Airplanes on skis ?

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Airman 1st Class
May 8, 2012
C-47 on skis.jpg

See 5:40-8:30


Airman 1st Class
Jun 28, 2017
I live in Alaska. Quite a bit of planes convert to skis for the winter. As mentioned above, with wheels you’d likely sink into the snow and not be able to take off again. Even if the sudden deceleration didn’t cause other problems (see above picture). Skis also open up options to land in places that would be too rough or too soggy to land in summer.

Regarding sinking through the ice. Even with thick ice the advice is to monitor stopped vehicles. They can start to deform the ice leading to problems.


Tech Sergeant
Aug 15, 2010
Pics of Skit fitted aircraft during the air Corps' Winter Testing

Curtiss A-12 Shrike
View attachment 655556

Martin B-10 of the 11th Bombardment Group
View attachment 655560

The B-10 and A-12 crews actually played hockey during the tests with the A-12 team winning 4-2
Because you not only knew they played hockey, but who won and the final score, you sir, win the internet for the day!


Chief Master Sergeant
Sep 19, 2012
Is it true that the Norway,Finland , Russia and Sweden used skis on their planes ? Frist of all how do you stop on skis ? Second of all how do you make skis that can handle a 7,000 lb to 10,000 aircarft and Third why use skis just use snow tires

Frist of all how do you stop on skis ? Friction. With heavy aircraft this produces a fair amount of heat and can "weld" the aircraft to the ice when parked. I have had the doubtful pleasure of heating a dozen kegs of oil and pouring it on the skis to free them. The pilot had the even more doubtful pleasure of removing the blown oil from the rear fuselage and tail.

Second of all how do you make skis that can handle a 7,000 lb to 10,000 aircarft and no problems - have a look for videos of DC-3/C-47 on skis. These are quite elaborate with wings on the back and hydrualics that lift them clear of the ground for landing on normal runways. Failure to lock them up as soon as you stop can cause melting of the snow or ice

Third why use skis just use snow tires - because snow tires will sink into the snow and stand the aircraft on its nose or flip the aircraft on its back. Skis have many times the surface area so do not sink in.

Example - A B-26 that landed on snow with the wheels down.


Aug 21, 2006
Lot of those picture and more you can find in this thread that I made here back in 2008 :)


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