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Thread: wheel landing

  1. #1

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    wheel landing

    I am getting used to my super and having some problems with the landing. I did a stall series to find the best approach speed, found out all it wants to do is mush at about 38 mph. Started with a final approach speed of 50 with full flaps but it seemed too high so have been using 45 with full flaps ( I have not yet installed the vortex generators) I want to work on wheel landings and been watching some video's by and instructor in a supercub. He recommends 70mph for the approach speed. Unless I am landing on 5000 ft runway this just sounds way too fast. I would like some input from the "pros" here. What are you guys using.

    Thanks
    Bob

  2. #2

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    I agree 70 is way to fast!!! One thing that helped me was a variation of the old dot on windshield trick. With cub on the ground in 3 point sit in plane in your normal landing posture and pot the dot on top on nose bowl. As you land if the dot is low you will be tailwheel first if it is high you will be doing a wheel landing. A steep approach at 40-45 I don't have a lot of flare left, so I have to add power or make a hard flare and hope to get the nose down before the tail hits. When it works it is sweet but I get it wrong about 50 percent of the time. 50 gives me enough flare to roll it on pretty easy but will add some to my roll out. Hopefully someone will some good advice my tail spring is tired of getting beat up.
    DENNY

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    CuBob,

    please find a qualified flight instructor in cubs and get a little dual instruction. Trust me, it will pay off.

    MTV

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    Approach only slightly faster than when doing a three point. With nose down trim. Flare to stop decent and when close to-touch down release the back pressure. You can touch down quite firmly if the tail is coming up without a bounce.

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    I am with Mike - sort of. A wheel landing is merely an interrupted flare. You approach any way you want, but at the last minute you touch down on the mains. All you need to do is "think" forward pressure.

    They are actually so easy in the Cub that I delay teaching them until the full stall is mastered. The first several are done with power, as in "fly it on". After that, we work on wheel landings at idle power and minimum speed.

    The skill comes with Cessna 180s and Decathlons. Learn in the Cub first.

    On the approach speed - the Cub is different. You can approach at 122 if you want - you want to be over the fence at very near stall speed, and with a little planning you can slow down right now. But students are generally taught at 60 and 50, assuming the airspeed indicator works. A Husky, or a Mooney - approach speed is critical.

    opinion.

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    supercub's Avatar
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    The purpose of a wheel landing is to have full and good control authority at touchdown for crosswinds....at least that's the general conscenus. I've given reviews to pilots that can only make what they consider a wheel landing by touching the mains in a tail low attitude and then briskly moving the stick forward to raise the tail. the so called "sticking it." What good this technique achieves has always been a mystery to me........I don't see the purpose of this.........if you're going to land in this attitude, why not continue and land in a three point attitude, so you're touching down with the least forward speed, plus weight is transferred to the wheels, and you're getting additional drag from the positive angle of attack of the wings. Anyway, the proper wheel landing needs to be executed at slightly higher then stall speed.............50 over the fence is fine......or even a little slower, remember the whole idea is control authority..............A well executed wheel landing should involve minimal aft or forward control stick movement just prior to and just after the mains have touched...........the airplane should be in a nearly level attitude, in order to keep the tail up as the airplane slows you'll need to smoothly feed in forward control pressure.......this is not really necessary unless you're trying to keep the tail up due to conditions. You can somewhat control the decent of the tail by stick pressure.......once the tailwheel is on the ground, full aft stick pressure should be held........if properly executed the airplane will be just above a fast taxi speed at this point You can read about them all day long, but nothing takes the place of a good qualified instructor in the back seat with you. Be safe
    Brian

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    wheel landing

    Quote Originally Posted by supercub View Post
    The purpose of a wheel landing is to have full and good control authority at touchdown for crosswinds....at least that's the general conscenus. I've given reviews to pilots that can only make what they consider a wheel landing by touching the mains in a tail low attitude and then briskly moving the stick forward to raise the tail. the so called "sticking it." What good this technique achieves has always been a mystery to me........I don't see the purpose of this.......... Be safe
    Brian
    Keeps the tail out of any rough stuff, better vis over the cowl, you can get on the brakes.

    Biggest thing is to get out and practice and feel it.

  8. #8
    supercub's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RaisedByWolves;608312]Keeps the tail out of any rough stuff, better vis over the cowl, you can get on the brakes.
    Then why not make a level attitude wheel landing so you have better visibility over the nose during touchdown........personally, over the nose visibility over the nose in a Supercub is kind of a mute point since you have good visibility in the 3 point attitude. You can get on the brakes.......yep and go over on your back if not careful. This goes back to the.........which is better wheel landings or 3 point. Again, get a good instructor and practice. Safe Flying
    Brian

  9. #9
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    I like to come in for a full stall 3 point or in a full stall slip and when the mains are less then a foot above the ground push foward and roll it on taking the AOA out so it doesn't bounce. As much as I like wheel landings I still slip to full stall 2 point on the upwind main and TW.

    Glenn

  10. #10
    L18C-95's Avatar
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    Have only time in light tailwheel types, but understood the tail low wheel landing was recommended for larger tailwheel types, eg Beech 18 etc?

    My SC is flap less so over the fence is typically 50 mph - this seems to work for both three pointer and wheel landings. The airfield I fly out of is 09/27, so tends to have some crosswind. Light winds would try for a two pointer (upwind mains and tail wheel), brisker winds would chose wheel landing. Some TW schools don't teach wheel landings, which always struck me as odd.

  11. #11

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    I teach all three, in crosswinds or headwinds. I expect proficiency in full stall first. I look for 12 kts x-wind before a taildragger signoff. I practice in 22kts, at 90 degrees, and do not have the skill for much higher in a J-3.

  12. #12
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Here we are all the way to post #12 and no one has mentioned that it is important to have a zero rate of descent when you touch down. The approach speed can be anything. It is the rate of descent when the wheels actually touch the ground which will determine the success of the arrival whether it be a three pointer or a wheely.

    edit: It is the rate of descent of the main gear which is important. The rest of the plane does not need to be zero. The airspeed on approach only defines the length of the landing area.

    As Bob says "The skill comes with Cessna 180s and Decathlons."
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 09-01-2014 at 07:32 AM.
    N1PA

  13. #13
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    Go find a long grass runway with nobody around and practice all the above, it will come to you. It comes with feeling comfortable in the airplane and you can get that with time in the seat. Me, I'm going to try what Tom Ford says, tail wheel low and stick it on the mains, no bounce and I'll be able to see what I might hit.

  14. #14

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    Thanks for all the response, I appreciate all the advice. A "good" instructor would be great, however the problem is that they are few and far between. One of the great things about the cub is that it is very forgiving and will just barely kill you so off I go to see what I can learn. It will be a lifelong endeavor just as it has been for the last 38 years of flying. Keep coming with the advice! Some will be good and some not so good but all will be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CuBob View Post
    Thanks for all the response, I appreciate all the advice. A "good" instructor would be great, however the problem is that they are few and far between. One of the great things about the cub is that it is very forgiving and will just barely kill you so off I go to see what I can learn. It will be a lifelong endeavor just as it has been for the last 38 years of flying. Keep coming with the advice! Some will be good and some not so good but all will be appreciated.
    Cubob, Kansas City is not that far from you, why don't you come over here for a weekend and we can get you sorted.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  16. #16

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    I need to be sorted, damn i wish you were closer. Very few will work with my files.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Go find a long grass runway with nobody around and practice all the above, it will come to you. It comes with feeling comfortable in the airplane and you can get that with time in the seat. Me, I'm going to try what Tom Ford says, tail wheel low and stick it on the mains, no bounce and I'll be able to see what I might hit.
    Timmy, your landing are much better since Tom worked with you

    Glenn

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    I need to be sorted, damn i wish you were closer. Very few will work with my files.
    I could even get you converted to "permdoug" since you have been around here such a long time!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  19. #19
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Go find a long grass runway with nobody around and practice all the above, it will come to you. It comes with feeling comfortable in the airplane and you can get that with time in the seat. Me, I'm going to try what Tom Ford says, tail wheel low and stick it on the mains, no bounce and I'll be able to see what I might hit.
    A really good old timer taught me that trick.

    With 31's +3" gear and an Oregon aero cushion I can just barely see over the cowl. Throw in a thrust line and I can't see anything over the cowl.

  20. #20
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    ...... and I can't see anything over the cowl.
    So look around the cowl. I've landed on runways which were so narrow that you could not see any of the runway once the nose came up.
    N1PA

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by CuBob View Post
    I am getting used to my super and having some problems with the landing. I did a stall series to find the best approach speed, found out all it wants to do is mush at about 38 mph. Started with a final approach speed of 50 with full flaps but it seemed too high so have been using 45 with full flaps ( I have not yet installed the vortex generators) I want to work on wheel landings and been watching some video's by and instructor in a supercub. He recommends 70mph for the approach speed. Unless I am landing on 5000 ft runway this just sounds way too fast. I would like some input from the "pros" here. What are you guys using.

    Thanks
    Bob
    Picture a relatively slow speed constant rate descent in a relatively level attitude. Probably what you do on final. On a comfortable runway maintain that profile and let the ground get it the way. Remember, pitch controls speed and throttle controls altitude so try to maintain a stable attitude and adjust throttle to control the contact point. Forget the "spot" for now and give yourself a comfy margin down the runway. The first few tries may be easier if you plan to go around after wheels touch. From that same attitude apply power and off you go. No flare, no adjustment of pitch. The key to not bouncing is to land slow enough that the plane doesn't want to fly any more. That'll take some practice. If you happen to bounce, which is usually the fault of pulling on the stick. Add a little power and get it back in proper attitude to land or just go around and try again. Don't make it a mystery. If you can fly an airplane from altitude to a runway on the ground you have the skills to wheel land. As you gain confidence you can fly the final leg at very high rates of descent and use a blip of throttle and ground effect to buffer the rate at the last moment. That's what most of the "pros" will do in most situations. Seeking advanced instruction is always a good idea but for your issue a local friend who's good at wheelers can show you the process and let you get the picture, if that kind of learning suits you. I'm a show me-let me try kind of guy myself.

    Have fun!

  22. #22

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    BTW, my take of the tail low wheeler is that it's the classic wheeler set up with a late flare to a full stall but there isn't enough room for the tail to touch the ground. The benefit is a good view on final to a landing that's as slow as it can be. If I can land tail low the airplane clearly is finished flying. The overall best trait is that it's easier to control in wind and you'll have better authority to hit a spot when compared to a conventional three-point landing. If you have gusty conditions you're probably better off keeping the tail higher.

  23. #23
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    [QUOTE=supercub;608313]
    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Keeps the tail out of any rough stuff, better vis over the cowl, you can get on the brakes.
    Then why not make a level attitude wheel landing so you have better visibility over the nose during touchdown........personally, over the nose visibility over the nose in a Supercub is kind of a mute point since you have good visibility in the 3 point attitude. You can get on the brakes.......yep and go over on your back if not careful. This goes back to the.........which is better wheel landings or 3 point. Again, get a good instructor and practice. Safe Flying
    Brian
    Brian,

    The reason not to use a more level attitude wheel landing in the rougher stuff is to minimize impact to gear and airframe at touchdown.....slower is better, and a tail low wheel landing, properly executed, provides almost exactly the same touchdown speed as a well executed three point. Minimizing speed at touchdown minimizes stress on the airplane and is essential to off airport (and on airport for that matter) operations.

    I would argue that the wheel landing is most assuredly NOT just useful in crosswinds. In fact, I teach tail low wheel landings extensively to my students. Here are a couple of reasons this technique is useful:

    First, as noted earlier, this technique protects the tailwheel, tailspring and aft section of the airplane. Off airport this is essential, but even on airports, plunking that tailwheel down at speed is tough on structures and the wheel itself. I've said for years that the toughest job of any part of an airplane is that of being a tailwheel. Consider the size of that poor little wheel, and then think about the spin up of that wheel upon touchdown. Wheel bearings, tire wear, etc, etc. Now, consider the structures that the tail wheel and spring are attached to.....those take a beating as well. I'm an advocate of being kind to one's tailwheel, and the wheel landing does that job, but putting the tailwheel down at minimum forward speed, and minimum side loading.

    Second, as noted by Raised by Wolves, using a wheel landing in off airport ops permits the pilot to better visualize your landing zone. As Pete says, you can see out both sides of the plane, but even on airports, there can be things in the middle of a runway that can cause havoc. Anybody remember the Air France Concorde disaster? That was caused by debris on the runway, which shredded a tire on the Concorde, which opened a fuel tank, etc. Point is, even on a major airport, there can be things out there that can damage an airplane. Getting the tail up right after touchdown helps the pilot (particularly short guys like me) visualize what's in FRONT of the airplane, not just what's to one or the other side of the airplane. In off airport ops, you're frequently faced with a lot of rocks, logs, etc in the landing area, and being able to see those as you roll out is essential. Additionally, many off airport landing zones are curved or have a dogleg.

    The tail low wheel landing also ensures that the airplane is pretty much out of energy at the touch, thus minimizing the likelihood of a bounce, or balloon. The airplane is pretty much done flying at the touch, and then rolling it up onto the mains kills the angle of attack of the wing almost entirely. Even a fairly hearty gust of wind won't cause the airplane to balloon, because the airplane is slow, and the angle of attack is essentially level.

    Unlike Pete, I've never really developed the perfection to achieve that zero descent rate just prior to the touchdown EVERY time. Sometimes, I haven't quite got to that level of nirvana, and the tail low wheel landing allows me to arrive with just a smidge more descent rate that "optimal", and the airplane still forgives me, rather than ballooning up mightily, thus requiring a go around. Done properly, the tail low wheel landing puts the airplane in an attitude and airspeed where it is simply done flying at the touch.

    Finally, the tail low wheel landing offers basically the best of both the wheel and three point landing techniques: Slow touchdown to minimize stress on the airframe and to reduce bounces and balloons, visibility over the nose, etc.

    Oh, yeah, after just a little practice, the tail low wheel landing is a WHOLE lot easier to pull off a nice landing, and the airplane is a WHOLE lot easier to manage once it's on the runway, since it's speed is so much lower.

    Try it, you might like it......But again, all this stuff is best accomplished with an experienced instructor in your aircraft type and this technique.

    MTV

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Throw in a thrust line and I can't see anything over the cowl.
    Surely as fast as Lee's growing he will let you borrow his old booster seat.
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 09-01-2014 at 12:34 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  25. #25
    Tim's Avatar
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    MTV explains it perfectly. Oldcrow you are lucky you live near that excellent pilot Eaton, he can teach you how to grease it on and stop without hitting anything.

    Tim

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    he can teach you how to grease it on
    Tim
    Pretty dangerous using Eaton and Grease in the same sentence
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    MTV explains it perfectly. Oldcrow you are lucky you live near that excellent pilot Eaton, he can teach you how to grease it on and stop without hitting anything.

    Tim
    Ya well except for that one time...
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  28. #28

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    Cubob
    MTV as usual has excellent advice. At runways without a dirt strip I try to land on the gravel shoulder and there is usually a taxiway light right in the middle of the taxi turnoff so I push to level for better vis. For the advanced you will get better hard braking with tailwheel high but the chance of prop tip wear is increased! Best left for those with deep pockets. One other note is seat position. recently I found myself leaning forward to see over the nose on final, The pilot in the backseat mentioned it to me. I did not realized that my seat was father back than usual decreasing my over the nose vis. Moving the seat forward solved the problem, but my landings still sucked Seat full forward is best for vis but a bit cramped for long flights.
    DENNY

  29. #29
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    Pretty dangerous using Eaton and Grease in the same sentence

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Picture a relatively slow speed constant rate descent in a relatively level attitude. Probably what you do on final. On a comfortable runway maintain that profile and let the ground get it the way. Remember, pitch controls speed and throttle controls altitude so try to maintain a stable attitude and adjust throttle to control the contact point. Forget the "spot" for now and give yourself a comfy margin down the runway. The first few tries may be easier if you plan to go around after wheels touch. From that same attitude apply power and off you go. No flare, no adjustment of pitch. The key to not bouncing is to land slow enough that the plane doesn't want to fly any more. That'll take some practice. If you happen to bounce, which is usually the fault of pulling on the stick. Add a little power and get it back in proper attitude to land or just go around and try again. Don't make it a mystery. If you can fly an airplane from altitude to a runway on the ground you have the skills to wheel land. As you gain confidence you can fly the final leg at very high rates of descent and use a blip of throttle and ground effect to buffer the rate at the last moment. That's what most of the "pros" will do in most situations. Seeking advanced instruction is always a good idea but for your issue a local friend who's good at wheelers can show you the process and let you get the picture, if that kind of learning suits you. I'm a show me-let me try kind of guy myself.

    Have fun!
    Cubob,

    Something occurred to me as I made a perfect landing a few minutes ago. The kind where you can feel the individual nuggets of gravel as the mains settle on. I had lots of stuff in the plane and it was loaded aft. Within CG but aft. In my planes that's made trimming for final more positive and more stable. No pilot input necessary for the elevator. Trim the attitude for the target speed, it kisses the ground like it's supposed to. Perhaps a little aft weight will help you.

  31. #31
    180Marty's Avatar
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    The other day the guy flying the 802 Air Tractor landed and it was about perfect wheel landing. I told him I should have made a video and posted it on Youtube. I also told him it looked about like a glassy water float plane which it did.

  32. #32

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    How come you instructor types havent set your GoPros on a tripod and made some instructional videos of the 3pt and wheel landings, with some narrations as things are happening? Learned how to land in rocks that way.

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    How come you instructor types havent set your GoPros on a tripod and made some instructional videos of the 3pt and wheel landings, with some narrations as things are happening? Learned how to land in rocks that way.

    Here are some that I have made specifically for such reasons.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=578u...iRRhwzlQMxTUCv

    I would be curious if you find them helpful.

  34. #34

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    My instructor was a retired WWII fighter pilot, mostly flew P-47 and P-51's and had thousands of B-18 time. His comment to me, as I he was giving me my tail-wheel endorsement was this "Wheel landing are only for showing off" that pretty well summed it up for me. I do understand what is being discussed here and agree that there is a place for the different types of landings. But everytime I am on short final in a tailwheel airplane that quote pops into my head. Funny how things stick with you over time.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  35. #35
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    Funny, my ww2 era high time ( 30k) pilot that gave my tail wheel sign off 30 years ago told me the opposite. He said to come in tailwheel low and stick it on the main gear, he said better control that way. That was after mastering 3 point landings. Those two guys must of had different instructors.

    Posted Using the Free SuperCub.Org Android App!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aerotow1 View Post
    My instructor was a retired WWII fighter pilot, mostly flew P-47 and P-51's and had thousands of B-18 time. His comment to me, as I he was giving me my tail-wheel endorsement was this "Wheel landing are only for showing off" that pretty well summed it up for me. I do understand what is being discussed here and agree that there is a place for the different types of landings. But everytime I am on short final in a tailwheel airplane that quote pops into my head. Funny how things stick with you over time.

    Cheers,
    Dan
    well, there may be differences between latter day warbird pilots and the "originals" who flew those planes, but you sure don't see three point landings performed much by warbird pilots in fighters (or bombers) these days. Including those flying T 6 s, which by all accounts are more challenging to land than most fighters of the era.

    I've flown with two WW II pilots over the years and both advocated wheel landings for many conditions.

    MTV

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Funny, my ww2 era high time ( 30k) pilot that gave my tail wheel sign off 30 years ago told me the opposite. He said to come in tailwheel low and stick it on the main gear, he said better control that way. That was after mastering 3 point landings. Those two guys must of had different instructors.

    Posted Using the Free SuperCub.Org Android App!
    I started out learning in a cub and my instructor beat wheel landings into my for head on gusty days. Once I could handle 3 point every 3rd or 4th landing was wheeled on. He would wait till final and tell me which he wanted, slow and controlled 3 point or add 15mph and wheel it on and hold tail up till it wouldn't fly. To me a wheel landing was carry extra speed for control and plant it firmly on the ground tail high and negative AOA. Timmy showed me a different type of landing that is still wheeled on but not what I consider a normal wheel landing. Set up slow to 3pt and roll it on the mains the second it touches or 6" up before it touches. Slow approach, slow touchdown, negative AOA to keep it on the ground and a great view but not a wheel landing in my book. Its a wheeled on 3pt that gives you better control without the extra speed.

    WWII pilots will differ. Navy trained will 3pt. AAF liked fast wheel landings because you could get a lot of guys on the ground quick because touchdown speed was same as speed on final.

    Glenn
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 02-15-2015 at 12:52 PM.

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    On this same subject (in a round about way). What is the max xwind you will land in on a normal basis. I know we have guys on here who say they will accept any xwind as long as it is under 80kts or so, but how about the average pilot on here. What is the max xwind you consider acceptable in a Cub.

  39. #39
    L18C-95's Avatar
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    . What is the max xwind you consider acceptable in a Cub.
    In the absence of a demonstrated crosswind component consensus seems to be around 20 mph?

    http://www.supercub.org/forum/archiv...p/t-34011.html

  40. #40
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    I started out learning in a cub and my instructor beat wheel landings into my for head on gusty days. Once I could handle 3 point every 3rd or 4th landing was wheeled on. He would wait till final and tell me which he wanted, slow and controlled 3 point or add 15mph and wheel it on and hold tail up till it wouldn't fly. To me a wheel landing was carry extra speed for control and plant it firmly on the ground tail high and negative AOA. Timmy showed me a different type of landing that is still wheeled on but not what I consider a normal wheel landing. Set up slow to 3pt and roll it on the mains the second it touches or 6" up before it touches. Slow approach, slow touchdown, negative AOA to keep it on the ground and a great view but not a wheel landing in my book. Its a wheeled on 3pt that gives you better control without the extra speed.

    WWII pilots will differ. Navy trained will 3pt. AAF liked fast wheel landings because you could get a lot of guys on the ground quick because touchdown speed was same as speed on final.

    Glenn
    Glenn, the Navy teaches controlled crashes, not landings. Cubs aren't that tough. But, the procedure you describe that Tim taught you is precisely the "tail low wheel landing" we've been espousing.

    Now, let's talk about that landing a Cub 15 mph over the stall. Yes, you CAN do that, but why would you want to??? All you're doing is wearing out wheel bearings and tires.

    Your instructor was advocating higher speeds for gusty crosswinds, right? Okay, consider that the "standard" recommendation for speed to be added to approach speed for gusty crosswinds is to add half the gust factor to your normal approach speed. So, if you have a direct crosswind at 10, gusting to 15 knots, by that reckoning, you'd add about 3 knots to your approach speed. Let's just be a little extreme, and say we'll add 5 knots, just to be on the "safe side".

    That's a far cry from a fifteen knot higher approach speed. So, let's say that you've got a ten knot crosswind with a ten knot gust factor.....or maybe a fifteen knot crosswind with a fifteen knot gust factor. By conventional wisdom, you'll still only need to add 7 or 8 knots to your approach speed. And, I'm here to tell you that a fifteen knot crosswind with a fifteen knot gust factor (fifteen knots, gusting to 30 knots in other words) is a REALLY ugly crosswind, and I wouldn't even try to tackle that kind of crosswind.

    Point is, I see people wearing out tires and wheel bearings all the time, for no good reason. Further, you'll never get hurt till you touch the ground.....the faster you're going when you touch, the uglier the screw up is going to be if anything goes wrong....locked up brake, etc.

    FWIW,

    MTV

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