Skiplane Flying

Skiplane flying remains popular amongst a small but hearty group of pilots.

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Hitchcock Aviation’s Cessna 185 sits on a pair of Airglas LH-4000 retractable hydraulic skis in Stanley, Idaho. (Photo courtesy of Hitchcock Aviation)
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The type of ski you’ll fly with depends largely on the conditions. Flat, wide skis are best for powder, while retractable skis let you take off from dry pavement and land on snow or vice versa. (Photo courtesy of Hitchcock Aviation)
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Takeoffs and landings are a cinch when your runway is a miles-wide and -long frozen lake. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Dietrich)
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Winter hikers are deposited high up on New Zealand’s Mount Cook. (Photo courtesy of Hitchcock Aviation)
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When choosing a set of skis for your airplane, one of the most important factors to consider is whether to buy a set of straight skis that replace the wheels (or connect to them) or penetration skis that allow operations from hard surfaces and snow. The ideal, of course, are retractable hydraulic wheel-skis, which can be raised or lowered whenever the pilot chooses.
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For more on seaplane flying, checkout our feature, "Seaplane Heaven." (Photo courtesy of Hitchcock Aviation)