Originally Posted by scsmith
Well, its confession time. After 400+ hrs in the RV-8, and over 500 hrs of total tailwheel time, I just groundlooped the RV-8. Fortunately nothing damaged but my ego and confidence. But...
Does this look familiar?
This video was taken on the dash cam of my RV-8 a year or two ago at Sulphur Springs Airport (KSLR). I can certainly identify with the feeling of helplessness when the aircraft CG moves outside the main gear and keeps going forward and sideways. Full rudder and brake didn't do a thing.
A couple of thoughts:
1. You may notice from the wind sock that I had a left quartering headwind. The AWOS said 17 knots, however the sock doesn't seem to be extended as much as I would have expected. You may not be able to tell, but there is a line of trees which parallels the runway on the left for the first 1200' or so, and that line of trees turns to the left and extends on a 45 deg. angle for a few more thousand feet. Google Earth clearly shows this. My guess is that this tree line blocked most of the crosswind until I lowered the tail on my wheel landing, when it effectively funneled the full force of the wind onto the runway at the point where things started going to pot.
2. You may hear some tire screeching during the first portion of the loop. That was the tail wheel, which was well scuffed. The mains were fine. I didn't have the stick full aft when I lowered the nose, which is a habit I have since worked on. BTW, it is a bit difficult to get full aft stick in and -8 with the aileron displaced, which compounds the problem.
3. You probably can't tell, but I lowered the tail early in the ground roll rather than waiting until it wouldn't stay up any longer. IMO, that contributed to the situation as you can see that the nose started to go left as soon as I lowered the nose. I don't do that anymore.
4. Finally, once I realized I no longer had control of the plane, I remembered an old Air Force instructors words: "Sometimes the plane knows how to fly when you don't". I just let off of the rudder and let it do what it wanted. It immediately stopped looping and straightened out, albeit 90 deg. to runway heading. Since the ground was wet I immediately added power once I was in the grass and under control again and was able to taxi back onto the runway with no damage other than mud inside my wheel pants and a scuffed tail wheel.
So here's my take: Keep the tail up as long as it will fly. Keep the stick full aft once the tail wheel is on the ground. Only land in a crosswind when no one is looking.
P.S. Forget everything. A review of the video showed a black crow which flew just across my nose just before things started getting interesting. I have decided to blame the ominous crow instead of anything I did. ;-)