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  #1  
Old 06-25-2015, 08:06 AM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
Posts: 4,514
Default Tail Wheel Miss-adventure

Tail wheel operations definitely is not like riding a bicycle.

The weather this summer has been unsettled; lots of cloudy, windy, rainy days, not conducive to routine local flight at all.

I did get off yesterday after a 12 day hiatus and returned with a firm determination to do it again ASAP. A self critique revealed landings were not good and even one take off was below par. So what's going on? Two weeks ago I was flying 3 and 4 days in a row, just short fights, and felt quite comfortable. Not yesterday.

Lack of TW experience is a factor but so is lack of attention to detail, especially addressing known bad habits. The worst is flaring too high and searching for the runway. On one take off, the airplane self launched crossing a hump at an intersection with another runway. That was exciting for a few moments as the airplane was hung on the prop at about 55 knots. I should have slow taxied across that hump or crossed it with forward stick, which can be dicey at low speed.

The only good news is there were no bounces. I've learned to forward stick it even after the worst search for the runway landing. That saved it but is totally unacceptable.

Practice, practice as Van advised flying the RV years ago. It is so true.

There is a pilot skill range in this business and it behooves each of us to determine where we fit and deal with it. Even the best of the best, like Sean Tucker, practice, practice what they do. It is a part of what we do.

Most experienced TW guys do not have to practice landings, but I do. The flying part is fun, the landing part is a constant challenge.
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Last edited by David-aviator : 06-25-2015 at 09:04 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2015, 11:24 AM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
 
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Location: Battleground
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Default

I have over 1500 hours tail wheel and I still practice, quite often.
Sounds like you are wheeling it on primarily. I would encourage you to focus on three points. I know quite a few new tail wheel folks that feel more comfortable flying it on than doing a full stall landing. Make sure good three pointers are in your tool box!
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2015, 11:59 AM
Icarus Icarus is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: D.C.
Posts: 304
Default Ask...

Just ask the tower folks at KLHW...They would swear all I ever do is practice TO/LDGs. In reality the airport is right outside my work so it makes for easy short hops. Keep at it!
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2015, 02:56 PM
Tom Martin Tom Martin is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
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One thing that I have found helpful for three points is to flare, get proper tail low attitude and then try NOT to land the plane. Use minor elevator movements to keep the plane off the runway but as close to the runway as you can. Eventually you will run out of airspeed and it will settle nicely to the ground. The higher your speed at flare, the more difficult it is going to be to nail the landing. Floating over the runway for a while lets you bleed off this speed. With practice you can reduce your landing speed at the flare to control the float time and reduce the landing distance required. Practice Not landing and see if it helps.
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2015, 09:10 PM
luddite42 luddite42 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-aviator View Post
That was exciting for a few moments as the airplane was hung on the prop at about 55 knots. I should have slow taxied across that hump or crossed it with forward stick, which can be dicey at low speed.
Though if you go to altitude, and really see how slowly the airplane will fly with FULL throttle (maintaining altitude), you'll see that you weren't really close to stalling the airplane - especially in ground effect.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2015, 05:50 AM
WVM WVM is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Belgium
Posts: 248
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Martin View Post
One thing that I have found helpful for three points is to flare, get proper tail low attitude and then try NOT to land the plane. Use minor elevator movements to keep the plane off the runway but as close to the runway as you can. Eventually you will run out of airspeed and it will settle nicely to the ground. The higher your speed at flare, the more difficult it is going to be to nail the landing. Floating over the runway for a while lets you bleed off this speed. With practice you can reduce your landing speed at the flare to control the float time and reduce the landing distance required. Practice Not landing and see if it helps.
Thinking about it, this is actually a logical advice but never looked at it this way. Thanks for sharing!
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2015, 11:48 AM
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Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
 
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Location: Savannah, GA
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I've found that mental attitude is a big factor. If I'm distracted, fatigued or unenthusiastic, that shows up in my tailwheel skills, esp if I'm trying to do *perfect* landings.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2015, 12:08 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
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Lots of good points expressed here, something to work on so as not be bored with flying.

Now if it would stop raining. My former home, the Troy Airpark about 35 miles north, has had 13" of rain since last Sunday. The airpark is ok, it is plenty high and well drained but all the roads getting there are flooded, the second time this week.

Its beginning to look like '93 when St. Louis last flooded. An occluded front is lying across the state NE to SW and it is not moving.
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Last edited by David-aviator : 06-26-2015 at 01:39 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2015, 01:14 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
 
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Location: SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-aviator View Post
...Most experienced TW guys do not have to practice landings, but I do. The flying part is fun, the landing part is a constant challenge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonJay View Post
I have over 1500 hours tail wheel and I still practice, quite often.
Sounds like you are wheeling it on primarily. I would encourage you to focus on three points. I know quite a few new tail wheel folks that feel more comfortable flying it on than doing a full stall landing. Make sure good three pointers are in your tool box!
I'm with JJ on this one! I too practice landings. Sometimes it might just be at the end of a trip and I wasn't happy with my landing so I'll do three quick circuits before heading to the barn.

A friend once told me on Base to sit up, wiggle the rudders, and say out loud, "I am landing a taildragger, pay attention!"

I've gotten to the point that I don't worry about the crosswinds any more but I must admit, it has taken me a LONG time to get to that point and I wouldn't have it any other way!
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  #10  
Old 06-26-2015, 02:16 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonJay View Post
I have over 1500 hours tail wheel and I still practice, quite often.
Sounds like you are wheeling it on primarily. I would encourage you to focus on three points. I know quite a few new tail wheel folks that feel more comfortable flying it on than doing a full stall landing. Make sure good three pointers are in your tool box!
Three pointers in the tool box?

I do quite well 3 pointing a Citabria. But in the 8 a 3 point landing is no where near stalled or ready to quit flying. What is the point of landing like that? If one goes for a stall landing, the tail wheel touches first. What is the point of landing like that?

Wolfgang Langewiesche was right in "Stick and Rudder", there is a better way to land an airplane than stalling it in or 3 pointing it.

His take on wheel landings is a good read. It was written at a time when most airplanes were tail draggers. He felt the stall landing was out of control and unsafe. What has changed that makes 3 pointing so important today vrs in 1944? I don't get it.

What I know for sure is the 8 feels better wheel landing than attempting to stall it in or 3 pointing it. That is my experience.

The Citabria feels great 3 pointing it, the RV-8 does not.

That's not to say I won't try 3 pointing the 8 again, I don't give up easy.
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