A lot of factors have to line up to create the kinds of conditions Marshall Severson enjoyed when he took a trip to the toe of Knik Glacier in south central Alaska in mid-February in his 172.


  1. What stark beauty is Alaska. Such an amazing landing site and video. A lucky pilot indeed to be able to have this moment (though I had to chuckle with the ‘Clear’. Yes it’s procedure, but with no human around for maybe hundreds of miles..).

    To have a little more background in how this happened would be great. Did the pilot overfly the area and determine the best spot to land (I figure so). It looked like a soft field landing and was that to be light on landing and allow the plane to settle. It was a long taxi down to stop so I also figured braking was minimal to avoid slipping/skidding. Would really love some commentary, but overall….fantastic, thank you AVweb.

  2. Wow, man’s need for self-destruction. 1st the wing walker business wacked by the FAA and now this guy with an underpowered 172 landing on a glacier. What’s next, commercial seating on a submarine to see the wreck of the Titanic?

    • I’ve flown over that spot (in June, when the spot he landed is a good sized body of water). It’s not a glacier, it’s near sea level, and it’s only 15 minutes from the Palmer airport. I don’t see this landing as all that risky.

  3. I’d imagine it would be flown like a glassy water landing in a seaplane. Set pitch and power for a very low VSI descent rate (50-100 fpm) at Vref (about 65) and reduce power to idle after touchdown and use aerodynamic braking as the surface would provide little.

  4. Ice landing is an absolutely delightful experience as long as you have enough room. Just remember stationary run-ups are impossible. Brakes do nothing. Nosewheel steering only works at the lowest speeds. Otherwise just put it down gently. Use rudder for directional control and roll until it stops. (Forget about crosswind landings!) You don’t need extra power to get off ice.
    Alton Bay in New Hampshire has a certified ice runway sufficient for GA aircraft. You might have to make a low pass to alert ice skaters (it’s that smooth). Been in and out of there a couple of times. What a pleasure. Departure over miles of frozen lake means you can just climb to 10 feet and cruise a mile in ground effects without violating any rules. Finally a feeling of speed in my 150.

    • I have landed in Alton Bay a few times myself. Great place to go for Lobsta rolls. Just be mindful of the temps. It started melting one time I went in there. That created lots of puddles. One of them took out one of my pilot buddies in his RV7.

  5. Beautiful. Great “Best Of The Web” find.

    What was the tool the pilot was holding when he walked out on the ice in front of the plane? Was he measuring ice thickness?

    • Maybe the remote control to the camera since it started rotating afterwards? Just a guess. Would love to know how we was sure the ice was thick enough but Alaskans are very savvy aviators.

    • The GoPro MAX he used is a fixed 360° action camera. All the apparent panning and zooming is done in the editor during post processing.

    • Yes, some problems do happen without warning, but I try to mitigate such issues by adhering to high standards of maintenance and ensuring engine/battery are properly warmed.

  6. Back . . . back a long time ago, Alton Bay wasn’t a thing yet. But not far from there, a buddy and I spent a few days flying his T-Cart off iced over Sunrise Lake, New Hampshire. No skis, just wheels. Then we met and got to know and be friends with a family living there. We even did a few flights at night in full moonlight. What a grand time we had slip-slid’n around on the ice. Ya can’t just go out and purchase memories like that, but the world of aviation will present them on occasion.

    • Glad you appreciate the song…makes me think about how tough wintering over in the Arctic was and could still be.