Monthly Archives: October 2016

Dog Island Airport (FA43)

I’ve wanted to fly to Dog Island, Florida since finishing my Sonex.  There’s just something appealing about flying to an island that you would otherwise need a boat to get to and landing on a grassy/sandy runway.  I even called the manager about a year ago to check on the runway condition.  This weekend, during a trip with Philip to visit his grandparents, the two hour detour to check out Dog Island became irresistible.  I called the manager again and he used language like “silky smooth” to describe the runway condition.

The landing was one of my better recent landings.  I used full flaps and crossed the dune at about 60-65mph and used maybe a third of the runway.  Philip slept through the entire landing.  The ground was slightly damp in places and I had to keep my rpm up around 1500 with occasional bursts to 2000 to maintain a constant speed while turning the airplane around and taxiing to the “ramp”.

Airplane parked on the ramp area. The grass/sand here is typical of the entire runway.

Parked in the ramp area. The grass/sand here is typical of the entire runway.

I imagine larger wheels would be desirable for flying regularly to Dog Island.  For takeoff, I used 10 degrees of flaps in an attempt to get off the ground and free of the drag from the grass sooner.  I imagine my takeoff roll was a little longer than at Moontown or other grass runways, but not by much.  I turned and flew down the coastline while gaining altitude for the 3 mile hop back over Saint George Sound.

Picture of Dog Island with beach and runway visible

The runway and the beach area we explored by Pelican Inn.

Philip was bundled up in two layers of clothes and a coat, which he quickly removed to splash in the waves.  The sea shells were pretty impressive–I imagine they aren’t already picked-over like the ones on the mainland beaches.beach

The Pelican Inn looked like it’s probably not currently available for lodging.  I believe it was damaged by Hurrican Hermine in 2015.  While we were there, a group of official-looking people were walking around the property taking pictures of the foundation–maybe work is under way to fix it up again.pelican_lodge

On the return flight, we landed at Weedon Field, a nice little airport in Eufaula, Alabama.  I mention it because of the amazing airbrushed murals on the wall.