Living on a lake has it advantages. I have cut a ramp on my front lawn down to the lake so that I can get my 701 amphib up and down since my hanger is up on the flats off my driveway. The grade of the ramp is about 7% and it is about 80 feet long. As you can see in the picture, to overcome this grade I have set up a winch in the back of my hangar and using a remote control I can activate the winch all the way down to the shoreline.
Today I got a bit too adventurous; and decided to become a test pilot. Rather than hooking up the winch and riding down at a nice slow pace which takes about two minutes, I opted to ... yes here it comes ... taxi down the ramp. Before I go further, no there is no damage other than a bruised ego and a strong sense of "stupid".
Anyway back to the adventure: I sat on the driveway atop the ramp and diligently went through my taxi checklist, mags, fuel, carb-heat, temp, EGT... all is good. I rev'd up and started to the top of the downhill all the time testing the toe brakes and edging closer. The nose pointed down the ramp and she started to roll gently as I closed the throttle back to idle. All was great. Then...
I did not realize the
grass was still slightly wet from the morning dew and the mains began to skid. I swear I almost hit V2
on the way down. It felt like I put the toe-breaks through the firewall. CUT THE ENGINE I though as she continued to skid straight down the ramp. "Stopped --- yes stopped". I came to a gentle stop on the shore with the water just licking at the floats. "All is good, no damage", but what a rush - my heart pounding!
Since I had logged my 5 seconds of 'almost air time' I thought I had enough for one day and water-taxied her around so I could winch her up the ramp. In my hanger I went over her again and found she was no worse for wear despite my super-human gorilla grip on the controls.
Some folks can say they had a rough landing, I can say I had a rough
downhill. Next year, I am going to put down some cement patio stones which should resolve the wet grass issue and I will once again become a test pilot but this time I will make sure I have a backup plan. Lesson learned - check the "field" conditions. :-)
John AKA - Test Pilot, or maybe lucky moron.