My question about technique is very basic to backcountry flying, and it's been touched on in other threads, but let me be specific.
Regarding approaches to short/soft fields, which is the case at many if not most backcountry airstrips, I've seen quite a few pilot-posted cockpit videos where on short final, the stall horn is beeping on and off. Some of the posts I've read on this board describe short final approach speeds that are very close to the aircraft stall speed. One fellow who posts here occasionally, whom I've met and flown with, wrote an article published recently in one of the major aviation mags describing his backcountry flying in a Cherokee where he states his airspeed on short final on backcountry airsrips is 60 mph IAS (he's told me the same thing in conversation) ... which is only 3 mph above the Cherokee full flap stall speed (albeit, at full gross weight).
(some of you may be thinking, "So? what's your point?")
This seems, well, unsafe to me. Having done a few (but not many) short/soft field approaches and landings, I understand the need to touch down at the lowest controllable airspeed to avoid running off the end of the runway or damaging landing gear. But touchdown speed is what you're doing just the last foot or two above terra firma, in ground effect, as you round out the flare ... that's not the short final airspeed.
To minimize the risk of landing long, I practice spot landings all the time, whether the runway is paved or not, or short or long. I also practice precise control of engine power thru touchdown (the hershey-bar wing Cherokees prefer at least some power all the way down to the runway to avoid hard landings).
Some of the best published backcountry flyers, such as the late great Sparky Imeson, emphasize that it's far better to land with too much airspeed and run off the end of the runway (unless it's the edge of a cliff, or a gigantic boulder) than it is to do a stall/spin close to the ground. In the former instance, your kinetic energy at the end of a too-long ground roll is vastly lower than your kinetic energy when you're making like an aluminum lawn dart. You'll probably survive the former, but not the latter, in other words.
Standard recommended practice for light GA aircraft at paved, non-short fields is to be at 1.3 Vso on short final ... in my Cherokee with full flaps, that's 74 mph (which also happens to be Vx). Now I can see reducing that to maybe 1.15 Vso on a short field (but not if it's gusty or there's a strong x-wind), but at the point the stall warning light starts flashing (around 62-64 mph IAS, full flaps, with approach power in a PA28), you're down to only 1.1 Vso, and 60 mph is only 1.05 Vso. The slightest error in airspeed control, or even a very modest gust or wind sheer, and your plane becomes the aluminum lawn dart. Even if you're only 50-100 feet off the ground, that's probably a fatality.
What's the consensus on this point amongst the experienced backcountry flyers? (is there a consensus?)