Uphill or downhill?

O’ Falwell!

“You have to have full throttle as you go up the hill,” said Susan.

“Can a C172 handle it?” I asked, wondering at the sanity of it all.

“Of course, ” responded Dave.

“You depart downhill. You actually can’t see the runway over the edge, but it is there. AFD says 7% grade but I think it varies.” said Susan.

“Even if you land downhill, if you  can’t stop before the end of the runway, just add power and you will be off the ground. You really can take off and land in 200 ft.” Dave added.


It seemed incredible. When I had decided we would collect stamps near Blue Ridge Airport, I identified 4 other airports that were within reach and along our path home. I knew the runways were narrow and small, but I didn’t think beyond that.

It seems we had caught ourselves an adventure. And adventure it was.

 It is misleading viewing the runway from the air. There is a slight “S” curve feel to the runway, and the slope is not evident until one descends low, a few hundred feet from the ground. Initially we planned to land 10, but as we circled the airport Gert decided he would prefer 28. Which was good, since the AFD actually recommends landing runway 28 and taking off runway 10.

As we trailed past the midway mark, I wondered whoa! Normally right now, I will be planning a go around. But I needn’t have worried. Touching down, puffing slowly at the 172 pace we came  to a halt within seconds. Not that we could determine how much runway was left.

And  did I mention downhill?  Well hang on to your brakes as you taxi downhill to the transient parking area.

And about that take-off? It’s a breeze. You might not see the runway as it abruptly drops downhill, but with full power you are off the ground in a matter of seconds!

 I definitely need to go back, just so I can do this take-off and landing again 🙂

Enjoy a recording of our landing and departure from Falwell.

BTW, we did snag a stamp while we were there.


Falwell Airport


Video courtesy Gert.