One of the most appealing aspects of homebuilding is the ability to customize your aircraft to fit your unique needs, style, and mission. If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the world of off-airport adventures, there’s value in planning your backcountry modifications in advance — even while you’re still mid-build.

We have a few tips to help you equip your kitplane for backcountry fun:


Choosing the right propeller for your kitplane can make all the difference when it comes to optimizing your airplane’s overall efficiency and obtaining the specific performance characteristics you’re after.

At Hartzell Propeller, we offer an impressive lineup of lightweight composite and durable metal propellers for a wide variety of kitplane aircraft. Whether your goal is cruise speed or STOL performance, there’s a kitplane propeller to match your mission profile.

If you are building from a popular kit, you may be able to buy a new Hartzell propeller from the kit manufacturer, and some even offer a prop/engine bundle discount.


Oversized tires are another must-have mod for backcountry flying, giving aircraft “land anywhere” capabilities while providing better ground clearance for the propeller. If you plan to land on gravel, sand, river rocks, or any other type of uneven or rough terrain, bush tires are a wise investment.


Perhaps the most important backcountry mod you can make to any airplane is to enhance your skills as a pilot. Although you don’t necessarily need special training to get into backcountry flying, it does require plenty of practice to become proficient and confident.

Start by practicing basic skills and scenarios such as short-field takeoffs, soft-field landings, slips to landing, and landing over an obstacle at your home airport. Learning how to safely navigate unique airstrips is part of the fun and never-ending challenge of backcountry flying!