Notice the tires, they were still virgins when I landed here … but that was lost by the time I left. These 35″ Alaskan Bushwheels were only two days old when I took this picture. I tore a pretty nasty chunk out of my left one when I landed. Glaciers have a nasty way of tearing up rubber. Little quarter sized rocks with razor edges freeze firmly into the ice and when my tires roll or slide over them they slice and dice. I have learned to never use my brakes on the glacier unless absolutely necessary. Even then the rocks have a way of slicing my expensive tires and spending my money. I can’t see these rocks from the air because they are so small. I always look for the nice clean spots in the middle of the glacier, unfortunately the smooth ice is typically nearer the moraine which always contains lots of small rocks. So I often end up in a catch-22. Land in the big bumps or the razor rocks. I usually end-up somwhere in the middle like in this picture.
Lots of people ask me what I think of these new 35″ Bushwheels … I’ll tell you. I was very skeptical because they seemed so big. Also, any pilot that just spent nearly $6000 to purchase, and install them, surely is not going to admit they don’t like them. So I was not sure if I was getting an accurate report. I also new that a quick test flight in somebody else’s cub would not answer my questions. Not to mention what they say about guys with big tires on their truck that, “The tires are inversly proportional ….. yada, yada, yada. So, my old tires were totally shot, and I needed new ones, I took the plunge and bought 35’s. I was not totally nuts about them at first because they had an odd feeling on touch down, I could not see over the cowl while taxing, and they are miserable to crawl up on and fuel. You can actually feel the tail come up when the tires touch down because of the inertia it takes to get them rolling. I liked them but I did not love them, but I decided to keep them. I now have 600 + hours on them and more than twice that many landings. I am falling deeper in love with each landing. These things ROCK. I will buy another set absolutely. Guys say, “I’m buying them for the safety”. They are full of crap. 35″ tires are not any safer, but they sure let you land in some awesome places.