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Something worth considering?

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Something worth considering?

Old 2nd Apr 2011, 21:21
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Something worth considering?

Whilst accruing hours would it be worth obtaining a tail wheel conversion, no essential requirement, however why not use the opportunity to do something new. Similarly also considering aerobatics, further suggestions welcome. Located Newcastle on Tyne.

I am rather partial to the Tiger Moth as well as other war birds.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 21:35
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Jet Provost group at Newcastle. Closer to a Warbird than a Tiger Moth?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 21:37
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In a word, YES!!

Taildraggers open up a whole world of more interesting aircraft and flying that will add so much to your flying experience and fun. All the worthwhile aerobatic aircraft are taildraggers, so that ought to tell you something. If you have an interest in strip flying or vintage airplanes, a tailwheel endorsement is a must!

As for the Tiger Moth, it's a terrible, horrible beastie that masochists only fly out of some warped sense of nostalgia, certainly not pleasure. Why anyone would ever fly one without the threat of court martial hanging over their head is beyond me. Of over 15 types of aircraft I have flown, none holds even a distant second to it in terms of horribleness. Go to Cambridge and do an hour in one just to confirm what I've said and so you can put the desire to rest, then go find something actually worth flying. Nasty things.

Last edited by Pitts2112; 2nd Apr 2011 at 23:08.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 22:06
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It pains me to say it but I agree with P2112. I owned a Tiger Moth for a year - flew it rarely and nowadays you couldn't even give one to me!

Don't go to Cambs - save your money!

--------------------------

P2112 - as promised, I flew yr little pocket rocket yesterday, she is going very well. HOWEVER with a 20kt quarteing t/wind on very, very short grass at Old Buck (they were cutting the grass when I arrived - I cursed that tailwheel! I think that the tyre has far less rubber in contact the surface than the std 1 1/4" Maule and that lack of friction caused for an interesting taxi! It was fine later on a second destination with tarmac and the same wind vectors. Certainly helps her go fast though! Anyway no major drama. She's all cleaned and tucked up! Spring has sprung, dude!
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 03:34
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 08:39
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Go to Cambridge and do an hour in one just to confirm what I've said and so you can put the desire to rest, then go find something actually worth flying. Nasty things.
Completely agree, though I could see the charm in a way; but it did get the idea 'out of my system'.

Not that Cambridge were anything other than charming and friendly - it just reminded me how much progress we have made in aviation!

Tim
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 08:42
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Perhaps it is worth considering a more speaking title for this thread? "Tail dragger" for just one example?
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 11:18
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Absolutely yes.

Tailwheel differences training opens up a lot of very interesting aeroplanes that you'd otherwise not get to fly (I can't speak for the Tiger Moth, never having flown one, but am a definite fan of the Chipmunk, amongst others), and also many of the cheaper aeroplanes to do fun flying in are taildraggers. Plus, it introduces handling skills that will benefit you in all of your flying.

I also agree - the title could have been a bit more informative. Mind you, it's a common sin.

G
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 18:20
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would it be worth obtaining a tail wheel conversion
Yes. As you say, it's an opportunity to try something new while accruing hours.

Re the Tiger Moth
A wonderful aircraft to have flown. (Note the past tense.)
However, the reality is that although Brits tend to wax lyrical about the Tiger Moth, the Belgian Stampe and the American Stearman, which were designed and built in the same era, are better aircraft.
I was thrilled when I first flew a Tiger Moth at the Tiger Club, and tootling over the countryside in a classic open-cockpit biplane is an enjoyable experience but, after I'd been checked out to fly the Stampe, only took a Tiger Moth if there wasn't a Stampe available. It's much more responsive (ailerons on both wing surfaces) and much more fun. Perhaps if I'd done more hours in the Tiger Moth I'd have a different view. It's relatively easy to fly, but difficult to fly well - I didn't get to that stage.
The Stearman is a wonderful aircraft, a joy to fly. Significantly bigger than the other two but excellent handling qualities.
In order of preference of that vintage, I'd say Stearman, Stampe (almost a tie, but for different reasons) and then Tiger Moth.

Chipmunk
I agree with Genghis. I learnt to fly on Chipmunks and, like everyone who did, consider myself very fortunate to have had that opportunity. It really is a wonderful aircraft - perfectly balanced.

Similarly also considering aerobatics
Well worth considering.
Even if you don't progress to serious aeros, aerobatic experience is very useful. It's a great confidence builder because you get to know the aircraft and get used to unusual attitudes - and recovering from them when a manoeuvre doesn't work out as planned.

as well as other war birds
When you've built up some experience in one or more of the above - particularly in a Chipmunk - I recommend flying a Harvard. I used to have a third share in this one.



I had serious misgivings when we sold it and have regretted doing so ever since.

FL
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 19:41
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Chaps I am sincerely grateful for all of your feedback - Thank you!

Title well one must confess, I was hoping a little left to the imagination would capture the inquisitive....
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 20:03
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Learning to fly a taildragger wil make you a better pilot
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 23:14
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Flying Lawyer and AfricanEagle have both made eloquent points, and I agree with everything they've said. Flying a taildragger WILL make you a better pilot both on the ground and in the air.

On the ground for obvious reasons but some not so obvious, as well. Because most of them tend to be high wing and lightweight, they are very susceptible to winds while taxying. They will teach you to sharpen up your wind awareness on the ground, which translates well to any other aircraft. Because of this, they have to be flown all the way to the hangar, not just to the touchdown. You can often identify a poorly-trained nose-wheel only pilot on landing because as soon as the nosewheel is on the ground, you'll see the elevators droop as the pilot instantly drops the backpressure because "the flying is done". That's not great technique in most airplanes, but it is essential to get it right in a taildragger.

They may teach you to be a better pilot in the air, too because most of what you will have available to you is likely to be vintage stuff - ie no systems, bugger-all in the avionics department, low-powered, with big, long wings and loads and loads of adverse yaw. Training in a C152 or a PA28 will not give you experience with those. You'll learn how to use the rudder to counteract those fistfuls of adverse yaw (not true in all types, but more likely than spamcans as a class). These traits will all teach you to manage your energy better, handle your controls much better, and to learn to fly with all of your senses and your head out the window ('cause there's nothing worth looking at inside!). After a few hours you'll be able to know your engine RPMs by sound, your airspeed range by the feel of the controls, your height by the size of the trees (if they're too small, you aren't low enough!), and your heading by the position of the sun. OK, I'm kidding on that one, but you'll find flying a much more visceral experience that pulls in your whole body to paint a complete picture.

As for specific types, the Stearman is the class leader. It's big, it's loud, it's brash, it's...well, it's American in every bombastic sense of the 1940 definition of the word. And it's lovely to fly. It handles like a big Cub and open cockpit flying is something that everyone should experience as much as possible in life. That is one airplane where the nostalgia is entirely appropriate. I remember when a newly rebuilt one showed up at Leicester one afternoon, all shiny and clean, and a bunch of us went out to look at it parked on the ramp.

"Will you look at all that stuff hanging out in the breeze there?", one chap commented. "All those wires and the fat landing gear and struts and stuff. There must be a hell of a lot of drag".

pause while we all considered that comment.

"Yeah", someone finally said. "But it's VINTAGE drag!" General agreement all round that it was, indeed, glorious, golden, vintage drag.

Can't comment on the Stampe except by reputation, and all of which I've heard matches with FL's post.

I completely concur with FL's assessment of the Tiger Moth (a great airplane to have flown, much like Scunthorpe is a great place to be from). However, I really don't think enough has been made in these posts of the true horribleness of the Tiger Moth. Seriously. It's nastiness as an aeronautical abortion has only just been hinted at in these pages. I can't say "words cannot describe" because there are words that can describe the horrendous hideousness of the beast, but none of those words are appropriate for a family show. Really. There should be a special place in Hell reserved for the designers (we can't call them "aeronautical engineers" because they clearly showed that they weren't) where they have to spend eternity trying to make coordinated turns and trim the bastard, all at the same time.

As for the Harvard, it's clearly the next evolution of the Stearman and they make a perfect pair. Once you've got a fair few hours of tailwheel time, go try out the Harvard. WITH tailwheel experience, you can concentrate on the issues of size, power, complex systems, and mass. Your piloting skills will also be much sharper, so your ability to cope with the new things will be much improved. WITHOUT tailwheel time, you'll lose track of which is which as you try to get the hang of the little round thing at the back as well as all the other issues. My opinion, anyway.

But it's not a fire-breathing warbird that will take you tearing across the sky in blazing glory (not until you taxy up in front of the crowd at the restaurant, anyway ). It is, after all, a trainer, and is sort of the C152 of its day - it's stable, reasonably benign, and not terribly fast or powerful. Its purpose was to teach instrument flying, formation, and complex systems and, for its time, it was magnificent at all those. In many ways, the experience of flying it today is about the systems and job of the airplane more than its performance. If you want true wardbird flying, save up your pennies and head to Stallion 51 in Kissimmee and get an hour in a Mustang.

Anyway, pontification closed for the afternoon. Time to go grab a beer.

Cheers!
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 00:29
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I completely concur with FL's assessment of the Tiger Moth (a great airplane to have flown, much like Scunthorpe is a great place to be from). However, I really don't think enough has been made in these posts of the true horribleness of the Tiger Moth. Seriously. It's nastiness as an aeronautical abortion has only just been hinted at in these pages. I can't say "words cannot describe" because there are words that can describe the horrendous hideousness of the beast, but none of those words are appropriate for a family show. Really. There should be a special place in Hell reserved for the designers (we can't call them "aeronautical engineers" because they clearly showed that they weren't) where they have to spend eternity trying to make coordinated turns and trim the bastard, all at the same time.
There must be something perverse in my nature, but the more I read stuff like this, the more I want to fly one.

G
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 01:08
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Perverse is the right word

And I completely understand, which is why I had to go and do it for myself.

I did two hours, the second because I thought nothing could be that unpleasant to fly and I must have been having a really off day on my first.

I wasn't. It is.

As always, though, YMMV.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 14:49
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Learning to fly a taildragger wil make you a better pilot
Learning to fly a conventional gear airplane without a skid instead of a tailwheel makes you a better pilot?

Why?
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 15:09
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May someone kindly share/PM me the contact details of Dai Heather-Hayes? I much rather prefer his approach to aerobatic flying. Moreover, the chap is a gentalman who always makes time to address any concerns or questions.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 18:30
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Rugbyears

I've lost Dai's number but if you contact either the Scottish Aero Club or Leading Edge Flight Training (both at Perth) they should be able to give it to you, or pass on a message.
I flew with him many times years ago (mainly night cargo in King Airs, but also in his Pitts) and share your high opinion of him. An outstanding pilot and FI, and one of life's great characters. If you make contact, please pass on my regards.

Two more ideas for your hours building:

(1) Flying on skis

Meribel Altiport
Great fun. And you learn a lot about mountain flying, even if you don't do a full mountain flying course.

(2) Floatplane flying
An ambition I've yet to fulfil, but those who have highly recommend it.


Tudor Owen
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 19:48
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I agree with all the comments about the Chipmunk and the Stearman - wonderful aircraft. Like FL, I learned on a UAS Chipmunk and I have recently flown a Stearman in NZ. I also had a Harvard ride, and unlike the Stearman, which I was very comfortable in, I felt it would take a while to come to grips with the Harvard and its extra complexity.

Genghis, you should definitely fly a Tiger. I've had two flights, one in Australia and one at Sandown. Two things stood out for me - the way it climbed like a lift at a ridiculously slow speed and the graphic demonstration of form drag when I closed the throttle and didn't lower the nose. And of course, it's an open cockpit - always a good thing.

Here's an impressive demonstration of what you can do in a Tiger with enough practice and skill - an eight point roll!

http://www.pprune.org/dg-p-general-a...ml#post6327984

FL, you must try float flying - flying combined with "messing about in boats". I used to say it was the most fun I've had in the air, but that was before I had a dual flight in a Bell 47G.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 07:12
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I read somewhere that the Harvard has the same power/weight as the Tiger Moth. Not having flown either I'm not sure whether this statement is meaningful except for the mass and fuel burn

Rugbyears - I recommend both tailwheel and aerobatics endorsements. They will help with your airmanship asiude from being wonderful fun.

Ultralights are also heaps of fun, challenging in their own way and for pure flying enjoyment. The Maxair Drifter taildragger especially. Perched on the end of a broomstick with nothing around you and getting airborne for the first time is a unique experience that I can highly recommend.

Personally I've had as much fun flying Drifter ultralights low and slow in the Philippines as the various types of Pitts S2s that I've competed in.

Stampe and Cap10 are on my taildragger wish list.
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Old 6th Apr 2011, 22:44
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Wink

Gents,

A very interesting read, thank you!
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