jamesbuk
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What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:45 am

Hi guys and girls!!

I was reading a book (Yes i can read!!) about an RAF WWII pilot who started off as no-one and progressed into flying spitfires,he sometimes mentioned briefly his landings, and it got me thinking What is the correct way to land an aircraft? Do you land on all 3 wheels or the front 2?
So what is the correct procedure?

Rgds --James--
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Starlionblue
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:48 am

Not that I have ever attempted it, but I believe both a three point and a main gear landing are acceptable, with selection depending on wind conditions.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
A3204eva
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:16 am

You land more or less level (on the two main gears) then slowly drop the tail.
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MissedApproach
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:23 am

IIRC, RAF pilots flying P-40 Warhawks broke several in half making three-point landings. USN types would make three-point landings too since because of their tailhook.
So, I presume it depends on the airplane, but if you look at general aviation types I think you will only see main gear touchdowns.
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2H4
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:09 am




Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 3):
So, I presume it depends on the airplane

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futureuapilot
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:45 am

I was talking to my Flight Instructor and he said the only difference with flying a tail dragger is you don't really flare much, but the main reason for the seperate rating is because you have to learn how to taxi... not being able to see the ground. And I always thought those extra's in airshows were just shoing their plane off to the crowd!

-Sam
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Jetlagged
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:11 am

Quoting FutureUApilot (Reply 5):
but the main reason for the seperate rating is because you have to learn how to taxi... not being able to see the ground

Not just that, the tailwheel arrangement is directionally unstable on the ground, leading to a tendency to ground loop. You can also nose over if the brakes are applied too agressively.

In the old days if you couldn't do a three pointer from a power off approach you weren't considered a proper pilot, a wheeler landing being the "safe" choice. However if you think about it the three point landing is basically a near stalled arrival, so with very little margin for error. If the angle of attack of the wing in the three pointer attitude exceeds the stall angle of attack attempting a three pointer is asking for trouble.

On the plus side a three pointer will minimise the landing roll and need for brakes (early aircraft had none at all).
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MDorBust
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:50 am

Quoting FutureUApilot (Reply 5):
I was talking to my Flight Instructor and he said the only difference with flying a tail dragger is you don't really flare much, ...

I get's even worse  Smile

You get to do the counter intuitive move of pushing the controls foreward just before the plane touches down

More info: Tail Dragger Landings (by Kevinl1011 Oct 25 2005 in Tech Ops)#ID131811
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:01 am

It really depends on weather conditions and type of plane. A small plane like a j-3 or so lands beautifully in a full stall 3 point ldg. If it's windy you may want to make a wheel landing . A bigger plane like a Be-18, DC-3 usually makes wheel landings. There's no extra rating for a taildragger but most insurance co. or flight schools will certainly require a few hours of checkout especially landing and taxi.
 
pilotpip
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:10 am

You just need a one time endorsement in your logbook stating you recieved one hour flight and one hour ground instruction, much like a high performance or complex endorsement. However, most will agree that if you learn on tricycle gear, you're going to need more than the minimum one hour ground and one hour flight instruction needed.
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Airgypsy
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:48 pm

Tail draggers are from the era of grass runways. The high traction afforded by touching down on pavement makes even the slightest mistake get magnified. I always recommended my tail dragger customers to maintain the highest recommended tire pressure when landing on pavement because it keeps the contact area reduced until all the weight is on the tires and gives you a few seconds to "straighten things out".
In a tail dragger one rule is above all else. The tires must be pointed in the direction of travel on touchdown.
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Buzz
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:34 pm

Hi Jamesbuk, Buzz here. There's a freindly, chatty forum of Aeronca pilots and mechanics called the fearless-Aeronca Aviatiors (f-AA). One guy on the list is a very good instructor and has written several handouts called "One Man's Opinion". One of them deals with Wheel landings. Don't land tailwheel low, you'll increase the angle of attack and bounce / float. Give the stick a certain push when you feel the wheels brush the grass.

I prefer to land Champs and Cubs MLG first (and power at idle). Your airspeed is a little higher, the better to deal with crosswinds. You can see somewhat better (from the back seat of a J-3 Cub), and you're not as likely to land tailwheel first and bend something.

A DC-3 cannot endure the weight of the airplane landing on that tailwheel strut without bending /tearing metal. So you generally see them wheel landed.

And if you bounce the wheel landing, it's easy to turn it into a 3 pointer!

I'll have to disagree (politely) with Airgypsy about MLG tire pressure. In a Champ/Cub you should be less than 20 psi, above that it becomes somewhat more unstable on a paved runway.
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KAUSpilot
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:27 pm

I prefer to do wheel landings, as I find them easier, especially in larger aircraft. The Stinson 108 I used to fly loved the wheel landings. The Decathlon is more of a 3 pointer.
 
atct
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:24 am

I was taught 3 point landings only. If you cant land a J-3, PA-18 or whatever at a full three point in a crosswind, then you dont deserve the endorement. Ive been told my one of my ex instructors who flew Dc-3's that If you three point landed it in a slight wind, it was if you were asking to have a ground loop.

I agree it depends on the aircraft, but I also believe that any small tailwheel, should always be three-pointed. I can stop a J-3 in less than 200ft from a 3 pt, from a wheel landing that turns into 8-900.

ATCT
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aerobalance
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RE: What Is The Correct Way To Land A Tail Dragger?

Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:27 am

In the 185 that I fly I have been asked by the owner to 3-point land. I make it easier by dialing in quite a bit of nose-up pitch trim on downwind, yes it does require me to fly a touch of downwind, base and final legs with some forward pressure on the yoke but it does become less as I bleed off airspeed.
It all comes together during flair as I ease pressure off gently from the yoke and land in the attitude that I desire.
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