The pavement is hard on my tires, so I prefer to land in the grass.

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    $\begingroup$ I've marked this as "too broad". This will depend massively on the airfield at which you are landing. How about you ask the operators of the airfield? Many will allow it and some will have specifically marked grass strips. Others won't allow it. $\endgroup$
    – scotty3785
    Nov 11, 2019 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ There are people on here who have been flying a long time and who can give reasonable informed answers for a question like this. It's not too broad at all. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Nov 11, 2019 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it is "too broad". The question is tagged [faa-regulations], so it could be understood as What are the FAA requirements to be allowed to land on the grass on an airfield? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Nov 11, 2019 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Criggie I've heard it observed that grass landings have near-zero tire wear, but beat snot out of other components like oleostruts. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2019 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ As someone who has done groundskeeping work before, I can attest that you can easily do thousands of dollars' worth of damage driving a heavy vehicle through a grassy area that has underground sprinklers. Regardless of whether your plane can handle the terrain, please, please make sure that the terrain can handle your plane. New tires can be cheaper than paying to have a half-mile of cracked irrigation pipe trenched up and re-run. $\endgroup$
    – bta
    Nov 13, 2019 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


It depends on the airfield. Landing on grass is only recommended if the ground is maintained to a reasonable standard and clear of obstructions. Some airfields have grass strips maintained for that purpose, on others the grass has lights, wires and cables, or just lots of holes/ruts which will be far worse than the tarmac.

Some airfields are only grass, tarmac is not a prerequisite for having an airfield.

You want to know before you go, how to find out depends on where you are. There are flight guides and websites in many countries that tell you what is available, but it always makes sense to call ahead and ask the condition of the available grass, and to find out if there are any unofficial grass areas you can use.

There is also ATC, at a towered airfield you must land where you are cleared, you can'd decide to land on the grass nearby because you want to as it's a violation. If there's grass available you need to make sure you ask for it and they will give it to you if they can, most of the time ATC is helpful. If they say no there's probably a good reason. At an untowered airfield it's at your discretion, if there's grass available and it's in decent condition you would state your intention on the frequency and follow normal procedures.

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    $\begingroup$ In particular, since this question is tagged for FAA (i.e. U.S.) regulations, the chart supplement will give you information about the field, its runways, and, probably most important to this particular question, the contact information of the airport manager and/or owner, who you should definitely call before attempting something like this. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ Some airfields are only grass, snow, sand or water indeed. A runway is a designated area, not a material. $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Nov 13, 2019 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ A tongue in cheek reinforcement to the importance of confirming what's at the airport before heading to one, compare and contrast two airports in Victoria, BC, Canada - Victoria International (CYYJ), and Victoria Inner Harbor (CYWH). Both offer some overlap in services for small aircraft... But you probably shouldn't confuse the two if you're trying a Hail Mary instrument landing through fog... $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2019 at 16:29

Well, you're using land that is under the authority, or delegated authority, of somebody, so technically you need that authority's permission to use other than a designated landing area under the airport's license. Remember that there could be liability issues for the person responsible for the airport, completely aside from the physical suitability of the area you want to use.

So from a strictly legal/regulatory perspective, you need the authorization of:

At a controlled airport, the delegated authority, ATC.

At a public uncontrolled airport, the delegated authority, the airport manager.

At a private airport, the owner.

In the real world, if you are using the grass at an uncontrolled public airport and you're not getting in anybody's way, you'll probably be fine, but if you land on the adjacent grass and then see a guy marching toward you with steam coming out of his ears, that's probably a manager or owner coming to chew you out because there is a policy against it.

Bottom line: the wise pilot checks with whomever is in charge first, if in doubt.

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    $\begingroup$ Also there's the little matter of the fact that the grassy area may well have obstructions that aren't visible from the air and aren't immediately obvious until they rip your undercarriage off at 100mph $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Nov 12, 2019 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ What about landing on public land that doesn't fall under any of these categories, like a grass field in a public park? $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Nov 13, 2019 at 11:23
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    $\begingroup$ It's up to the authority that is responsible for it. There will likely be a by-law or some local ordinance preventing it use. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Nov 13, 2019 at 13:06

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