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Ab initio teenager - tailwheel or tri...?

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Ab initio teenager - tailwheel or tri...?

Old 21st May 2019, 19:16
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Ab initio teenager - tailwheel or tri...?

So, I had a question about a teenager wanting to learn to fly who will fly both tail and tri wheel aircraft in the (very near) future.

Better to start on tailwheel (because they don't know it's more difficult, so will learn just as quickly as tri - perhaps?), or better to start on 'easier' tri and then add tailwheel later - which is what most (older) students do.

Answers on a postcard...

Thanks, Sam.
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Old 21st May 2019, 19:27
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Maybe start on gliders? I reckon if you can make a good job of landing a glider you will have no problems with either tail or nose wheels. As a glider pilot I often had opportunities to fly power aircraft and found little difference whether it was a tail dragger or a trike.
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Old 21st May 2019, 19:37
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Tri or taildragger

Start on the taildragger. Going tri first will make it hard but if you start with a tail wheel you will learn how to really control the machine and master the dreaded crosswind landing much better

I speak with 20K hours on Tigers to widebodies and everything between
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:21
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Start with taildragger, and learn how to fly an airplane from start to stop.

Way too many times I have witnessed pilots stopping to "fly" when they touch ground. Then convert to taildraggers and end up bending airframes.

Taildraggers first is my vote.
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:32
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After gliding, aged 23, I got my PPL on DH82 Jackeroo taildraggers, no electrics, radio, brakes. And no ATC at Thruxton.
​​​After 6 months not flying it took 1 hour 35 to convert to a Chipmunk tailwheel, with flaps, radio, electric start, then 1 hour 25 to convert to a state-of-the-art C150, with a nosewheel.
And to learn to deal with ATC at Perth.
It'd be more difficult the other way round.
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:40
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I highly recommend initial training on taildragger, if you can find one! The student will learn the skill to fly it, and everything else will seem easier after that. All of their flying will better for it, not just the runway work. While flying a Twin Otter with a pilot new to me, he asked if I flew taildragger a lot. I replied that I did, why did he ask? "Because you use the pedals!"

The student should learn taildragger while they can, imagine that like a manual transmission, taildraggers will become rare in the "public" world. It's going to end up that unless you either own a taildragger, or can borrow one, you simply won't have an opportunity to fly one at all. Get the experience while you can...

Good to see you back here Sam....
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Old 22nd May 2019, 00:45
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What Pilot DAR said
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Old 22nd May 2019, 06:49
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It’s somewhat redundant to endorse what Pilot_DAR and BPF recommend but I agree. I learned on a Piper Colt and then switched to RAF Chipmunks. I seem to recall it took me nearly as many hours to solo on the Chippie as it did on the Colt.

Since then the majority of my flying has been on taildraggers. These days I mostly fly a C182 but my tailwheel skills are very useful on rough strips and in crosswinds, when I do “one point” landings.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 07:41
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Tailwheel....
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Old 22nd May 2019, 08:19
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Tailwheel, absolutely no question in my mind.
At that age, as you say, he/she will not know it is harder and will end up having a deeply ingrained extra ability that will never be lost.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 08:22
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Another very valid point of the auto/manual car analogy is that anyone who can drive a manual car can drive an automatic. The inverse is definitely not true! Funnily enough I've recently written on this very subject - in an ideal world the progression would be glider/motorglider/taildragger/trike. If this could happen I could GUARANTEE there'd be a lot less landing prangs.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 11:43
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Thank you all, and thank you for the personal message Pilot DAR!
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Old 22nd May 2019, 11:52
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Tailwheel, by all means !
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Old 22nd May 2019, 13:37
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In an ideal world one should start on gliders then tailwheel and then nose wheel.
Glider for speed control, landing judgement, and a feeling for the air you are flying through.
Tailwheel for sensitivity in the use of the controls, especially the rudder and brakes,
Nosewheel just because there are so many of them out there.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 18:21
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Sadly the ideal world doesn't exist. You all might well be right but let's face facts. Most school teach on Cessna 152/172 or PA28. Finding one with a ELA1 taildragger with an in-date engine and an instructor who can teach ab initio in it is a major challenge. The only option might be to buy a permit taildragger - you can then learn on it; again you'll probably struggle to find an instructor capable of teaching in it.

Soooo, in practical terms, it's get your PPL at a local school on a PA28 or Cessna, then look for the kind of flying you want to do. Several decades ago knew a couple who learned to fly together. She bought a share in a Cub, he went off and did Night, IMC and commercial. it's just what you want to do.

TOO
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Old 22nd May 2019, 20:53
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Depends upon where you are but, Cambridge Flying Group, two DH82a Tiger Moths. Clacton Aero Club, Super Cub. Tiger Moth Training (Henstridge), er... DH82a Tiger Moths.

All provide ab-initio on proper aeroplanes.

Last edited by Kemble Pitts; 22nd May 2019 at 20:55. Reason: added ab-initio detail
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Old 22nd May 2019, 21:41
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I am doing another skills test on a PA18 at Waltham tomorrow (3rd on tailwheel this year). We have suitably equipped aircraft to do so.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 17:18
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Years ago I made a training video for a popular tail dragger covering all techniques including the lion's (or should that be Tiger's) share of the video concentrating on landings.
The club chief pilot, with many many hours under his belt flying all manner of things including Vulcans, kept on and on about how the problems manifest because invariably people learn in a tri and come to tail draggers later - when they got the dosh to splash on a vintage job. He went on to say that if people learned on a tail dragger it would make the conversion to a tri a damn sight easier as the technique is essentially that of a tail-lowish landing in a dragger.

Good to see you Sam.

Last edited by Auxtank; 23rd May 2019 at 17:37.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 19:55
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SAM, it has to begin as a love affair ,as all teenagers have about the `older woman` dreams...you may remember,blonde,high heels,seamed stockings,suspenders,waspish waist,etc......you have to know all about her,how she smells..of hot oil( be nice if you can find one that uses Castrol R..),leather,wood,petrol,fabric,taut skin...Then you have to learn to start her,and let her warm to your ministrations..When she`s ready ,you can now take her out,and if it`s windy,you must learn to direct her properly,in gentlemanly fashion,using ailerons ,elevator and rudder,even without using the`brakes`,as she might trip,and fall,all the time looking around for obstacles,enjoying the envious glances of Cessna and other tricycle drivers.....
You must persevere in this(and any other)affair,for it will bring forth offers later of being able to `handle` such as the Chipmunk,T6,maybe a Spitfire,or a real lady ,a DC-3....
So,young man,learn well....

"Nurse,can I have some more red stuff please......"
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Old 23rd May 2019, 22:04
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Originally Posted by sycamore View Post
SAM, it has to begin as a love affair ,as all teenagers have about the `older woman` dreams...you may remember,blonde,high heels,seamed stockings,suspenders,waspish waist,etc.....
You must persevere in this(and any other)affair,for it will bring forth offers later of being able to `handle` such as the Chipmunk,T6,maybe a Spitfire,or a real lady ,a DC-3....
So,young man,learn well....

"Nurse,can I have some more red stuff please......"
Brilliant.

Last edited by Auxtank; 24th May 2019 at 06:37.
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