nicks. The MT props are considered compromised if the nick penetrates to the wood core. My shop was sufficiently concerned to contacted MT for their judgement on whether they could be patched with epoxy (they were) or needed a new prop.

I'm highly skeptical that any Diamond with an MT prop could be operated on gravel without incurring significant damage. Diamond's are not tail draggers.
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CFIDave
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Re: DA62 / 42 on gravel surfaces?

Post by CFIDave »

The MT props don't do well when operating on gravel.

Back when I had a DA42-VI, I visited the island of Andros in the Bahamas, flying into MYAF airport. While the runway was in good condition, I had to taxi and park in a ramp area covered with pea gravel. The result was a big dent in the leading edge of one of the props -- not bad enough to repair, but ugly cosmetically. I've not had this problem with other Bahamian islands and airports, which tend to have "hard packed" ramp areas with minimal gravel.
N62DV DA62 62.056
N42DA DA42-VI 42.N117 (sold)
N811ET DA40 XLS 40.874 (sold)
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