|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
TrickAir Snow Skis, manufactured by Rick Discher's Weyauwega, Wisconsin-based Custom Fiberglass Molding Inc., were displayed on the company's Maule M-4. TrickAir Snow Skis are wheel penetration skis, offering good performance in snow while making it easy to maneuver the aircraft on paved surfaces as well. There are several models of skis to fit various types of conventional-gear aircraft manufactured by Aeronca, Cessna, Piper, Maule, Aviat and others. The aerodynamic drag penalty is negligible according to the TrickAir Snow Skis manufacturer, and any slight drop in cruising speed is more attributable to the loss of the wheel pants rather than addition of the skis. The skis can be installed by the pilot, and a tailwheel ski is available for some models.
The video below illustrates the TrickAir Snow Skis in action when installed on the Aeronca Champ:
Continuing with our winter theme, we now turn to the very conspicuous Cessna 185, known as The Polar Pumpkin. The aircraft (then equipped with skis) was flown by Art Mortvedt to the North and South Poles to demonstrate the applicability of single-engine aircraft operations in support of Polar Science. Mortvedt, an Alaskan bush pilot with over 5,000 flight hours and multiple expeditions to the polar regions, reached the South Pole November 22, 1999 and most recently flew over the North Pole on April 6, 2013. On the recent polar flight, the aircraft was equipped with a hyperspectral camera to search for microscopic life living in the ice and snow (similar to efforts to search Mars and other potential habitats).