The images on this website showcase the remarkable capabilities of this outstanding airplane. But flying this incredible machine into some of these back country strips is VERY challenging. The Katmai CAN do it, but the pilot MUST have the necessary skills. I do not want anyone thinking by simply buying a King Katmai, they will automatically be safe in any backcountry strips.
That said, this type of flying is very safe and most satisfying IF done properly. It requires two things working in harmony; the correct airplane and a proficient backcountry pilot. The King Katmai is easily capable of operating off any of these backcountry strips - including Dewey Moore and Mile Hi - with a large margin of safety. However, as you already know, this type of flying requires lots of practice and dedication. Many of these strips are one-way. You must be able to consistently fly the proper approach to a precise landing. Having the ability to do this nine times out of ten is NOT good enough. Pilots with a lot of hours must remember that it can be dangerous to equate total flying time with being proficient. Flying from point A to point B does NOTHING for the skills required in the back country.
In my 11,000 hours of flight time over the last 40+ years, I have flown in and out of backcountry strips, dirt holes, dry river beds and jeep trails. I have flown inverted within five feet of the ground as a professional air show pilot, in the Krier Super Chipmunk, for a ribbon pickup. These days, I stay proficient by giving frequent demonstration flights in the King Katmai. My flights involve flying in and out of 200 foot long Jeep trails. So, when I line up on a strip like Dewey Moore at 700 feet in length or Mile Hi at 540 feet, they actually look long to me.
The bottom line is: when you are in the bottom of a canyon turning to line up on Dewey Moore, if 700 feet looks short, you’re in the wrong place. PERIOD.
Since the terrain won’t permit a go around, the consequences can be fatal. It takes hard work and dedication to get the proficiency and judgment needed to safely fly in to and out of mountain strips. Instruction in backcountry mountain flying is the best investment you can make. Go in the first time with an experienced instructor.
Remember, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for sound judgment and safety.
Fly Smart – Fly Safe and hopefully our paths will cross in the future.