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Taildragger three point vs wheel landings - Cultural?

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Taildragger three point vs wheel landings - Cultural?

Old 20th May 2015, 00:28
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Taildragger three point vs wheel landings - Cultural?

I was chatting with a learned colleague today, and he mentioned that US pilots tend to wheel land, and UK pilots tend to three point (with Canadians inevitably stuck in between).

He went on to say that typically US taildragger pilots were former military and the larger military taildraggers are more commonly wheel landed. Where UK taildragger pilots are typically more smaller plane pilots, an those are more commonly three pointed.

I had not considered this before, and I'm not sure I buy in..... any thoughts?
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Old 20th May 2015, 00:46
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Interesting question.

So I will offer my thoughts and my preference.

I learned on light tail wheel trainers and went to Ag flying on Cubs, Stearman's and Pawnees.

We used a lot of farmers fields with narrow roads and lots of rural gravel roads so wheel landing gave the best view of the road and better braking by lowering the nose to load the wheels.

Then I moved on the Beech 18 ( around a thousand hours on them. ) and then the DC3 ( around five thousand hours on them. ) so wheel landings became the norm.

For sure x/wind landings are easier wheel landing any tail wheel airplane I have ever flown and I just feel more comfortable wheel landing anyhow....so that is how I usually land all tail wheel airplanes...except the Pitts Special which I find is easier to three point.
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Old 20th May 2015, 00:58
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Chuck I've got about 500 hours in Maules, both from experience and advice from Ray Maule I always 3 point it even in strong x-winds, to the point I can't remember the last time I wheeled it in and would probably make an ass of it if I tried.
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Old 20th May 2015, 02:10
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Hi Piperboy.

These discussions are meant for each of us to relate our own personal thoughts on flying.

There is no one size fits all in flying.

We are safest when we use techniques that work best for each of us.

Of course there are some techniques that will work best for a given airplane and the situation at the time, but nothing is cast in stone.
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Old 20th May 2015, 06:02
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I can't remember the last time I wheeled it in and would probably make an ass of it if I tried.
That certainly applies to me. I was taught to three-point Chipmunks in the UK and almost all my tailwheel landings while glider towing in Canada have been three-pointers, including landings at the demonstrated cross-wind limit.

This year, I've rejoined my gliding club after an eight year absence overseas. There is now a new policy to do "low energy" tail-down wheel landings. This is in order to reduce the number of tailwheel spring failures that have been occurring, because the Scout has a tendency to touch down on the tail wheel first, when three-pointing.

I'm having a terrible time with this new technique. I must look like a beginning tail wheel pilot!
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Old 20th May 2015, 08:23
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I think StepTurn's observation is generally correct.

Certainly flying in the US instructors are surprised by my normal (UK) desire to three point.

But some of that comes from a fair amount of Auster flying. An aircraft which will happily wheel onto tarmac - but then has no brakes worth talking about! On grass, wheeling it is a just an opportunity to bounce all over the place.

My Emeraude would do either equally well and for strong cross winds was generally much better if wheeled on. You would lose a bit of directional control as the tail lowered, but by then the speed was low enough it did not really matter.
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Old 20th May 2015, 08:34
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Use the technique for the aircraft you are in.

I fly a tailwheel twin turbine for a living and it's always wheeled on never three pointed. Chipmunk I wheel on, Auster generally three point.

You should not have a dogmatic approach, adapt to the conditions and use the technique that best suits the type.
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Old 20th May 2015, 09:03
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It depends

As Bose-X said it should depend on the type of aircraft you are flying, for instance if you try to three point a DH rapide you will drop a wing due to tip stall and wreck the aircraft so that type you have to wheel on.

The Extra 300 is an aircraft that can be three pointed without a problem in the touchdown but if you are flying a mid wing extra you can see three tenths of naff all ahead in the tail down attitude.

The Chipmunk is just happy to do whatever you want but like the Extra the view is a bit limited if you three point it when flown from the from the back.
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Old 20th May 2015, 10:00
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I was first taught 3-pointers and later taught myself wheel landings. The Chippy is happy either way, though 3-point was my default. Citabria liked 3-point better than wheel probably because of it soft sprung gear. Cub OK either way.

I generally reserved wheel landings for strong wind days with consequent low ground speed on landing so the faster touch down wasn't a problem on short strips. And you could come to a stop with the tail still up, which was fun!
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Old 20th May 2015, 12:08
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I do both depending on a/c and conditions.

I wonder if it's something to do with most tailwheel flying in the UK is from grass strips rather than airports with long concrete runways? I've not been to the USA but get the impression that most "on airfield" flying is conducted from decent long runways which are often best "wheeled" on?

SS
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Old 20th May 2015, 13:10
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One clue is landing speed.
3 point landings imply low speed and high AOA. The aircraft is effectively stalled just above the ground. Fine for STOL types.
Higher performance types need to be wheeled on at higher speeds because they can have very poor low speed handling. The Mosquito was noted for being particularly evil at low speeds.
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Old 20th May 2015, 15:50
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I mostly fly a Luscombe and find myself wheeling it on unless the runway is particularly bumpy. The only reason is that I think it looks cooler.
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Old 20th May 2015, 16:58
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I mostly 3 point my Beagle A61 Terrier, but I can, and have wheeled it on quite a few occasions. It feels much easier and more natural to 3 point though, in any wind conditions.
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Old 20th May 2015, 21:31
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If a DR1050 mainwheel touches the ground first I wheel land. Otherwise I 3-point.
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Old 20th May 2015, 21:40
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Originally Posted by Step Turn View Post
I was chatting with a learned colleague today, and he mentioned that US pilots tend to wheel land, and UK pilots tend to three point (with Canadians inevitably stuck in between).
I can't say I have ever noticed any general bias toward wheel landings on the part of US pilots and my experience with 2 UK pilots was 50/50. Flying the Citabria; one almost always thee pointed and the other almost always wheeled it on.

When teaching the tailwheel conversion I always start with three point and only go to the wheel landing when those have been mastered. Personally I tend to 3 point the small taildraggers and wheel land the bigger ones with the cross over at about C 185 size.
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Old 20th May 2015, 22:32
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Big Pistons Forever
..... start with three point and only go to the wheel landing when those have been mastered
Agreed.


---

My preference -
Tiger Moth - 3 point on grass, tail low on hard runways.
Stampe - 3 point.
Chipmunk - 3 point unless very strong x/wind.
Harvard/Texan - as Chipmunk.
Beech 18 - always wheel. (Never flown it solo)
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Old 21st May 2015, 14:21
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Angel

On prepared runways, my Maule seems happy to do either, or both...

On rivers and lakes, tail-up is (allegedly) better than 3-point. Ditto for forward visibility to negotiate rocks, logs, badger setts and cow pats.

In the Alps, some folks park the back wheel first - which may be another way of saying that a D140's main gear is a tad short.

And then, some go to the other extreme:
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Old 21st May 2015, 14:48
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Wow, good video to keep in the back of your mind!

Beautiful scenery! I don't know what was behind the videographer, but I'm thinking it was not a fully equipped maintenance base, ready to change an engine and prop...
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Old 21st May 2015, 14:58
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He did keep it dead straight though
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Old 21st May 2015, 15:44
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It's a nice spot - where Sophie Marceau and Pierce Brosnan were filmed indulging in some traditional French winter (and mountain refuge) sports for the Bond movie, "The world is not enough": Lien4

As for maintenance, one shouldn't believe half of what is written on PPRuNe, but one story is that "sierra deux" was fitted with another prop and flew back to base...
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