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Tailwheel PPL - London

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Tailwheel PPL - London

Old 2nd Dec 2018, 12:44
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Tailwheel PPL - London

I am moving to London in January and chasing some recommendations on where to continue training.

I currently have 10 hours in a 172 and 2 hours in Citabria (In Auckland) and would like to complete my PPL training in the UK on a tail dragger. I will be based in Central London but would be available for entire days Mon - Fri and hence somewhere that has full-time instructors would be preferable. Bonus points if its aero capable.
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 14:15
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Just a bit of relevant info for you:

EASA doesn't allow us to count any of your 12 hours. You may also have limited options of clubs near London who would be prepared to do the whole course on a tailwheel.
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 18:42
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Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
Just a bit of relevant info for you:

EASA doesn't allow us to count any of your 12 hours. You may also have limited options of clubs near London who would be prepared to do the whole course on a tailwheel.
I thought this may be the case but what's 12 hours in the scheme of things really...
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 19:13
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Stapleford Flight Centre has a PA-18 in their fleet, but I don't know if you can do the entire course on it. Better give them a call.
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 19:39
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West London Aero Club at White Waltham has a Super Cub available for PPL training.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 01:28
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I know it stretches the definition of 'London', but I had some very good training with Glyn from the Tiger Club.

I wouldn't worry about training on something aerobatic - there's time for that later and your lessons will be much cheaper if you stick to a non-aerobatic aircraft for the time being.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 07:02
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Originally Posted by abgd View Post
I know it stretches the definition of 'London', but I had some very good training with Glyn from the Tiger Club.

I wouldn't worry about training on something aerobatic - there's time for that later and your lessons will be much cheaper if you stick to a non-aerobatic aircraft for the time being.
Why is it a stretch from London? The Tiger Club is only a 5mins taxi from Upminster tube station these days. Based at Damyns Hall. They do allow PPL tuition in their cub, they dont have full time flight instructors but there are a few around - I would contact them and see what they say! Https://tigerclub.co.uk

For aerobatics, they also have a cap10. I don't think you should mix the aeros with the ab initio, and you wouldnt be able to obtain the EASA aerobatic rating until you had 40 hours PIC after licence issue.

Other option is White Waltham, they do have many full time instructors, but it can be hard to book an appointment as they are so busy.

Hope this helps!
alex90

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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 07:48
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Try Cubair Flight Training at Redhill - they have, as their name implies, a PA-18.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 09:11
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Skyward Flight Training at Rougham airfield (in Suffolk) also have a PA-18-150 and train from the outset on their Cub for the PPL.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 16:17
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If its not too far away for you, Cambridge Flying Group say they offer AB Initio training on their Tiger Moths
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Old 31st Dec 2018, 23:36
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Tail-wheel training advice

Hi Udder 38,
I hung my headset up about ten years ago. So what follows here is based on a reply I wrote for a Ppruner back then. I don’t know how or whether the flight training milieu will have changed since I last flew, but the advice I give here always applies.

In the early 2000s there was a surprising amount of poor tail-wheel training on offer, and I suspect this may still be the case, so first of all definitely read 'The Compleat Taildragger Pilot' by Plourde as this may be the only means you will have by which you will know in whether your tailwheel training is being adequate.

My greatest area of concern is that many flying schools/flying clubs then just didn't teach ‘wheeler landings’. You might well need this skill to pull off a cross wind landing in a strong cross wind. (Some places didn't even teach cross wind landing at all then, which was disgraceful)!

For landing cross wind, most then would teach you to do a two-point landing instead. This is where you stall the aircraft on with your into-wind wing down, putting down your into-wind main wheel and tail wheel first. This is O.K. for a mild to moderate crosswind in a high wing aircraft, but if you have to land a low wing monoplane or bi-plane with a crosswind close to the crosswind limit for your aeroplane, then in my view two-pointing it is hazardous.

I learned to fly fifty-eight years ago at a time when we were all tail-dragger pilots; (‘conventional undercarriage’ was the correct term then. You had to be posh to fly a tricycle in those days). My instructor was a man who had flown heavy, multi-engined taildraggers, (while carrying several tons of high explosive and incendiaries) during much of WW2, so I tend to regard him as having been a considerable expert on the tail-dragger and still regard what he taught as best practice.

He taught me to do both methods of landing approach, the 'crabbing' approach and the 'wing down' method. He said that I should be able to do both and be ready to use either method, according to the characteristics of the aeroplane and the conditions prevailing.

One thing, however, never varied. He taught me to do a wheeler landing whenever landing cross wind. This is where you allow the main wheels to brush the runway while you still have flying speed. You then move the control column forward to remove any positive angle of attack causing the aeroplane to roll along the runway on her main wheels while you keep her tail up with the elevators.

You allow the speed to fall off while holding the tail up and the aeroplane straight and as close as possible to the centre line of the runway. As the speed falls off, you will find yourself moving the control column further and further forward to keep the tail up, while applying more and more into wind aileron and more and more away-from-wind rudder to keep her straight. Eventually, you will be unable to hold the tail up any longer and it will sink gently onto the runway and the aeroplane will roll to a halt with the flying controls now very crossed - the stick fully forward with full into wind aileron and full away from wind rudder.

In 2005, when I made a return to flying (after a break of forty five years!) and after getting my PPL back I decided to get my taildragger skills back also. Obviously, I now had to re-learn cross wind landings.

I was now taught to land cross wind using the method of stalling the aeroplane on putting down the into-wind main wheel and the tail wheel first, (a method which incidentally I had never even seen, or even heard of, before). I asked my instructor if I could relearn my accustomed wheeler landing, and the instructor, (an ex-military pilot who had spent his entire air force career on jets,) just walked away without replying. So, I did as I was told and used the method I had now been taught. A few weeks later, I had my very first ever ground-loop!

I am not saying the sole cause of the ground-loop was 'two pointing' the aeroplane, as other factors were at work on that occasion also, not least of which was being hit by a gust of wind funnelled between two nearby hangars, but I certainly believe the two point landing method contributed to the development of the ground-loop by removing some of the rudder authority, as with the tail down part of the fin would have been masked by the forward fuselage because the aircraft was now in a landing attitude.

I believe that if that gust had caught me during a wheeler landing, while my nose was still level it would have been that much quicker, after getting full power back on, to accelerate to flying speed, and do a go-round.

I have the clear impression that many present day instructors, (both ex-military and civil trained,) lack the ability to teach the wheeler landing, perhaps being afraid to teach low-hours private pilots, to brush the ground with their mains and then push the stick forward, while still having flying speed during the resulting ground roll, for fear of grounding the prop.

Whoever you go to, make sure you are trained properly. You need to come away feeling confident about landing cross wind using a wheeler landing. I suggest you should ask, before commencing training, whether the wheeler will be part of your training: if not, or if they try to tell you it is not necessary, walk away.

Good luck with your training.

BP.
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Old 1st Jan 2019, 01:49
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Interesting. I did my tailwheel transition in Citabrias (at Palo Alto and then Livermore). Neither of the instructors I worked with would have signed off my tailwheel endorsement without proficiency in wheel landings. There is definitely a knack to them, and at first I found them intensely frustrating. It's vital to "stick" the aircraft at EXACTLY the right moment, within a small fraction of a second. Too soon doesn't bear thinking about. Too late, and the tail drops under gravity, AoA increases, and you're off flying again. You have maybe a tenth of a second to get it right. It helps to ease in the tiniest amount of back stick just before the wheels touch, slowing down the vertical speed to almost zero. It sounds hard - and is until you get it wired into your muscle memory, whereupon it becomes reassuringly easy. That said, I did exactly two wheel landings in the Pitts during the 150 hours or so I flew it regularly. Though I know Pitts pilots who swear it is the easiest way.
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Old 1st Jan 2019, 08:47
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I don’t think the extra expense of doing the PPL on a taildragger is a good idea, get the PPL in the most economic way posable and then do a training course on a taildragger when you can focus your mind totally on taildragger techniques, after all the navigation part of the PPL is exactly the same whatever end of the aircraft the third wheel is.
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Old 1st Jan 2019, 19:10
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"I don’t think the extra expense of doing the PPL on a taildragger is a good idea,'
I got my PPL as a 30 hour PPL, from 27 July to 21 August, on the Jackeroo modification of the Tiger Moth. With previous glider experience, I went solo at 2 hours 55 minutes.
The quality of instructor at Thruxton was excellent. I converted to a Chipmunk at Perth in 1 hour 20 minutes, and later to a C150 in 1 hour 15 minutes.
Getting a PPL on a C150, then converting to a tailwheel, then to a taildragger, would likely have taken longer.
If you can find a school with good tailwheel instructors, go for it.
( After not flying for almost 22 years, I regained my PPL on the C152, then after 3 years bought a tailwheel share, with no more instruction, which I've had for 29 years.)
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Old 1st Jan 2019, 20:47
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FWIW - re doing training on tailwheel - we do a majority of ab-initio training on tailwheel and have for many years. On average, students take an hour or two longer to get solo (compared to nose wheel) but progress after that at the same rate and end up with the same number of hours in their log books as those we do nose wheel (again on average).

Typically we move them to nose wheel for nav training and they normally quickly adapt to the nose wheel without drama.

Going from a nose wheel to TW, usually on average, takes longer and can be more frustrating, particularly if they have learnt on an easy to land aircraft that has let them get away with being a bit sloppy in landing attitudes and approach control.

If you learn tailwheel from the start you don't know any different. It should take about the same number of hours.
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Old 2nd Jan 2019, 00:25
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Hi again Udder 38,
The following comments refer specifically to training in the UK. The question of whether to learn to fly ab-initio on tail wheel aircraft or on tricycles has several ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.

First of all, these are the ‘cons’. The average UK flying club, will have a line of perhaps six or eight Piper or Cessna tricycles, but only one tail-wheel aircraft, usually a Cub or a Citabria. They will have perhaps eight or ten instructors; (full and part-time) all of whom will be able to instruct on the tricycles, but only perhaps two willing or able to instruct on the tail-wheel aircraft – especially when you come to learn wheeler landings.

You can so easily end up with a situation in which there are repeated occasions when you are available to fly, the money to pay for it is available, and the weather is good, but there is either no aeroplane or your instructor is off sick or on holiday. The club you join may be a big club, but for you it might be a very small club.

And if that one Cub or Citab ‘goes tech’, or has to be sent for maintenance, or some idiot breaks it, your flying training will come to an abrupt halt, certainly for weeks and perhaps for months.

As I said above, on tail-wheel your choice of instructor will be extremely limited. Don’t underestimate this last point; the close working relationship that develops between instructor and student is crucial and people don’t always get on well together. You wouldn’t be the first student to have to ask to fly with someone else; but there has to be a someone else you can be passed on to.

Jonkster’s comments are absolutely correct. If you train for your PPL on tail-wheel aircraft it will take longer to get to flying solo and the level of skill required to fly tail-wheel is in all circumstances greater.

Let me elaborate on that. When you make a flight in a tricycle, you can virtually ‘drive’ the aeroplane like a car from the apron to the runway hold and only really commence actually flying when you turn into wind to do your engine run-up. When you land a tricycle, because your centre of gravity is in front of the main undercarriage wheels your momentum will tend to keep you straight. So nearly all your landings will at least be acceptable, even if not brilliant. The tricycle undercarriage is very forgiving of sloppy landing technique – and that is one of its biggest weaknesses. And, of course, after landing you can virtually ‘drive’ your tricycle back to the apron.

With a tailwheel aircraft, you are flying from the moment you release the brakes on the apron, to the moment you arrive back and reapply the brakes. While taxiing, you need to be aware of where the wind is coming from, and how strong it is, at all times. If you taxi upwind, you keep the stick back in your stomach. If you taxi downwind you hold the stick forward to prevent the tail from lifting. If you taxi across wind then you hold the stick into wind. You need to be careful about taxiing over any concreted area with a gradient because you roll like h*ll on concrete. On most tail-wheel aircraft, either you can’t use the brakes at all to stop a roll for fear of tipping over onto your prop, or if brakes can be used at all, then they have to be used gingerly. Best of all just avoid concreted gradients.

During your take-off and landing rolls you need to be conscious of the fact that your centre of gravity is behind the main undercarriage wheels and, given half the chance, the aircraft will deviate to one side or the other in an instant if you do not keep her straight with the rudder pedals. This is especially true on landing when you will find yourself doing the characteristic rudder-pedal tap-dance as you deal instantly with any tendency to deviate to one side or the other on an uneven grass runway.

The thing to appreciate is that tail-wheel flying gives you a constant sensitivity for how the aircraft is interacting with the air that flows around it and how its centre of gravity, in relation to the main undercarriage members, affects its handling on the ground. All this is a valuable to your developing airmanship and something you can’t get form a tricycle.

Good luck with your training, whichever type you choose.

BP.
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Old 2nd Jan 2019, 03:35
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One thing, however, never varied. He taught me to do a wheeler landing whenever landing cross wind. This is where you allow the main wheels to brush the runway while you still have flying speed. You then move the control column forward to remove any positive angle of attack causing the aeroplane to roll along the runway on her main wheels while you keep her tail up with the elevators.

You allow the speed to fall off while holding the tail up and the aeroplane straight and as close as possible to the centre line of the runway. As the speed falls off, you will find yourself moving the control column further and further forward to keep the tail up, while applying more and more into wind aileron and more and more away-from-wind rudder to keep her straight. Eventually, you will be unable to hold the tail up any longer and it will sink gently onto the runway and the aeroplane will roll to a halt with the flying controls now very crossed - the stick fully forward with full into wind aileron and full away from wind rudder.
This.

In my tailwheel aircraft every landing is a wheel landing. If I fly someone else's taildragger, I will wheel land it, unless expressly told to three point (which I have never been). The only taildragger, in which I have had formal training (turbine DC-3) it was required that all landings be wheel landings.

I highly advise that any new pilot seeks out competent training in a taildragger if you can find it. Yes, you'll take a little longer to gt through the training, but when you're finished, you'll be a much better pilot - forever. Other pilots notice this. Years ago I was test flying a Twin Otter (which is tricycle), with a very experienced pilot new to me. After my second landing he turned, and said to me: "You fly tailwheel a lot, don't you?". "Yes", I replied, "what makes you ask?". He said: "Cause you use the rudder!". From him, I took this as a high complement, and I will harp on pilots who are lazy with the rudder. Learn on a taildragger, and you'll never have lazy feet! By the way, if you ever move on to helicopter training, you'll be ahead of the game there too!
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