I have no idea what kind of experience you have as a pilot, so if this info seems preachy, I apologize.
I bought my 140 (with an O-200 and climb prop) for my own recreational use in Alaska years ago while flying there professionally, and flew it in and out of some really fun places. It's been on gravel bars, beaches, and grass and gravel strips, and has done okay. I have it on 8.50s (which are field-approved) and a Scott 3200 tailwheel. I popped the tailwheel tube once from whacking it on a rock on said "gravel" bar...(rocks look a lot like gravel when viewed from the air) but have otherwise suffered no damage to the airplane. I think, personally, that the bigger tires are a good thing. Not only can the airplane roll over larger rocks, but they offer better flotation on soft fields, give you a little extra prop clearance, increase your angle of attack slightly, and absorb some shock and vibration, especially if you keep them soft. The largest tire I ever saw on a 140 was the 10.50 x 6. I think this is also referred to as a 26". It's been awhile, but I think they were Goodyears. They're expensive and heavy, and not approved. You'll know better than I what it takes to approve them in Canada. Whether you're on wheels or skis, I'd consider it a good thing to install a V-brace.
Okay, having said my 140 has performed satisfactorily in and out of some pretty rugged terrain, I have to also add that I've scared the cr@p out of myself once or twice too. I can't stress enough the need to get to know not only your airplane's performance, but your own. Develop and maintain a healthy awareness of your own capabilities and respect your own limitations (they'll likely change with experience) and absolutely respect the limitations of your airplane. You're right: A 140 won't even perform like a J-3 cub in some respects, and probably shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as a super cub. It will, however, get you in and out of some really fun places to fish, camp, or whatever. It may not take anyone else...and you may need to make four trips to haul out your whole moose, but it'll take you. And don't figure on being able to take-off in the same distance on rocks and gravel as you do on another surface. You'll just need to experiment with your own airplane and experiment with different piloting techniques. When it comes to ski flying, get some solid advice from pilots who have done it before. It's great fun, but there are some real pitfalls you need to learn to avoid. I've flown off skis exactly once...and I'm hooked. I have a J-3 which I plan to equip with skis next winter. I've heard a lot of stories of what to do and what not to do. Learn those lessons before you risk losing your plane or getting yourself "kilt". Better yet, go flying with someone who has ski experience before you venture out on your own.
I'm in the middle of restoring that same 140 I bought years ago. I love the little plane. It's been easy to own, and I appreciate that it does so many things reasonably well. It doesn't excel in any one area, but it wasn't really meant to.
I loved my time in Alaska; I spent 5 1/2 years flying up there. I can only imagine the endless variety of great places you must have to fly in and out of up where you are. Be careful out there.
- 140 on 8.50s over New Hampshire
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