Is flying a tailwheel plane that different?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by motoadve, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. motoadve

    motoadve Pre-takeoff checklist

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  2. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    Taking off and landing—different. Climbing, cruising, descending—not different.
     
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  3. colojo

    colojo Line Up and Wait

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    Flying a tailwheel plane is no different. Taxiing, takeoffs and landings are VERY different.

    Edit: Kenny and I posted at the same time.
     
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  4. motoadve

    motoadve Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I forgot to mention in the video is that the Cessna 170 needs to lead every turn with rudder, because of adverse yaw, which does not happen in the 182 or CJ6 I fly.
     
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  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    Not completely true in all instances. If the nosewheel is a typical Cessna or Piper and the tailwheel is typical rag & tube you'll keep learning about the need to pay attention to the rudder even in flight.

    Bingo! It's the same in spades with my Husky. You don't even think about starting a roll without getting on the rudder, or the nose is heading the wrong way immediately (and rapidly).
     
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  6. kkoran

    kkoran Cleared for Takeoff

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  7. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    Certainly. But you missed the point. And your examples are the exception, not typical of the differences between the vast majority of nosewheel vs tailwheel airplanes out there in the fleet.
     
  8. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The more tailwheel time you have, the less different it is.
     
  9. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pick up an arrow or dart and throw it “feathers first”.

    TW aircraft are similar due to CG aft of Main Wheels.

    Fly it till it’s tied down.

    You WILL be a better pilot for the experience though!
     
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  10. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Nope! Flying a tailwheel plane is virtually the same as flying any other. It’s when one or more wheels is in contact with the ground that it becomes QUITE different.

    In a practical sense there is often also a difference while in the air. Most of the GA tailwheel planes are incredible small and lightly wing loaded. That makes them much more agile, but also more susceptible to being pitched around by gusty winds and bumpy air.

    All this makes them a wonderful challenge and an absolute HOOT to fly.
     
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  11. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    It shouldn't be if you are doing it right but it is because people get lazy.
     
  12. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    The only significant difference is pushing the stick forward to get the tail flying first on take off. Other than that, it's just a matter of remembering that you actually have to use the rudder.
     
  13. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    Main difference is your swagger walking to and from the ramp.
     
  14. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I went to get my tail wheel endorsement the first thing the instructor did was take me over to where a C-172 & a Champ were parked. He then said, "There is no real difference between these airplanes." Seeing the curiosity on my face at his statement he continued, "They will both do exactly what you tell them to do."

    Yes there is a difference but my instructor remarked that my ultralight flying days gave me an early indication of what those pedal things on the floor are for. I'm working on it and one day I'm gonna be good at it ... or at least that's the goal! :)

    Edit: I will add ... if I can learn it, anyone can.
     
  15. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Paying your insurance bill is a bit different.
     
  16. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Except there are some taildraggers where that isn't as appropriate as others.
    In my experience there are some conventional gear setups that handle a bit differently - bungee vs spring steel for instance can be fun if you aren't mentally sharp, which leads to the real issue - humility, wisdom, and proficiency, are all good traits for a conventional gear pilot.
     
  17. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    You fly a taildragger that doesn’t lift the tail itself on the takeoff roll?
     
  18. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The difference is minimal once you have 100 hours of tailwheel time. In the case of a Vans RV it’s about 100 a year extra for the tailwheel versions.
     
  19. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It depends on where the CG is located. With a 210lb guy in the backseat if I don’t raise the tail it will fly off in a 3 point attitude. Solo the tail comes up nicely with no forward stick.
     
  20. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    I can't see a thing over the nose in 3 point attitude, so depending on how much activity there is at the airport I sometimes forcefully raise the nose, sometimes not.

    The tailwheel itself makes no difference in the air, but most tailwheel aircraft are older designs, and most older designs have more adverse yaw and more rudder authority.
     
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  21. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I just crossed 100, I sure hope so.
     
  22. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel En-Route

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    That may or may not be true depending on what you've flown in the past and what particular tailwheel plane you're flying now. If you occasionally stab blindly at the correct rudder pedal while turning in a 172 you will likely be able to keep it more or less coordinated in a turn. But there are many older tailwheel planes that are not nearly as forgiving in this respect.

    So my answer would be they are very different in taxi takeoff and landing and they may be somewhat different in the air depending on that plane and your experience and skill.
     
  23. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Got my PPL in a J-3. Tailwheel was non-steerable, just like the front wheel on a supermarket shopping cart. Only did one insignificant ground loop pre-solo. Good X-wind that day. I'm puzzled why today, one needs 15 hrs with a CFI. When I soloed, students were routinely soloed in six to ten hours in Cubs, Champs, Cessnas & Luscombes. It is totally learnable for average people.
     
  24. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The RVs are disproportionately cheap on insurance anyway. With planes like a Cessna 180 vs 182, conventional Maule vs. tri-Maule and you will see huge differences. 4-seats vs 2 probably contributes too
     
  25. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    The most fun I had flying was a 7AC Champ
    Part of that might have been because I had just recently finished my instrument rating so it was a really nice break.... just simple
    it just felt right cruising low and slow.... to me every plane had a minimum altitude that felt comfortable, and in my experience the champ was the lowest

    that said, I never did get the sign off. Looking back, I feel like the tail wheel was mis-rigged and would shimmy like the dickens...I just couldn't get used to it.
     
  26. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    My first seven hours were in a champ. It was so hungry for rudder attention that I went away from it with trained and attentive feet. TheChamp was real hoot.
     
  27. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    Its been my experience that you keep the tailwheel pinned to the deck with full aft stick until you reach the speed at which the tail will fly. Then, its a positive movement to push the stick forward and make the tail fly. Thats the way I was taught, and the way I've always done it, whether its a Citabria, a Cessna 140, or a Pitts.
     
  28. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    And the glares of envy from the taildragger-deprived...
     
  29. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    No puzzle at all. One of the Seven Learning Factors is Primacy, which says this:

    PRIMACY - Present new knowledge or skills correctly the first time. (Teach it right the first time.)

    (a) When students are presented with new knowledge or skills, the first impression received is almost unshakeable. This means that what you teach must be correct the first time. Students may forget the details of lessons, but will retain an overall image of the skill or knowledge for a long time.

    The student who learns to fly in a trike never learns how to use the rudder, or the other controls for that matter, to instantly stop any deviation from the intended heading or attitude. He's therefore already handicapped when he starts learning the taildragger.

    I did quite a few taildragger checkouts. I came up with a term: Somnopedosis. Means "sleepy feet."
     
  30. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Not misrigged. The tailspring pack was bent. It gets that way from being whacked down on the runway. When it loses its curvature, the tailwheel pivot axis gets tipped forward, an absolutely certain way to get tailwheel shimmy. And a real good way to get a broken tailpost if it's allowed to continue. Been there, done that. Repair isn't cheap.
     
  31. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's only different in the ground loop....o_O
     
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  32. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I never taught "pinning the tailwheel" other than after landing in a crosswind. Holding it down hard not only spins that tiny wheel up to awesome speeds, it wears the tire and it can flatten the tailspring pack so the wheel wants to shimmy all the time. Even if the pack is brand-new you can induce shimmy by putting a lot of aerodynamic load on the wheel and flattening the springs.
     
  33. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    The thing with taildraggers is that landing options are many compared to a trike. You can raise the tail high soon after rolling to get better visibility and to get better traction on the mains in a crosswind takeoff. You can take off with the tail really low to get better STOL or soft-field performance. You can land three-point, or do a tail-low wheel landing (lower airspeed) or a tail-high wheel landing (higher airspeed) for various crosswinds. You can raise the tail after touchdown to kill the lift and get better traction for braking, but you'd better know what you're doing there if you don't want a noseover.

    A taildragger pilot knows what a lot of trike pilots don't seem to know: the flight isn't over just because the wheels are on the ground.

    Taildraggers will lift their tailwheel off the ground before liftoff if the elevator is left slack. If they don't the airplane is loaded well beyond the aft CG limit. The center of lift is aft of the main wheels and the CG, meaning that as lift increases with airspeed the tail will come up. Simple geometry.
     
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  34. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There is no need to hold the tailwheel down with full aft controls on most tail wheels. I personally can’t think of any where that is necessary.

    For most tailwheels, holding the stick neutral (obviously applying aileron for x-wind as necessary) works best. Some airplanes will naturally fly off right from the three point attitude and others the tail will lift off first and then the airplane will fly off when ready.

    Very few airplanes need the pilot to push the controls forward to get the tail up. The DC-3 is one of those. Try that same technique in the Beech 18 and you’ll ground loop it on takeoff.
     
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  35. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I learned on a J3, believe me holding the nose up is different.
     
  36. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel En-Route

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    Watching the youtube 'expert' tailwheel pilots I could swear the proper technique is to lift the tail as high as possible as soon as possible and then slam it down to the ground hard as you force the mains in the air. :stirpot:
     
  37. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Actually, trim it correctly, and allow it to fly away.

    learn correctly, before you try to show off.
     
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  38. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    and taxiing...
     
  39. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is not true for a F1 Rocket with a aft but in range CG and the sport wing. The aircraft will fly before the tail lifts.
     
  40. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach

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    not really. Its just an airplane that is less forgiving on the ground.
     
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