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Thread: Tail wheel endorsement?

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default Tail wheel endorsement?

    Well, this is the summer that I'm planning on learning to fly a cub. I've got access to a plane for free, so now I need to figure out the instruction. I have a friend who's been flying hunters out in Western Alaska for 20+ years who is going to teach me tundra landings eventually, but he's not a CFI. So, first question is...I have to have a CFI to get my tailwheel endorsement, right? Also, there's no checkride involved - just having a CFI sign off? It's been 5 years since I got my private, so I've forgotten a few of the details.

    Lastly, any recommendations for instructors out of Birchwood? Thanks guys!

    -Brian

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    Default B_M

    All you need is a logbook endorsement. Please find an instructor that actually has some REAL tailwheel experience! If you can, make your first few cub landings on gravel, like goose bay or the like. Good place to practice. I let my CFII expire for the last time 94 or I would be really happy to help you out...

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I did a lot of my practice in the Cessna over at Goose Bay and Big Lake when I got my private. Even with trike gear, I much prefer the feeling of gravel strips. Thankfully, Birchwood has a gravel strip paralleling the pavement, so I shouldn't ever have to venture onto the hard stuff.

    Thanks for the tips, fishnflyak.

    -Brian

  4. #4

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    I'd have to disagree with the advise given above - practice on pavement as much as possible. Get to the point that you have absolute control of the airplane on pavement and gravel/etc. will seem downright easy.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts, 73E. Practicing control on pavement seems to make sense, though I think I'll at least start on the gravel. Wouldn't want to ground-loop it on my first landing.

    -Brian

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    Default practicing on pavement...

    will certainly increase your proficiency, but getting your feet wet on gravel is the only way to go. Pavement has no "give" and seriously increases likelihood of groundlooping, especially in variable wind conditions. You can ground loop on gravel of course, but the airplane accepts sideloads with much more forgiveness. Kind of like teaching someone to fly on floats. You dont start out making river takeoffs and landings (unless that's all you have!) it's preferable to find a big lake with lotsa room for error.

    I remember by first few luscombe landings with squirilly winds at Merrill...yikes!

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I learned to fly in a 7ECA. I learned on skiis. Flew for 2 months before I had tires on. Rubber tires don't skid on pavement like they do on gravel. My first few landings on tires were on the paved runway at Fbks Int. It sounded like a race car going around the curve. Screeching tires.
    I recommend gravel sufaces for someone transitioning to a tailwheel aircraft. Gravel is more forgiving. It's generally easier on the tire also.
    Where in western alaska does your friend fly, BM?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    martentrapper - I guess I should have said southwestern to be more specific. He's been based for a number of years out of Illiamna during the fall hunting season, flying for a number of different guides (not sure if that'll change, though, given the crash of the Mulchatna). The rest of the year he's an A&P in Birchwood. Thanks for the recommendation, by the way. It's nice to get a number of different perspectives.

    -Brian

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Default Taildraggers

    Brian,

    You'll undoubtedly get lots of other advice and some good instruction. I'd recommend reading a book called "Conventional Gear: Flying a Taildragger". I'm in Anchorage and would be happy to lend it. It does a great job of describing the forces at work that generally cause problems not associated as strongly with trike-gear planes. Emphasis on dynamic instability while on the ground. PM me if you're interested. Or just add it to your library.

    Two things you must never forget when flying a taildragger-

    1. Always - ALWAYS - have "dancing" feet.

    2. The only time that plane can't bite you is when it is at rest.

    These are not said to breed any kind of fear - just a healthy respect for how quickly things can go wrong if you get complacent.

    Mort

  10. #10

    Default how fast things can go wrong

    Man,
    you aren't kidding about that. 55 kias on final seems slow compared to cruise, but really, you are going to kiss the ground at highway speeds.
    Crashing on the highway at 65 MPH would suck, big time. Being in a plane and crashing could only suck more.

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    Default

    You never were taught to land a nose-dragger sideways, were you? Taildraggers are no big deal unless you're not paying attention, but that's true in any airplane. Crosswinds require some technique and practice, but folks have successfully flown taildraggers for 100 years, so you can do it, too.

    You'll be taught three-point landings first. Demand to learn proficiency in wheel landings.

    If you're forced to land in crosswinds that make you uncomfortable, be alert, and if you feel that something isn't right....go around. As long as your engine's running you can go around the patch, set up, and try again. The most important "don't do" is to not provide yourself an out. One-way and short strips should be saved for later when you're sure you're up to the task. If you're not sure, don't do it without an escape plan. Every landing is an aborted go-around. Be prepared.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Well, I thought I would resurrect this thread. As much as I wanted to do my cub training last summer, it just didn't happen. I'm hoping that this year will be my year. Thanks again to those who shared their advice before, but I'm still without an instructor recommendation. Any ideas in Birchwood? Thanks!

    -Brian

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    Default

    Brian,

    I will be teaching tailwheel instruction in talkeetna all season if you could arrange to have the cub owner bring you and the plane for a few weekends we could get you flying tailwheel. If not, we will have a 140 hp champ and a Maule M-5 210 hp to teach in. I hope this is helpfull. I could possibly come to you for expenses and if scheduling permits.

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    Default FAR question

    How many hours does it take for a tail wheel endorsement? Also was wondering what you rates are CFI. I dont know if you can post them but please PM me. Hopefully I will finish my instrument in the next couple weeks.

    Terry

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default

    Another good book is Taildragger Tatics by Sparky Immenson.

    Since my tires are larger I like to have my students stick to gravel until they are really good. Pavement just takes the money right off those tires.

    My clients with even larger and even more expensive tires also prefer that we keep to the interesting gravel beach and short strip stuff during their BFRs.

    Making a 31 inch low pressure tire go from zero to 40mph is a little easier when it can roll across some loose rocks first to build up the rotation speed.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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