View Full Version : Crosswinds...
I had a few minutes between students yesterday and for the first time in a while we had a little breeze blowing, not a lot, but it was 12 G 20 kts direct x-wind. I went out and shot a few wheelies and a few three points, and did some low crab / slip flybys the kind of stuff I need to do to stay on top of it. It was lots of fun. However, it got me thinking again about the 3 Point / Wheelie argument for crosswinds. I like a wheelie for almost every landing, since I think you have more control, it looks cooler, and the view is better, but others disagree! :lying:
Also, what role does concrete / grass / sand play in your decisions about what kind of landing to use?
Steve, I would LOVE to be proficient in wheel landings. Unfortunately, all the tailwheel instructors that I've had don't like teaching them. We would do tons of 3-pointers, and end up with a couple of wheelies, and be done. Didn't matter what kind of plane either - Citabria, J3, SCub.
Are wheel landings really that hard to teach? Are they hard to do? Why can someone get a tailwheel signoff without proficient wheel landings if they're that important?
09-11-2002, 10:43 AM
I read posts here every day, but this is my first post as I (whisper) "don't own a supercub..." I like to describe myself as a luscombe driver with a cub fetish... I'm still in the process of getting the hang of a tailwheel - best decision I think I've made. I bought my plane last month with zero tailwheel hours, and about 120 total time. Since Aug 1, I've flown over 50 hours, and love being an airplane owner. I typically three wheel onto the runway, and have had only marginal success wheeling. I find there is an airspeed zone where I have no rudder authority, yet my tailwheel is still off the ground - I have practiced this in mild crosswinds, but for anything strong or gusty, I've still gone for the three-point. Is this a common phenomenon in all tail wheel aircraft, or maybe just particular to my style/lack of experience? I did have a nice one wheel cross wind landing last night, that was great, right until my airpseed slowed up again...
Great site, so much to learn!
I will address both Anne and Rockymtn in the same post. I am a babe in the woods as a tailwheel instructor with only about 250 hours of dual given, however, I had good instructors.
Anne: Your instructor is doing you a disservice if he does not teach you how to wheel land. Find another instructor who knows how to fly, and let him go back to the span can tri-gears where he is most comfy. Wheel landings are easy to teach in my opinion, it is my favorite thing to instruct. Come to kansas city for some dual and I will get you converted, the wheelies are almost crimminally easy with the 26" goodyears.
Rocky: The period of limited control as the tail comes up I refer to as the "transition zone", it happens in my cub if you don't push the stick all the way forward on power up, you end up in a slightly nose high, tail low (but off the ground) attitude with little or no rudder authority and the wheels bouncing around. It is pretty squirrelly. Get the tail all the way up to level and pin the wheels down keeps this from happening.
Yesterday, I played with both "letting the tail fall" after the wheelie rollout and also the "fly it down" method of getting the tail back on the ground. I really like the fly it down method which I learned from at Stearman and A6 driver who flew all the cool planes in Korea and WWII. Basically, instead of waiting for the tail to fall from lack of lift, you slowly lower it as you are rolling out, so that it is gently on the ground when everything stops. There is a lot more control here.
Just my perspective!
09-11-2002, 11:18 AM
Thanks Steve -
I have no problems taking off. I actually prefer to hold the tail down as I start rolling (acceleration issues....) The only time I get squirley on the ground is rolling out of a wheelie - that last second before the tail touches. I'll try flying the tail down, as you mentioned - that might be the key, not just waiting for it to drop.
09-11-2002, 11:44 AM
I have been told by many old pilots that a Luscombe is the trickiest of the tailwheels. This isn't a bad thing, it just means you have to be on your toes. You should find an old Luscombe guy to show you the tricks.
As for stall vs. two-point, I'm a 2-point believer. It's what I was taught to maximize control in crosswinds and on short, narrow strips. And it seems that most of our strips are short and narrow, with winds, and worse, big trees that you drop behind before touch-down. Predictability of the wind at and below treetop level is nil. I'm more comfortable with the go-around from a 2-point attitude as well.
I find the best way to be introduced to wheel landings is wait for a good wind straight down the runway. You will be able to get used to landing tail up without the worry of a cross wind. For me, the best practice for crosswind landings is this. Not recommended for the larger tires as this can stress the gear. Use a long paved runway. Pump your tires to max pressure. Start taxiing tail up with one wheel on the centerline line. Repeat this until youre comfortable with a high speed taxi with both wheels on the ground. Keeping one wheel on the centerline will help directional control. After a while start lifting one wheel still keeping one on the centerline. You will be in a wing low position as you motor on. Lift off from this position. Then try the opposite wheel. Eventually you will go from one wheel to the other without worry. This will get you used to landing in a crosswind and for landing on sloped beaches. I'm not an instructor and maybe another will be able to illustrate this more clearly.pak
09-11-2002, 03:29 PM
Ditto on sj's comments Anne..........get a good TW instructor. Wheel landings are easily taught and done with practice. It also affords you a little insurance in windy conditions whereby you maintain contolability longer and are easier able to initiate a go-around, if necessary. I like to keep my TW off the ground in all my landings and pretty much just use it to steer while taxiing. You'll find your landings are just as short and you will have better visibility and control of the cub.
09-11-2002, 03:53 PM
Tell you what Anne, if you want to come up here someday, spend a few hours and you won't go home without being able to do all of the above stuff. I'm 63.6 NM at 40 degrees from ARB, about 35 minutes from you. I can give the coordinates if you want to come.
I decided today being 9/11 and all I'd get the SC out and fly. Just got back from 2.4 hours of landing at a bunch of grass strips in the area. Went to a hard surface strip with a runway 90 degrees to the wind (sock staight out kind of wind) and did a bunch of t/o and landings one wheel down the centerline kind of stuff it was great fun. Pretty gusty so they all didn't turn out picture perfect but that's what it is all about.
If you want short, safe, controlled, touch downs, it is a tail low wheel landing. Everything is flying all the time as you touch down bring the tail up, put weight on the mains and get on the binders, everything is still flying, set the tail down and taxi in, shut the engine down, and then you're not flying anymore. :fadein:
IMHO of coarse.. Gerald
That sounds like an offer that I would not refuse. With Gerald's experience in the Amazon all those years, he could probably even teach those frozen 49th state flyers a thing or two.
Speaking of that, Gerald, it would be GREAT to get a story (with pictures?) from you on your years of flying the amazon - even if it wasn't in a PA18.
Gerald - that is definitely an offer I can't/won't refuse. Thank you! I've been OK on grass with 3-points, but on pavement I'd like to be able to do wheel landings, too. I'll send you a private e-mail, and we can set something up. Thanks again!
09-12-2002, 08:15 PM
I am having fun learning wheelies and three pointers also. The guys I get pointers from encourage learn it all, practice it all, and do it all. Every take off and landing is different in a tail dragger. Keep us posted on your experiences with Gerald.
Never Stay Level, Rick Papp
I checked myself out in the C-170 I bought today, quite humbling to say the least. The flight pictures are just plain crazy in this airplane, level looks like a descent, a descent looks like a dive, you can stall in a dive looking attitude.
I will be right back to square one for a couple weeks learning the ropes in this beast, and am going to look up my 85 year old instructor friend who really knows how to do it.
Steve, good luck with the new plane. It sounds like it's going to be quite a challenge! And I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one in the learning stage. I hope you enjoy it, but don't start to like the 170 so much that you forget all about the cub & us! :(
Never ever happen. The cub puts a grin on peoples faces in a way the 170 could never do. The do complement each other nicely however.
09-12-2002, 10:41 PM
Hey, we're all still learning. When I'm brushing the cobwebs off I start slow taxiing down the centerline, after I can hold it pretty steady, I use the hash marks as pylons- first putting the left wheel on a line, then the right, gradually building up speed. After I get the feel of that, I use the taxi lights as targets and roll from one side of the runway to the other. after a little practice, I increase the power to lift the tailwheel, then reduce the power to just enough to keep the tailwheel up, and do the same excersize. As thing get more comfortable, I increase the speed and pray for the best. This gives you the feel for the pitch attitude and ground handling of a wheel landing without the added stress of landing. After 4 or 5 times up and down a 5000 foot runway, your ready to do it from the air.
I use this for my tailwheel students and the same thing in reverse for training wheel students(power enough to keep the nose wheel in the air).
Its a good idea to do this in calm wind conditions the first time, and not do with much of a tailwind. You can also tell if your getting in the bad habit of using the brakes to steer with(save em for getting you out of trouble or taxiing in more crosswind than tailwheel steering can handle.
The Luscome is infamous for poor ground handling. It and the Pacer suffer from main gear set close together and a short fuselodge. Make sure the nose is pointed the same direction the plane is moving at touchdown, even if you land on one wheel, get the tail down firmly before you lose rudder conrtol, and stop or crawl as soon as possible.
Imagine what landing a me109 was like. The rudder is small, the mains are really close, the windscreen is smaller than a postage stamp, and the engine is really loooong.
09-14-2002, 11:04 PM
Spent the day searching for challenges - seemed the wind was blowing straight down the runways at every place I stopped (15 G20 is still a challenge for me however.) So no new crosswind stories - however, I did get a chance to make a wheel landing with a pretty strong head wind, and it made a big difference - I felt more in control without worrying that a gust would lift me off the runway in a full stall attitude.
I did my first night flying this evening in my airplane, first time ever in a taildragger at night. I wouldn't call it my best performance, but I made it safely off the runway 5 times, varying between wheelies and three pointers. I'm curious if anyone has advice to offer on night landings - my total night flying time is less than 12 hours, so I'm waaaaay new to this part of flying.
I certainly did enjoy the peacefulness of sitting up there in my OWN bird checking out the lights of my town, the moon lighting up the foothills - I think it'll be a place I find myself often after a long day of work!!!
Steve, maybe you could do a comparison of the SuperCub and C-170 for us newbies. I'm a student pilot and can't wait to get in a cub.
Well, OK! I flew them both today (decadent, I know).
This morning we flew to a new friends farm in the cub without a strip and landed in a terraced uphill cornfield that had been mowed and rolled out in front of his house. I stopped WAY short, probably in 200 ft or less due to a nice headwind. Taking off took a little longer and was good for getting the blood rushing around in the veins. I am very comfortable from the back seat (in the case) that in the cub I can "fix" about any situiation that comes up. My own analysis, and that of some other is that the 170 will keep your feet a LOT busier. I shot some 12 G 19 near direct x-winds in the 170 on Friday with an 81 year old instructor pilot friend of mine and found that the 170 can really handle the wind - and I that I can handle the 170. I took my wife for a sunset cruise in "her" 170 this evening and upon landing rollout (perfect landing I might add) I started fiddling with the flap lever and looked up to see myself zipping off the the left on the runway. The 170 requires your complete attention, the cub, well, you can get a little sloppy. At least I can.
I have the DM7653 which is the "standard" prop on the 170, and it gets off pretty quick with a couple folks in it and full fuel. Quicker than I expected, or at least I had heard there was a long ground run. It does not climb out like a space shuttle, but if you obstacles are low, as most of them are here, it should be OK for some shorter operations. My cub is only 135HP and I have the standard prop on it as well, for comparison.
The tailwheel needs to be rebuilt on the 170, fortunately, I have a spare 3200 which is what both the 170 and the cub use. The steering gadget is shot in the 170 so I must steer with brakes right now, getting this fixed will be a HUGE help.
The top three differences:
1. The nose low attitude of the 170 is startling (unbelieveable) at first.
2. If your feet are lazy in the 170, you will be buying some runway lights, or possibly a new wing or two.
3. All airplanes should have sticks and not yokes, I sure prefer the stick, but the transition to taildragger yoke is not bad, it just ain't "natrual"....
09-26-2002, 09:38 PM
I feel that it is most important to be proficient in and flexible enough to use more than one technique based on; type of equipment, operating surface and length, wind speed and orientation, and bosses preference (if working).
My personal choice more often than not though is a tail low wheel landing. Followed either by pinning it on the mains in a stronger wind, letting the tail settle in calm conditions, or aggressive braking while pinning the tail (with the use of reverse in the turbine work planes I fly) if I want to get stopped short.
I will use tail high wheel landings with more speed in the case of severe crosswind conditions (less flap here too), when flying a faster tailwheel plane (ex. turbine Beech 18), or landing a work (ag) plane with a heavy load still in the plane.
I will three point when I get a bit tired and lazy (after 50 or so loads) and when I am landing with a strong (in excess of 15 mph) direct tailwind.
09-26-2002, 10:57 PM
Greetings Crosswind jockeys...
Out where I was working, it usually blows 35-45 every day, but on the days that it is only blowing 20 or so, we can deal with it.
The worst thing is when its blowing from the NW, so it is a crosswind on 35 as well as 25, so what we do is just land across the runway (gravel), and then just be careful taxiing.
After a long 10 hour day of bush flying, one just wants to land and go to dinner! The benefit of gravel or grass is it allows for a little side-drift--NOT much mind you--but a little...and if the runway is long (1000 ft or more) you get down at the end and you have time to play with it and wait till it feels right before you let it down. Keep her down the centerline....and away from the fence at the end of the runway!
10-06-2002, 06:43 PM
I make both wheel landings and 3 pointers........teach both also........in fact they are required to be taught for a tailwheel endorsment now. A long time and very experienced cub driver friend of mine always said "the difference between wheel landings and 3 pointers.......is the cost of the repairs"..........think about it. As far as what looks better..........I could care less...........what works the best and is the safest for the conditions, is what I'm concerned about. I try to instill this in my students also.
PS........I also love those nearly 3 point landings (tail low, tailwheel about 2 inches above the surface) that some make and then raise the tail on rollout by popping the stick forward immediately after the mains touch.........thinking that's a wheel landing.......but whatever works I suppose.
10-06-2002, 09:57 PM
I agree with you as to "what works". for the most part the tail low landing is usually best suited and usually works best for control at minimal airspeed. (at least for me) in my airplane.
As for landing that way and then lifting the tail back up on roll out, I use this some times as well, the reason is In a strong wind/ or gusty wind condition it sometimes is assurance that the "kite won't fly if the wheels are glued to the terafirma.
This proceedure is also a throw back to my experience in landing a 185, beaver, and yes a F4UD corsair! You can't see a thing over the nose once the tail is down! On a narrow strip, visibility straight over the nose is paramont, and when the speed bleeds off the tail will fall!
It is good that you are teaching "Both" and instructing the difference, most pilots today are not properly trained in "attitude landing" and making adjustments to compensate for conditions as well as "how to salvage a bad landing! (go arounds are not an option in most bush situations) Attempts to do so Kill people---right Andy!!
10-06-2002, 10:15 PM
Ok...........I'm not going to get into a big can of worms here......like I said.........whatever works and is safe.......do it.........but.......and again....I'm not going to comment further on this....but..if you have enough speed to raise the tail............then you could have made a properly executed wheel landing..............WOW.....don't get mad at me now.........but think about it........I speak from 40 plus years of flying........I don't profess to have all the answers.....I don't......no one does...........but if you're going into a narrow strip..........and visibility is a problem.........then why get the tail down..and then raise it...........why not properly wheel it on , so forward visibility is never impaired.......anyway..........not arguing............just my point of view. Never got to fly a Corsair........but got to taxi one once.......was tempted to push the throttle forward......3 point......not much forward visibility.........similar to a T-6 from the back seat. PS........overall........I prefer the 3 point landings myself........ok, one last thing............a properly executed wheel landing...........the stick or wheel/yoke moves very little (fore or aft) after main wheels touch......untill speed starts to diminish........Brian
10-07-2002, 11:01 AM
Just an observation and opinion from real life experience (most of it mine)
The reason (I) land with the tail low say 1 foot off the ground is that it protects the airplane/tailwheel from getting knocked off (broken usually at the bolt attachpoint on the spring)$$ if that happens and it has, it usually ends up ##$%&^ up the rudder and causing at least the next landing to be less than fun (duct taped together rudder, landing on the tail spring, flying in of new parts (if lucky enough to be within calling distance)!
Most of us are not good enough to judge from the air the exact size of the obstacles that litter a landing area that has not been "improved". My technique of roll out with the tail lifted is for self preservation, not what you would teach a new pilot! I have observed (myself included) that usually (you are right Brian) most wheel landings are done at a higher speed) and are not generally used except to give better control on roll out due to the fact that the center of "weight" is moved forward to under the tires. This is not the optimal situation for landing in an area that one does not know as a fact the condition of the ground?
I respect your 40+ years of experience and would one day hope to learn from you personally, as I am always desiring to improve my technique. There is however a vast difference in landing in a location that has been landed at before, especially if you are "able" to make a go around if all doesn't work out as planned. In the mounts and canyons that is not always and option so one has to make a "decision" on approach, set up and not change his/her mind. rely on experience and as TJ says, when the dust settles sometimes you pay, usually you pray and if all goes well you slap yourself High Five and live to play/work another day!
By the way: I NEVER GO INTO A ONE WAY, NEVER LANDED AT DESIGNATION WITH A PASSENGER (THE FIRST TIME)! PERIOD!!
picture of a rocky/ brushy landing area below:
10-07-2002, 11:13 AM
Nice pic............I still haven't figured out how to post a pic on here.........oh well.........totally agree with you about not taking a pax the first time..........several reasons......one being the weight.
10-07-2002, 02:54 PM
Yeh, I am still patting myself on the back for finally learning how to post photos to the posts!
Basically you first have to '"upload" what ever photo you want to use to the "FTP" site that SJ has set up (that URL address is:) ftp://ftp.supercub.org/cubloads I found out that you have to "name your file with a continuous name, IE; briansplane.jpg
The in your post you need to type in the URL address for the picture, like this: http://www.supercub.org/cubload/briansplane.jpg
after you type the address in, highlight it with your curser and then add the [img] symbol by clicking on the symbol at the upper right of the post window?
NOTE: you can check what you just did by clicking on preview at the bottom of the page and "testing" your work?
If that doesn't work, go to the posted discussion area the is titled "Posting Pictures to your posts" and or as I had to do send a PM to SJ and ask for help!!
He is great at helping and knows what he is talking about!!
I hope to in the near future create a "short video on "off airport landing technique" any interest??
10-07-2002, 03:26 PM
Thanks Tim.....I'll give it another try.........I finally had to contact Steve to get my plane/train pic next to my name......I spent hours trying to do it myself...couldn't figure it out. Thanks again
10-07-2002, 03:57 PM
The great debate. Three-point or wheel landings. Well, I learned both, but I haven't three-pointed on purpose for a long time. I guess the best reason for it is control. I have better control of the plane on short final, I hit my spots better, and I have more control on the ground with the tail-low wheel landing. If I choose a short runway, I want to use all of it, and not float 50 feet because I carried a little speed to get over that last log, or bush. No criticism of others or their techniques. It's just that I am better with the modified wheel landing.
More on the great debate: For years I used the three point landing for getting in short and wheel landings for windy ( 15 plus ) conditions. After reading alot on this subject and watching some experts, I changed my method for short strips. Just over stall, by 1 or 2 kts, at the approch end I stick the main wheels on, tail high and jam on the brakes. ( using the stick to keep the prop out of the grass or gravel) With all the weight transfered to the main wheels, and how brave you are, you can stop real short. It's tuff to get a greaser this way because just over stall the tail is low and you have to get the mains on first. But with a little practice the sudden impact isn't to bad. Works for me
10-08-2002, 01:00 AM
That works if you have firm ground to work with. Around here and in so many places in Alaska where I used to fly, the ground was seldom hard enough to count on braking, also you got to really be careful in places that you haven't been before? As brian said, there is not much difference other than "attitude" that determines a wheel landing and a three point. I agree on a windy day a level attitude with a slight bit more power will definitely give more control and you still have elevator effectivenes and more rudder effectiveness cause you have prop wash/and speed working with you.
The beauty of 5-10 kts of wind is apparent when you feel like you are standing still with full control!! got to love a good headwind!
Dead air Sucks!! period, end of subject! Let's all practice
10-08-2002, 07:00 PM
Dead air really sucks, Especially just as you cross the threshold on a very short ridgetop....
Had a Spike Camp on a similar spot this year, and the first time I landed there, it almost bit me. 250 feet one-way, sloped, and you came right over a deep Ravine and touched down on the far edge of it....But every time I went in there, it was always quartering from the left until about midway over the ravine, and then it went what felt like dead calm. Kinda spooky the first time, but once I was expecting it...easy day.
10-08-2002, 07:13 PM
Andy, only thing missing is flying in there right after ya! I remember a similar spot down on the peninsula, had to fly up a river wash, to about 2800ft, then make a hard right and land, period! All that to get within mile and half of where the main herd of Caribou crossed! The trick was you had to be 1 notch flap climbing up the canyon, and then had to pull the rest of them, make the turn and not drop like a rock cause the wind always died as soon as you were hidden behind the hill, know what I mean? this little spot was a piece of cake even with a fat hunter if the wind was steady 10-15 problem was, late in the day it would usually change and blow up the canyon? great for taking a load of meat back to base, just made it a bitch to get back in the same night. that little spot got a tail wheel (hit the only rock to big to move!) and it also got my good Northface tent, as I had to leave it for 4 days!!
Why the heck do I miss all that fun?? must be nuts?--
Have fun, should be starting to tighten up in the Talkeetnas by now? How was hunting this year?
10-10-2002, 11:47 PM
Man Brian, Your posts are HARD to read! Too many dots....
Do ya fly like that too? Just kidding, I think that one can analyze the manner in which crosswinds are dealt with too much, if you have enough strip, you can play with it, and do whatever it takes to get it down and keep it down. On a Bush strip, crosswinds are easily dealt with, if it is too short and you can't land across, you just don't land. But on the ridgetops and tundra, generally it is blowing hard enough to just land into the wind--aah, what a concept! I would certainly think twice before landing on a paved strip in 20mph or more crosswind--but then I don't land on pavement, so I guess this means I am uncivilized eh?
10-11-2002, 12:33 AM
Sorry, I'll try not to do that in any future posts.
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