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Unregistered
21-02-15, 21:24 PM
This is an interesting safety issue. I recently acquired an SSDR tail dragger. I hadn't flown a tailwheel aircraft since 1981 and then only a few flights under supervision.

I have around 1900+ hours on SkyRangers but this is no preparation for a twitchy tailwheel aircraft.

I wasn't sure how to proceed but in the end I just took off, knowing that only I was at risk.

There's a fuller account of it here:

http://goddi2.wix.com/rgfb#!home/ceos

How would others go about this? I did consider some lessons in a taildragger Thruster but this is so different to G-CIMA that I thought it would only confuse

RG

renmure
21-02-15, 22:29 PM
I have seen lots of (presumably) Group A pilots at Perth having specific tuition relating to flying tail draggers. Must admit I thought it seemed a sensible thing... particularly because I can think of 2 such pilots who came to grief on landing not long after "converting"

ps.. that does look like a nice aircraft!

Gentreau
22-02-15, 11:17 AM
That does raise an interesting question Rick, one which I have also considered.
I am interested in acquiring a RANS S9 for it's aerobatic capabilities. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rans_S-9_Chaos)

Now clearly, the aeros need to be learnt in a twin seater group-A aircraft, I'm not daft enough to try anything more than a wing-over without training.
However, I was wondering how relevant tail-wheel training in a larger twin-seat aircraft would be ?

I think I will definitely get some time on a tail-dragger, possibly at the same time as the aeros training, but I'm interested to know if other, more experienced, pilots on here have any thoughts on how transferrable the experience will be ??

Rick Moss
22-02-15, 11:58 AM
When I converted my Escapade from tricycle to tail dragger, I took some training. After hal an hour of circuits, the instructor was happy for me to continue alone, and I did so without major mishap for several hundred hours thereafter.

With hindsight, a bit of background reading of one of the many tailwheel books out there would probably have sufficed, but I didn't know that until I tried it. I think it was money well spent, but it wasn't much money!

Unregistered
22-02-15, 12:11 PM
When I converted my Escapade from tricycle to tail dragger, I took some training. After hal an hour of circuits, the instructor was happy for me to continue alone, and I did so without major mishap for several hundred hours thereafter.

With hindsight, a bit of background reading of one of the many tailwheel books out there would probably have sufficed, but I didn't know that until I tried it. I think it was money well spent, but it wasn't much money!

I wouldn't pretend that I'm not still at a very early stage. Things like crosswinds, doing wheeler landings on tarmac etc - all still to come. I've done a fair bit of reading and taken loads of good advice from people who know how to do it. The problem with an SSDR taildragger is that there is only one seat.

RG

Rick Moss
22-02-15, 12:29 PM
I've never done a wheeler landing yet., despite several hundred tailwheel landings, as I was advised that the escapade is not ideal for it.

As you've obviously read; as long as the aircraft is both tracking and pointing down the runway as you touch down, you're unlikely to come unstuck.

Unregistered
22-02-15, 12:36 PM
I've never done a wheeler landing yet., despite several hundred tailwheel landings, as I was advised that the escapade is not ideal for it.

As you've obviously read; as long as the aircraft is both tracking and pointing down the runway as you touch down, you're unlikely to come unstuck.

How does the Escapade get on with three pointers on hard runways Rick?

RG

Unregistered
22-02-15, 13:12 PM
First of all I would disagree that anyone should " just do it " when talking about familiarisation with any taildragger.

I first flew a Bucker Jungmann under the watchful eyes of an extremely experienced aerobatic pilot & did 6hrs of familiarisation ( I needed every minute of that 6hrs ) I built up approximately 25 more hours of what I considered ' solo ' flying but had the advantage of having my passenger being the same extremely experienced pilot.

I progressed onto the Bucker Jungmeister and then had some serious solo flying for 15hrs, the Jungmeister is a seriously aerobatic aircraft but in my 15hrs I seem to recall that I only did about 6 loops and about 10 rolls.

From the Jungmann / Jungmeister days I then progressed onto a Christen Eagle & Pitts S2 and did over 100hrs between those 2 type's. I did a very structured aerobatic course on the Pitts S2 and to answer Gentreau anybody wanting to get into Aerobatics should do a structured course.
( I ' self taught ' myself in the Jungmeister but realised my aeros were sloppy until I did the structured course ).

I played around in other types like the Chipmunk, Jodels, Auster, Stearman, C150 Texas Taildragger & Wilga.

Having done a lot of flying in the Pitts S2 I got the " Just do it " attitude about flying a Pitts S1S and never took or asked for any advice on the type and went flying in it and scared myself shi#less on the landing by doing a rendition of Swan Lake.
With over 200hrs of Tailwheel experience under my belt I acquired a 5 seat Taildragger and did a 5hr familiarisation onto type for my own sake.On my last circuit of my familiarisation the Tailwheel spring snapped and I was back in S1S Land.
So in 230hrs of Tailwheel experience I have had 2 ground loops ( 1 was through negligence 1 was through a malfunction )

So I am in the " Get familiarisation " camp, but in saying that I did try the self taught aerobatic route and then realised that I needed to be trained to fly Aerobatics smoothly.......... Being self taught in something is survivable if sensible and I would put Rick G in the sensible camp if only for his 2000 odd hours being his flying background, I wouldn't share that view with a 100hr pilot going off willy nilly in a taildragger though.

Rick Moss
22-02-15, 13:42 PM
I never struggled, but was always wary. The only issue I had was through overconfidence on takeoff once. I was with a several other aircraft (all trike) departing Abbeville. The wind was over 10kts straight across the runway (yes, I know there's a grass x-runway), and they all departed without issue. When I opened up, as soon as the tail lifted the aircraft weathercocked into wind against full rudder input and a little downwind braking. I ran off the runway into long grass and stopped without incident. And then took off on the grass into-wind runway.


How does the Escapade get on with three pointers on hard runways Rick?

RG

Paul Dewhurst
22-02-15, 15:15 PM
History is quite clear on this - Taildraggers have many more takeoff and landing accidents than tri gear. And dont forget that the Kitfox and Europa became unisureable until a mandatory specific conversion training package was put together and approved by the insurers.

However on the difficulty scale there is a big spectrum out there of taildraggers. Short fuselage, high deck angle (sits on the ground very nose up with wing well beyond stall angle) and light are probably the hardest to master. But the light stuff like Thrusters whilst being harder to land nicely and easy to ground loop have a saving grace in that due to low energy and low touchdown speed they can mostly ground loop without damage (if you dont hit anything) whereas a heavier GA taildragger gone awry will likely dig a wing in and do lots of expensive damage..

Some folk with good handling skills and good on the rudder may find it fast and simple to convert. Some folks who are just about OK on tri gear might never convert satisfactorily. Microlight pilots taught on the more traditional breed of microlights where instinctive use of rudder was required will find conversion less painful that folks trained on machines like the Eurostar where rudder coordination in flight is not really necessary and they havent developed the habit.

Once flying a taildragger they are most restricted in a cross wind and require higher skills in a modest one. so its important that the new taildragger pilot establishes sensible parameters that are more modest than what they would do in a tri gear and doesnt push it to avoid tears before bedtime. multiple runway airfield to base yourself at is a good plan.

Taildraggers are great for short landings on rough surfaces - but only if you have the skills to exploit the capability. a new taildragger pilot will probably use more runway that an equivalent tri gear - especially if landing three points - as it must be fully held off. any attempt to make it land early can get you into a supper bounce fest, loss of control and visit to the local ditch. so accurate speed control is key to short three point landings. Tail up 'wheeler' landings can help, and combinations such as a tail down wheeler are bush pilot tricks for super short operation. but they require a very high skill level.

So we cant generalise about taildragger aeroplane, or pilots converting, and give any times or hard advice on whether a conversion or a teach yourself policy is wise - well actually its never wise to teach yourself, - as although you may be able to land it after a fashion you wont get taught the finer points of the different types of landings and wont get the feedback on what you are doing right or wrong. Its along lonely road to ace of the base teaching yourself.

Taildraggers are god fun and an interesting challenge and give an extra dimension for pilots with above average skills and who fly often. For those rather more marginal in skills and less current - leave them alone, or you will jack up all our insurance premiums...:)

Paul

goldrush
22-02-15, 18:26 PM
For me a very timely post Paul... I have been flying various taildraggers for "donkey's years"...... more that I legally admit to............ until the last 8 years or so when I have only been flying the Shadow... which basically just lands itself.:-)

Hopefully in the next couple of few months I shall start flying my SSDR biplane which, as you quote, has a
"Short fuselage, high deck angle (sits on the ground very nose up with wing well beyond stall angle) and light are probably the hardest to master".

I would only add to your post that whenever you have a new taildragger, it is rather imperative to spend a long time with high speed taxying and "crow hopping" (a couple of feet above the ground) before going to the "Wide blue yonder".

Be interesting to see how much I have forgotten in the last 8 years of "auto landing luxury"........ and if I have NOT forgotten how to "ground loop".:-)

Unregistered
22-02-15, 19:11 PM
History is quite clear on this - Taildraggers have many more takeoff and landing accidents than tri gear. And dont forget that the Kitfox and Europa became unisureable until a mandatory specific conversion training package was put together and approved by the insurers.

However on the difficulty scale there is a big spectrum out there of taildraggers. Short fuselage, high deck angle (sits on the ground very nose up with wing well beyond stall angle) and light are probably the hardest to master. But the light stuff like Thrusters whilst being harder to land nicely and easy to ground loop have a saving grace in that due to low energy and low touchdown speed they can mostly ground loop without damage (if you dont hit anything) whereas a heavier GA taildragger gone awry will likely dig a wing in and do lots of expensive damage..

Some folk with good handling skills and good on the rudder may find it fast and simple to convert. Some folks who are just about OK on tri gear might never convert satisfactorily. Microlight pilots taught on the more traditional breed of microlights where instinctive use of rudder was required will find conversion less painful that folks trained on machines like the Eurostar where rudder coordination in flight is not really necessary and they havent developed the habit.

Once flying a taildragger they are most restricted in a cross wind and require higher skills in a modest one. so its important that the new taildragger pilot establishes sensible parameters that are more modest than what they would do in a tri gear and doesnt push it to avoid tears before bedtime. multiple runway airfield to base yourself at is a good plan.

Taildraggers are great for short landings on rough surfaces - but only if you have the skills to exploit the capability. a new taildragger pilot will probably use more runway that an equivalent tri gear - especially if landing three points - as it must be fully held off. any attempt to make it land early can get you into a supper bounce fest, loss of control and visit to the local ditch. so accurate speed control is key to short three point landings. Tail up 'wheeler' landings can help, and combinations such as a tail down wheeler are bush pilot tricks for super short operation. but they require a very high skill level.

So we cant generalise about taildragger aeroplane, or pilots converting, and give any times or hard advice on whether a conversion or a teach yourself policy is wise - well actually its never wise to teach yourself, - as although you may be able to land it after a fashion you wont get taught the finer points of the different types of landings and wont get the feedback on what you are doing right or wrong. Its along lonely road to ace of the base teaching yourself.

Taildraggers are god fun and an interesting challenge and give an extra dimension for pilots with above average skills and who fly often. For those rather more marginal in skills and less current - leave them alone, or you will jack up all our insurance premiums...:)

Paul

I think there is something to be said for the self taught getting a few lessons even after having tried it out themselves, as I have. I now have a greater appreciation of the issues of handling a taildragger than I had before I started, so some lessons now would have more meaning against the background of that initial experience.

RG

Unregistered
22-02-15, 20:20 PM
That does raise an interesting question Rick, one which I have also considered.
I am interested in acquiring a RANS S9 for it's aerobatic capabilities. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rans_S-9_Chaos)

Now clearly, the aeros need to be learnt in a twin seater group-A aircraft, I'm not daft enough to try anything more than a wing-over without training.
However, I was wondering how relevant tail-wheel training in a larger twin-seat aircraft would be ?



Get some tailwheel training first, and then try to find a RANS S10 (which is a 2 seat S9) and an instructor. The S10 is not ideal for training someone with zero tailwheel hours - hence the recommendation to get some initial experience in something else first. However the S10 is by far the closest thing to an S9 with two seats.

Sean McDonald
22-02-15, 20:58 PM
I'm still low hours and have gone from an X'Air to an Easy Raider which is tandem and single control so no dual lesson to be had. I have read everything I can get hold of and still do, watched loads of youtube stuff and still do, got a DVD (from some US Piper Cub instructors - pm me RG if you wish to borrow) and had some lessons in a Thruster which is significantly different to my Easy Raider. My early errors were trying to do wheeler landings, which I mastered on the Thruster, but just don't suit the Raider or more likely me at this stage. Once I had pulled off a few three pointers I was away. However I am very cautious and will not attempt xwinds beyond my capabilities or fly outside my own personal but slowly developing comfort zone. I think the last bit is the key to a lot of flying anyway...

Unregistered
23-02-15, 14:50 PM
I'm still low hours and have gone from an X'Air to an Easy Raider which is tandem and single control so no dual lesson to be had. I have read everything I can get hold of and still do, watched loads of youtube stuff and still do, got a DVD (from some US Piper Cub instructors - pm me RG if you wish to borrow) and had some lessons in a Thruster which is significantly different to my Easy Raider. My early errors were trying to do wheeler landings, which I mastered on the Thruster, but just don't suit the Raider or more likely me at this stage. Once I had pulled off a few three pointers I was away. However I am very cautious and will not attempt xwinds beyond my capabilities or fly outside my own personal but slowly developing comfort zone. I think the last bit is the key to a lot of flying anyway...

Thanks Sean, I'll let you know. I can't PM you of course............. :-)

RG