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Old 05-11-2020, 03:07 PM
Felipemg Felipemg is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 3
Default New to taildraggers

I just solo'd on my RV4 (N7071J) and I'm new to tail-draggers, 1,400 hr private IFR used to fly a Piper Malibu where my approach and landing speeds were much higher.

I'm amazed of how slow you have to get in order to actually touch on all 3 wheels and I'm slowly getting used to these new parameters.

I've seen on this forum that there are 2 lines of thought on this issue, some argue to land on the mains then to slow down to lower the tail while the other argue to land on 3 even on x-wind conditions.

So far I've landed in nothing but calm conditions and 3 wheel landings, close to stall speed, have been relatively easy to learn but if feels a little exposed in the case of gusty x-wind conditions.

Can anyone share their experience on this subject to further my learning

Thank y'all for your help



Last edited by Felipemg : 05-11-2020 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:54 PM
Bicyclops Bicyclops is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: LA, California
Posts: 381

Check out the EAA webinar:

Mike Seager recommends 3 pointers first, then look at wheel landings later.

Ed Holyoke
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:09 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,092
Default Welcome to VAF

Felipe, welcome aboard the good ship VAF

RV4---jealous, I am.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:18 PM
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Dan 57 Dan 57 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: LSZF
Posts: 795

Good pointer from Ed.

Another one, runway < than say 1200’ = 3 pointers = shorter roll out.
> than say 1200” (or whatever, meaning for me it’s closer to 1K) choose whatever suits u. Basically I always 3point since it is what I learned first and runways can be pretty short around here...
In a nutshell, don’t set your approach speed to your ego, but on your aircraft characteristics, and those RVs fly surprisingly slow
Life's short... Enjoy!

RV-6.9 #25685, slider, O-360-A3A (carb/dual Lightspeed II), MTV-12-B, HB-YLL owner & lover
RV-4 #2062 HB-YVZ airframe builder
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:03 PM
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Mel Mel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 11,214

The short-wing RVs have a high enough wing loading and sit so low to the ground that cross winds are not a problem even in a 3-point. I 3-pointed my -6 about 95% of the time. My runway is 1500' long@640' elevation and I seldom had to use brakes.
Mel Asberry, DAR since the last century. Over 1,000 certifications accomplished. Discount for Veterans, Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters.
EAA Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor, Friend of the RV-1
Recipient of Tony Bingelis Award and Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
USAF Vet, High School E-LSA Project Mentor.
RV-6 Flying since 1993 (sold)
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:41 PM
Pilot8 Pilot8 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: California
Posts: 107

Mike Seager gave an EAA webinar earlier this weeked titled "Critical RV Flying Skills" that you might find insightful.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:59 PM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 382

Originally Posted by RV8JD View Post
Here are some articles by Van himself that may be of interest:
Articles: "How to Fly an RV", "How to Land an RV", and "How to Land an RV, Part 2".
Also, "The Compleat Taildragger Pilot" is a great book on flying taildraggers.
Part 2 mentions slow flying down the runway. I used this technique to help with wheel landing. I would fly down the runway at 75 - 80 mph in the RV-4 trying to keep the wheels just off. At some point the wheels will kiss and you have landed. Find a nice long runway.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:48 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,054

Here's a small tip that I've found helpful. On base or final, I wiggle my ankles. Sort of reminds them that I might need them and tells 'em to wake up.

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Old 05-12-2020, 12:33 AM
Shimoda Shimoda is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 34

I prefer to 3-point my RV4, & find the wheel landing more difficult ( achieve consistency).
I work to a 15kt x-wind personal limit, but have had no problem with x-wind 15G25kt... If I think it might be 'challenging' (as this case) I prefer the grass runway.
I always remember guidance from the guy who originally did my conversion training... his point was :
1)RVs have great control authority, even at stall speed, and
2) the tail has to come down sometime...better to touch-down 3-point at minimum speed, than wheel on, only to ground-loop when the tail comes down !
Just my 2c
PS - In a strong/gusty x-wind I also tend to select half-flap ? but I think that's more habit than anything, as I cant really feel much difference in roll-response, between that & full-flap
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:10 AM
Stoppel Stoppel is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Cole camp, mo
Posts: 24
Default Wheel landing

My RV4 seemed best when three pointing however my 8 does not seem to and I wheel land 99% of the time. In short do what the airplane feels best at. I prefer wheel landing because it gives more consistent rudder practice upon landing rollout. Agree with David Paule, my instructor always said the same thing on final, ?wake them feet up?
James Stoppel
RV8 Purchased Flying
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