Backcountry airstrips are inherently dangerous. It is the sole responsibility of the Pilot in Command to ascertain airstrip conditions prior to use. Be certain to consider environmental, aircraft, and personal factors when determining suitability.
Use of the airstrips is at the sole discretion of the Pilot in Command. Fly safe!
Information updated May 13, 2021 @ 7:56pm
Description: An extremely hazardous airstrip perched on a cliff ledge above the Dirty Devil River. This airstrip should be only attempted by a skilled pilot with a bush-type aircraft in optimal conditions. The wind normally favors blowing towards the cliff face which is great for landing but a serious problem for takeoff. Few places can offer a view like Poison Springs which makes it such a rewarding place to visit.
Runway: Covered in shrubs and rock, this is a rough runway requiring high float tires. A large hill at the north end favors a downhill takeoff towards the cliff; however, the prevailing winds favor this direction and will prohibit a takeoff. Another hump greets you right at the bottom of the hill, so starting downhill and easing into the takeoff roll will help prevent a hard hit at the bottom. You must accomplish an immediate right turn after liftoff to clear the cliff face at the end of the runway. This turn will also remove the aircraft from ground affect as the terrain rapidly drops off flying away from the cliff face. I am unsure if a takeoff can be completed towards the hill as it rises probably more than most aircraft climb performance. Landing requires being able to control your aircraft at landing speeds comfortably in a bank near terrain and complete a precision landing. I normally land after the first hump which lies nearly at the threshold and then roll-out up the hill. You will not be able to see the runway above the hill and caution should be used as large bushes and rocks are located just off the runway.
Approach Considerations: Multiple landing surveys and threat assessments should be made before landing. Be careful becoming fixated on the south end of the airstrip flying low and forgetting about the hill rapidly approaching. An early go around should be accomplished, a late go around will be nearly impossible. Find each hump and land according, planing a go around for any unfavorable condition such as wind, bounces, high or fast approach, etc.
Parking: Not many places to park here as most of the area is covered in large shrub brush. Turning will probably have to be done manually as no turn around exists. No cell coverage. Camping could be done here, but any un-forecasted weather would leave you unable to take-off.
Most challenging “strip” I’ve ever landed. The description/advice is a bit hard to understand in my opinion. Very calm wind, still in the morning shadows, with no thermal activity when I visited. I over flew and rolled it 4 times before committing and landing. Ultimately I decided it was best to land SE end approaching NW end (29), which means I came in on a left base close on the cliff face and talus slope. Turning final was low, slow, and basically touching down right as I leveled out of the turn. Rolled out going toward “the hill” meant also going though a ravine or two that are more suited for an ATV at that speed. Sandy soil helped to absorb and slow, and I only ended up using roughly 1/2 the strip. Took off from the NW end (11) right back at the cliff face. As I rolled off “the hill” the wings weren’t quite ready to fly so I slowly settled back into the strip with a light bounce and then held ground effect for a few seconds before a right turn out to the south. If weather/winds/drafts wouldn’t have been perfect, I would not have landed - not sure I would be willing to land again with my 8.00 mains and stock tailwheel. Probably would feel better with at least 8.50’s and a baby bushwheel.
This is the most hazardous strip in my opinion. Extreme caution should be used here and reserved for perfect conditions. The rollers on this strip are in all the wrong spots for takeoff and are much bigger than the pictures look. I normally takeoff starting down the big hill towards the cliff, I am unsure if you can out-climb the hill headed north. Landing towards the hill is best. Large rocks are on either side of the runway on top. A very rewarding place to visit.