Dragging tail

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Salty, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Had my first lesson in a super cub today. Really enjoyed it once I got used to how heavy the controls are. It's a spartan example, though it does have electric and a radio, it doesn't have much else. Not even a slip indicator ball. I enjoyed flying a simple, effective machine.

    Anyway, I really like the instructors style and communication. She's got a fair amount of experience instructing and the typical commercial jobs like banner and glider towing and skydiving, but she's young, she doesn't have CFII yet.

    But.... I get the feeling she's not an expert in tail wheel. She's got a fair number of hours in Pawnee's towing. She taught me 3 point landings today; when I ask her about wheel landings I get the feeling she's not a fan of them, but maybe that's just a side effect of flying them commercially? Just slam it down and hook up the next glider, etc....

    I'm going to continue with her because one lesson isn't enough to tell yet anyway, but I'm inclined to stick with her and maybe find someone else to teach me the finer details once I have the endorsement.

    Opinions?
     
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  2. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Careful, Salty. Once you've flown tailwheel, there's no turning back!

    But seriously, spend a few more hours with her. Wheel landings require some finesse, and are not generally taught early on. I'm sure James will be along soon to elaborate.
     
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  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Who cares if she’s young and who cares if she’s not a -II. If she can teach you tailwheel in a safe and effective manner, that’s all that matters. Forget the little stuff that’s not even important.
     
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And no pics of her or the plane. ;)
     
  5. saddletramp

    saddletramp Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Maybe it's me but I've always thought wheel landings were easier than three-point landings in a PA-18. My experience is towing gliders where it wasn't uncommon to make 20+ landings per day.

    Many pilots have difficulty with wheel landing because they're afraid to push forward stick once the mains hit. Forward stick keeps the mains from crow-hopping down the runway. I see lots of that at our little airport.

    It's great you are getting some tail wheel stick time. As others have said, it can be quite addicting & makes all your landings better.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    If I understood what was happening fully, I think we were hitting tail wheel first and mild bounce on the mains keeping the stick back all the way. Is that typical?
     
  7. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Could be a lot of things. Some pilots/CFIs are all about one particular method (wheel or 3 point) and others are more versatile.

    Some airplanes prefer, or are easier to do one method over the other.

    Very generally speaking, it tends to be easier to master three points in most light tailwheels and then work up to wheel landings. Heavier tailwheels (Beech 18, DC-3, T-6...etc) tend to prefer wheel landings.

    I order to get the tailwheel endorsement, you need to learn both.


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  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think it’s you. Just kidding. Wheel landings weren’t too bad, but I thought three points were easy in the PA18.



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  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Very typical. As long as it's mild and you DON'T bounce it's good. Ideally you'll hit tailwheel first and almost immediately the mains touch. Goal is all three at once in a full stall. And keep that stick back for sure!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  10. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yeah, on my first one I instinctively let up the back stick when the nose bounced, from flying the mooney, I'm used to not wanting the nose to pitch up at that point, but I yanked it back again right away, and it wasn't that big a deal.
     
  11. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Like anything, it takes practice and you're trying to overcome habits from nose draggers. Keep it straight too, so you actually use the rudder more than you would in your Mooney. Really fun. Hopefully you'll get some cross wind training too.

    "Compleat Taildragger" a good book, think that's how it's spelled and correct title. Amazon has it: https://www.amazon.com/Compleat-Tai...r=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=compleat+tailwheel+pilot



    Take a look at this too:

    http://advancedtailwheeltraining.com/tailwheel_basics
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  12. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    All the guys I know who make a living in PA-18s never do wheels landings.
     
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  13. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    You’ll probably find that you prefer one type of landing to the other. Even in the J-3, I prefer wheel landings. I have to force myself to practice 3-point landings, especially since that method results in a slower touch-down and thus a shorter roll-out. Whichever one you feel the most comfortable with, do the other one 2 out of every 3 landings.

    I second the recommendation to get and read The Compleat Taildragger Pilot. Buy a copy so you can re-read it after every few lessons. It’s that good.
     
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  14. saddletramp

    saddletramp Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Interesting Tom-D. In gusty conditions I always felt I had better control with a wheel landing due to the higher touchdown speed. The time that elapses between the mains touching and the tailwheel touching one must be extra vigilant.

    Landing on the tailwheel first is fairly normal. As others have said, as long as your mains hit shortly thereafter & the bounce is minor...no big deal.

    As with any airplane, no two landings are exactly the same.
     
  15. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    If I've got a long smooth runway I generally can do significantly smoother wheel landings than 3 point. If it's at all a shorter or rougher runway I'll be doing 3 point for sure.
     
  16. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Irrelevant on both counts.

    First of all, it's not rocket science. Flying a tailwheel airplane is really basic. What makes you think she lacks ability to provide good basic instruction?

    Any tailwheel instructor doing endorsements knows teaching wheel landings is required, and I'm sure she will. Doesn't change the fact that many folks have a preference for one style over the other, especially in specific aircraft. Don't worry about it. There is nothing special about wheel landings. You will learn them.

    Very doubtful.

    What finer details? You're at the beginning stages of learning and not really in a position to make these assumptions. Let the learning process happen. There are no hidden secrets. The endorsement is minimal training. Most of your learning of any "finer details" will happen on your own through experience. No instructor can "install" mastery and a total understanding of all the nuances of tailwheel flying and the variation among different aircraft types. You have to work toward this on your own.

    Anyway, looks like this thread is about to turn into a full-blown wheelie vs. 3-pointer debate...
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  17. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good advice Salty. Give her a chance.
     
  18. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    You guys are confirming my intuition. Mostly I just wanted to make sure I wasn't ignoring a problem just because I like her style. It's not that she's that great, but I've "tolerated" instructors I don't really get along with in the past just to get 'er done. It may also just be that I won't hate instructors as much now that I'm past the initial training. I really hated the constant jabbering in my ear on every flight, even during critical phases when I was overloaded. Just shut up for a minute and let me concentrate.

    She was very evasive about my questions on two wheel landings (this was on the ground after the flight) and it gave me the impression she didn't think there was much value in them at all. But it may simply have been she was avoiding skipping ahead of my progression.

    I also wasn't aware at the time that it was required to do both for the endorsement.
     
  19. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    In my Champ if I try to make a full stall landing it will touch down on the tailwheel first, and then the mains will kind of plop down afterwards.
    I find that that to make a smoother landing I touchdown just short of a full stall at the right attitude that puts all 3 wheels down at the same time, and then smoothly bring the stick back all the way on the rollout.
    You can also make tail low landings too, somewhat in between a 3-point and a wheel landing.

    On wheel landings some may trim it slightly nose heavy on final, and on main wheel touchdown just release the back pressure that you were holding.
    For training, I prefer to treat it as a kind of soft field landing, and add a few hundred RPM's to stretch it out and make the last few feet a very slow descent. On main wheel touchdown, smoothly add the forward pressure and bring the RPM's back, all the while keeping it straight down the runway with your feet, and compensating for any crosswind correction, increasing aileron as you slow. Once the tail is down, add full back stick and keep it there, just like taxiing.
    You can also practice this on a long runway with the tail up and rolling along on the mains, getting used to the attitude and control pressures involved.
    On a wheel landing, timing is the key, as to when, and how much you add the forward pressure.
     
  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Some airplanes are better wheel landers than others.

    I guarantee if you make a full stall landing in most taildraggers, the tailwheel will hit first. That's the only way to get a stall AOA. Controlled landings are NEVER "full stall" despite what people call them. There's no way most taildraggers are in a stall attitude with the mains on the ground.
     
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  21. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That.

    I way preferred wheelies in the Cessna 120, but hardly ever do them in the current LSA (for reasons that are not clear to me). B.D. Maule advocated the double womp tailwheel first for his designs - but that would put a 120 about 20 feet back into the air. (And, yes, I had to look up the initials.)
     
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  22. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    Without knowing the context of the conversation it sounds to me like she isn't that good at them herself and wants to avoid them when possible.

    But, landing procedures are different with different airplanes. I'd treat the tailwheel endorsement as simply a good checkout in one particular airframe/airplane. Another type might be similar or it might not be.
     
  23. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Very true,, just because you can fly and land a J-3 in both ways, don't believe for a second that you do it in a C-185.
     
  24. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    C-185 pilots don't appear to be aware of this.
     
  25. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

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    C-185 pilots will most likely be able to do the J-3 but not the other way around.
     
  26. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    I thought you were trying to say that you only 3-point or wheel land a 185 but not both. My experience is simply otherwise.
     
  27. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    The double womp (tailwheel first) landing was the natural result of trying to 3 point my Maule MX7-180A during tailwheel training. I went to the factory for my endorsement. The Maule person who trained me demonstrated a few wheelies and let me follow through but didn’t really have me fully demonstrate them.

    It later made sense to me. First, the Maule is best landed 3 point in all normal conditions including high crosswinds. The time required for the endorsement is not enough time to master the 3 pointer and the double womp is a good enough approximation to move on with.

    With the endorsement in hand I went out to get some real world experience. The double womp went away replaced by the 3 pointer. At that point I felt confident trying some wheelies. They were doable but didn’t really accomplish anything.

    Then I had a series of flat tailwheel tires (seemed to be related to a poorly designed tail dolly). Suddenly I had a reason to do some wheelies and again was able to do them without a problem.

    It’s fun and satisfying learning to fly a tailwheel. My experience is limited to a Maule but I it made me a better pilot.


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    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  28. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Tail dragger ground loop....

     
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  29. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    anal gland, damn dogs do it all the time, stickkkkkkkkkkkks!
     
  30. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Did she first learn in trikes?


    Always taught wheel landings first, three point next, end all on a tail low 2pt.

    As someone who leaned to fly in tailwheels, just seems like the natural progression.

    Before touch and goes, I'd do low passes, lot of them, hold her 6" off the deck, mains chirp, add power and keep on going.

    Once they get that down, same thing but cut the power when the mains chirp and keep on flying till the tail starts to die.

    After that's good, three points.
     
  31. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Makes sense but based on my limited Maule experience I’d qualify it by saying that it depends on the aircraft. If you did your initial training in a Maule by doing lowpasses, it would be 6” off, 3 point or tail whomp, power, try it again, etc.

    I’ve consistently read that certain aircraft prefer different techniques but in the end all of them can be 3 pointed and wheelied.
     
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  32. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    61.31 "Wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings);"
    So, apparently, the FAA thinks there are (or may be) some exceptions.
     
  33. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Some of the older warbirds must be landed three point to avoid prop strike, no? Perhaps it depends on the prop length.
     
  34. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sadly, someone prop striked the super cub so my training is delayed a bit. A neighbor agreed to teach me in his 170, but his time is hard to get....