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Thread: Looking for a tailwheel instructor

  1. #1
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Default Looking for a tailwheel instructor

    Well, I have completed groundschool and have been studying hard for the past few weeks and scoring in the 90's on the sporty's practice tests. I am going to schedule the FAA test for sometime next week and hit it hard this weekend. I also took care of my class III and have my student certificate. I have checked into the base aeroclub but they have no tailwheel planes. I would like to get started flying as soon as possible and I want to learn in the taildragger, because the plan is to purchase a decent citabria or similar plane to build time in as I save for a cub. I am not broke, but definitely on a budget being an enlisted guy in the Air Force and I want to try and get this done as inexpensively as I can and as quickly and safely as my abilities allow... With a big emphasis on my "my abilities".

    Anyone have any solid recomendations?
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  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Jay Baldwin out in Palmer... he is probably the best tail-wheel guy in your area.

    If you can't find a good tail-wheel instructor, just get you ticket with a nose-dragger. Obtaining your private and doing the check-ride has a lot more to do with things like cross country navigation, instrument use under the hood , night flying and so on.... Stuff that a lot of light-weight basic tail draggers can NOT do since they have limited panels.

    After you earn your private, you can do your tail-wheel add-on in a day or two.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Another really good tail wheel instructor (also float planes) is Rick Reuss at Arctic Flyers at Lake hood. He is a full time professional flight instructor and has been for many years. http://home.gci.net/~rruess/

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    I am a student pilot too--Jay Baldwin is my instructor. Float Pilot and others on here highly recommended him, so that's who I went with. I have my own Taylorcraft BC-12/D so it's been primary training with the added benefit of tailwheel/off-field stuff. Plus I get to pick his brain about mountain flying, etc. Here's the link to his page: http://youflyalaska.com/go/

  5. #5
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I would also agree that Rick Ruess is pretty darn good as well.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Rick and Heidi are simply fantastic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I would also agree that Rick Ruess is pretty darn good as well.

  7. #7

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    Land & Sea on Merrill Field has a taildragger that you can get your license in (Citabria 7ECA). I'm a CFI on base and I agree with Float Pilot. Get your PPL in a nose-dragger then it's an easy transition to the taildragger. I also highly recommend Rick Ruess at Arctic Flyers. They have couple Taylorcraft for float and tail-wheel instruction plus couple Cessnas (152, 172).
    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    If you can't find a good tail-wheel instructor, just get you ticket with a nose-dragger. Obtaining your private and doing the check-ride has a lot more to do with things like cross country navigation, instrument use under the hood , night flying and so on.... Stuff that a lot of light-weight basic tail draggers can NOT do since they have limited panels.

    After you earn your private, you can do your tail-wheel add-on in a day or two.

  8. #8
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    Getting your ppl training or at least your first few hours of flight training in a tail dragger provides and imprints rudder skills that you won't get in a nose wheel airplane. The transition from tail dragger to nose wheel is much easier and requires less flight time than nose wheel to tail dragger.

    My two cents

  9. #9
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Except that the national average for a student pilot from hour zero to final check-ride is about 15-20 hours more when learning in a tail-wheel.
    That is fine when you own your plane, but it jacks up the cost when renting.

    I learned in a tail wheel, but I owned the plane. And I do agree that primary tail-wheel stick and rudder skills make you a better pilot.

    Man I gotta get spell check working again....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Except that the national average for a student pilot from hour zero to final check-ride is about 15-20 hours more when learning in a tail-wheel.
    That is fine when you own your plane, but it jacks up the cost when renting.

    I learned in a tail wheel, but I owned the plane. And I do agree that primary tail-wheel stick and rudder skills make you a better pilot.

    Man I gotta get spell check working again....
    Yes, they surely do !!!

  11. #11

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    Don't know any instructors, but after getting my private in a nose pusher and renting, I say buy a T-Craft, 170, or Champ. I put $10k into my license up here and was only 50 hours into it. Renting up here is very expensive!

  12. #12
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    That is the route I have been seriously considering! I passed my FAA test today so it's time to get serious... So far I have only had two cfi's call me back, but with hunting season going I figure many of the really good ones are busy...
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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  13. #13
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Yes, not only is it huning season, but the wind storms and super heavy rains over the last couple of weeks have either stranded pilots in odd locations or driven them into hangars to work on much delayed repairs....

    I am sure that some folks are also busy fixing wind and flooding damage to their homes as well......

    I have not been able to fly since last Friday.... six days in a row without flying is very unusual for me....

    Don Lee up in Talkeetna is another good tailwheel instructor. 907- 733-4500 But that is a bit of a long drive for you. And he is still teaching floats this time of year, in an hopeless effort to become as good as me one day....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Wasn't Don Lee's airplane in an NTSB report this week?

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    I didn't know you were modest too , but that is a very high bar to jump! I got my float rating this summer with Float Pilot and I enjoyed every minute of it. Great operation, beautiful area to fly in, lots of remote lakes, great insturctor, very comfortable cabin. And lots of quality flying! Wouldn't do it any other way. Thanks, Float pilot. (Sorry for getting off topic for a moment)
    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    And he is still teaching floats this time of year, in an hopeless effort to become as good as me one day....
    DSC01884.jpg
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  16. #16
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Wasn't Don Lee's airplane in an NTSB report this week?
    Sure was,,,, It was one of the guys who was working for him..... Doing tail-wheel instruction in a Pacer with smaller tires no less. Two injured and the plane is wrecked. They were supposedly on the way to Willow and for some reason decided to do a power failure demo on a gravel bar...
    So Don is stuck doing float-ratings with his other planes until freeze up....

    I have checked into the base aeroclub but they have no tailwheel planes.
    Wow , they used to have a Citabria or two... There is a CFI working at the Aero Club named "Anton"..... If you go in there again, ask for him... He really knows his stuff.....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  17. #17
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Ya, they sold the last Citabria they had a few months ago. I found a Citabria today for a pretty good deal. I might try and pick it up and find an instructor that will do it in my plane.
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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  18. #18
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Citabrias are great planes... Just watch out for wing spar issues.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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