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tail dragger difficulty?

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tail dragger difficulty?

Old 29th Nov 2017, 18:13
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Never had any problem crabbing taildraggers into cross wind landings. You can use either method. I preferred the crab. But of course the crab method assumes that by the time you touch down you will have removed the crab and gone to a 'slip' to remain aligned with the
You're a braver man than me SSD, I start with the crab when turning final (for passenger comfort and ease) but convert to a slip on short final to get a measure of what cross control is needed and indeed if I've got enough authority to keep it straight. I would not have the bottle nor the reaction time to figure it all out AND hope to get it straight between roundout and booting the rudder to de-crab in the final seconds of touch down.

Last edited by piperboy84; 29th Nov 2017 at 19:50.
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Old 29th Nov 2017, 20:07
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I have to say I'm with Piperboy. The advantage of the slip is that if you can maintain it on short finals (very short), then you should have enough control authority during the holdoff and not have to rely upon the correctly applied and timed uncrab and there being less wind on the runway than on finals.
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Old 29th Nov 2017, 20:09
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a) When from the cockpit, the prop turns clockwise, the nose will pull left when power is added.
b) When lifting the tail the nose pulls left or right?

With FULL power for take off, you WILL have a boot of right rudder in.
4 factors play here:
- The P factor from lowering the nose (or lifting the tail) name it as you like.
- The friction of the tailwheel on the grass/asfalt
- The propwash/windforce on the rudder
- The speed you have when you nose over to level position (raise the tail)

At very low speed, the tailwheel does most of the steering, but as speed increases, the rudder does most of the work.

In an ideal situation, you raise the tail at the exact speed that the rudder takes over from the tailwheel, hereby NOT requiring, a rudder correction when you raise the tail.

Remember the "old and heavy tailwheel airplanes.

When lined up with the runway => LOCK the tailwheel.
Keep the tail on the ground and let the tailwheel keep things inline. (With right rudder and aileron for the propwash )

Lift the tail only when you "feel" the rudder response take over from the locked tailwheel.
Or:
Lift off in 3 point, level off a few feet from the ground and let the speed build up to best climb. => Gear, Flaps, and up it goes.
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Old 29th Nov 2017, 20:16
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I think Piperboy and I are in agreement. Crab the final approach, go to wing-down slip on short final. What I find doesn't feel right is flying the entire final wing-down.
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Old 29th Nov 2017, 20:51
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I would hesitate to say teach yourself to fly a tail wheel aircraft but I guess you could.

Some are more docile than others but they can all bite if you use poor technique.

My 2c (take it or leave it - I regularly instruct on tail wheels so this comes from my experiences converting nose wheel pilots)

Issues:

1. starting -

normally into wind and with stick back to prevent nose overs

2. taxiing -

the aircraft is directionally unstable and can get out of line quickly and will only get more out of line unless appropriately corrected.

the aircraft's wings are at a higher angle of attack and in winds can make life fun
You need to be on the ball when taxiing

you need to keep weight on the tail wheel for directional authority - that at times can mean stick out of wind depending on wind direction

the aircraft will have a strong tendency to turn into wind making taxiing challenging when faced with crossing winds.

watch harsh braking in case tail lifts

3. Take off -

the aircraft is directionally unstable. If it gets out of line it will progressively get worse until it gets nasty unless appropriately corrected.

the aircraft tends to have more swing than nose wheels because during the takeoff roll you will have to push forward to a take off attitude at a speed when you have lower rudder authority.

you need to keep the stick back early in the roll to get directional authority via the tail wheel or skid and then relax the stick as speed builds then actively forward to get a take off attitude as you get more authority

any 'pumping' of the elevator to fine tune or correct the take off attitude will cause swings in different directions.

in a cross wind the weather cock tendency can also add interest to your life

4. landing

- you need to decide what sort of landing you are going to be doing - wheeler or 3 point. Different aircraft may favour one over the other and different conditions favour one over the other. Both use a different landing technique and rely on accurate judgement of nose attitude.

- once on the ground the aircraft is directionally unstable and if it gets out of line it will get worse unless appropriately corrected.

- people unused to tail wheel aircraft have the tendency to relax on the stick or column after touchdown and the tail will lift and this will usually result in a swing. Commonly they will correct for this by pulling back resulting in a swing the other way. The aircraft starts to gyrate left and right as they pump the elevator back and forth. What happens next is a toss up between the amount of directional control they can maintain with the rudder against decreasing rudder authority as the speed decreases. Sometimes they win and remain on the runway. Sometimes they don't.

- depends on type but many don't have good forward vis so you need to be able to use your peripheral vision to judge aircraft height and path through the flare.

- you need to be able to accurately pick the 3 point attitude and if doing wheelers, an appropriate landing attitude.

5. Flying -

this bit does depend on type but most tailwheel aircraft have a powerful rudder (to assist with directional control at low speeds). This means that whilst you still use rudder to counter adverse yaw in flight the amount and feel is different. Typically you will need it or the plane flies out of balance but you need more finesse (rather than 'boots') or it flies out of balance the other way

That may all sound very complicated - it isn't and can be easily picked up as second nature if you get someone to show you and monitor you.

You could teach yourself to do it by reading and looking at the internet. I think however that is not the wisest path or the most efficient.

I reckon it would be way smarter to get someone to show you the attitudes, show you the techniques and allow you to develop the feel for the procedure. A few hours of dual instruction would be safer and teach you way more than you will get by teaching yourself.
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Old 29th Nov 2017, 22:04
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I think you need an instructor sign-off for tailwheel in your log-book. This might not be done in your Rans.
It would be a very high risk activity to fly your early hours in the Rans without someone capable of sorting out a pilot-induced-oscilation on the runway.
Grass is far easier than hard surface. Don't do your first hard surface landing solo.
Take-off should be no problem. Landing is likely to be no problem - until after your gentle touch-down, on the centre line, in nil wind, and you relax
Keep looking at the end of the runway, and immediately you correct, counter correct. And be very wary of any tailwind component..
(Grandfather rights to tailwheel, 1700+ tailwheel hours.)
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 00:03
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and you relax
'Never let myself do that while flying taildragger!
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 07:12
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
'Never let myself do that while flying taildragger!
Oh, you can. Once it's either tied down or in the hangar 😀
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 09:48
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford View Post
On landing, you should be all over the pedals (and brakes if you have/need them) ...

Sam,,,,,,,,,Really.


Very rarely that I disagree with Sam . My own personal opinion is stay away from them brakes. Unless that hedge at the end is getting really , REALLY big.


Golly , I hope none of those Tiger Moth chappies are reading this..
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 09:48
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Of course its much easier to take off in a taildragger with a nice big Lycoming and a glider attached to the 150 foot rope.... the glider pilot pays for your flight!
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 11:43
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Originally Posted by Chris Martyr View Post
My own personal opinion is stay away from them brakes. Unless that hedge at the end is getting really , REALLY big.
Agree fully here. Brakes are for steering rather than stopping, especially in a tail wheel aeroplane, and even then should only be used in landing if absolutely called for (e.g a swing developing that full corrective rudder isn't holding - a touch of appropriate brake may be needed to save the day).
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Old 30th Nov 2017, 13:32
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Originally Posted by Chris Martyr View Post
Sam,,,,,,,,,Really.


Very rarely that I disagree with Sam . My own personal opinion is stay away from them brakes. Unless that hedge at the end is getting really , REALLY big.


Golly , I hope none of those Tiger Moth chappies are reading this..

In general, I agree but I can apply lots of brake on my Kitfox (though rarely needed) before the tail will rise (with stick held hard back).


I suspect that this is true of many tail heavy taildraggers but, of course, they are more likely to ground loop so make sure the brakes are balanced!


Incidentally, although there is still some mystique attached to taildragging, if you get some instruction and then practice a bit, preferably on grass, it is not that difficult. And you can read all the theory you want but in the end you just do what the aeroplane needs at the time (touch wood).


PS I favour the wing down approach/landing too although often crab until a couple of hundred feet above the ground.
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 08:18
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With the proliferation of dashboard cams in cars, would it be helpful to mount a similar unit in a position high enough on the aeroplane for a taildragger pilot to be able to see ahead without needing to zig zag?
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 10:05
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Originally Posted by surely not View Post
With the proliferation of dashboard cams in cars, would it be helpful to mount a similar unit in a position high enough on the aeroplane for a taildragger pilot to be able to see ahead without needing to zig zag?
On top of the fin, or under the engine presumably.

On the majority of taildraggers no, no point at-all. In a Cub it would be nothing but a distraction.

On a few, I could definitely see the value. I've done a little time in one of the Australian Spitfire replicas and landing on shorter grass runways, a camera on the fin would have definitely been nice to have.

G
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Old 1st Dec 2017, 14:19
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I did say: "...if you have/need them)"

If you don't have, or don't need...
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 02:54
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Crosswind technique.

Iíve personally never used the wing down method on finals. The benefit of crabbing a taildragger, particularly a long nosed one like a Tiger or Pitts, all the way to the flare is that I can see ahead. Straightening the nose and dropping a wing the appropriate amount is easy enough in the flare.

That said, my preferred approach method was a constant turn, but traffic doesnít always allow for that.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 09:28
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With a big nose taildragger, I'd always fly a constant turn, and traffic can just fit in with me! That said, I've only ever flown a few taildraggers with a nose big enough to necessitate that - Cubs and Chipmunks, and certainly the S6 mentioned in the original post, it's no trouble at-all to fly a standard circuit.

More broadly, wing-down and crabbed work on most aeroplanes, but other characteristics than the undercarriage can make the techniques work differently well on different aeroplanes.

G
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 10:07
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Going back a little........ I learned to fly on Auster Autocrats, and did at least 100 hours on them since, so I was ummm - surprised - by this remark;

It doesn't just depend on the engine's D.O.R., it's mostly the prop.
What I learned, and the Auster demonstrated admirably, was that gyroscopic precession ruled, so of course it's the prop, and to a much lesser extent the rotating bits in the engine, but the direction of rotation governs which way the precession will operate.

On a trip in the Navy's Sea Fury, the pilot showed me - very carefully - just how sensitive that aircraft was to injudicious throttle opening at the start of the roll, and careless raising of the tail during it, while still below the airspeed needed to give the rudder some bite.

And whereas in an Auster a ground loop was always a possible punishment for poor handling, in a Sea Fury it was pretty much inevitable if the pilot was careless.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 11:02
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Does aircraft inertia affect the choice of X-wind technique? I always use wing down in a Jodel, but often crab in a Pa28.
I don't think it's the nosewheel that makes the difference.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 11:58
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I don't think it's inertia either.

I would say it's mostly the lateral and directional static stability requirements and control power, plus the wingtip geometry.

G
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