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Thread: Certified Flight Instructors Opinons Wanted

  1. #1

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    Certified Flight Instructors Opinons Wanted

    Can a Certified Flight Instructor legally give a tailwheel checkout in a conventional gear airplane on skls?

  2. #2

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    Yes 100%, skis isn't a category. The only requirements for tailwheel endorsement come under
    61.31 (i), shown below. It calls for a tailwheel airplane, all the training tasks can be completed on skis. Just think of skis as some odd shaped tires.....

    (i) Additional training required for operating tailwheel airplanes. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a tailwheel airplane unless that person has received and logged flight training from an authorized instructor in a tailwheel airplane and received an endorsement in the person's logbook from an authorized instructor who found the person proficient in the operation of a tailwheel airplane. The flight training must include at least the following maneuvers and procedures:
    (i) Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings;
    (ii) Wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings); and
    (iii) Go-around procedures.
    (2) The training and endorsement required by paragraph (i)(1) of this section is not required if the person logged pilot-in-command time in a tailwheel airplane before April 15, 1991.
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    Snail is correct.....from a purely legal point of view.

    However, the basic point of a tailwheel endorsement is that the CFI puts his signature to the logbook which says you’ve found them competent to safely operate a tailwheel airplane.

    So, you sign that statement for Joe, who you flew with in a ski equipped Champ on skis, and sign him off. He goes out and buys a Cessna 185, and promptly ground loops it, tearing out the gearbox and one wing.

    He was perfectly legal (assuming he had a high perf. Endorsement), but was he qualified to fly a tailwheel airplane? I think not, at least based on just flying a ski plane.

    i will not train someone and endorse them to fly a tailwheel airplane based solely on them flying a ski equipped plane. Carefully read the “approved” endorsement: “I find xxxxx competent to operate a conventional gear airplane.....”

    The operative term being “competent”. I don’t believe you can demonstate competence in a tailwheel plane on skis, at least to my comfort level. Remember, it may be technically legal, but not really wise. But, it’s your signature.....

    MTV
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    It is also legal to take off Part 91 in "0-0" conditions. Does not mean it is a good idea. Lots of things are legal, but not good practice. The premise that makes our laws is that everything is legal unless declared illegal. Most other places it has to be declared legal, before it can take place period. Read Part 91 as a whole. It does not protect the pilot and in very few places the passengers. It protects the public on the ground and other operators in the same airspace. In this case you are given discretion and you have used it.
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  5. #5
    SJ's Avatar
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    I'm with MTV on this one... as Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh In - "Very interesting but NOT funny!"

    sj
    Last edited by SJ; 03-05-2018 at 09:46 AM.
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Yes I agree with MTV as well, just because it's legal doesn't mean it's a good idea!

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    The amazing part to me is that if you have a TW endorsement you can fly skis without a Ski endorsement.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    ....So, you sign that statement for Joe, who you flew with in a ski equipped Champ on skis, and sign him off. He goes out and buys a Cessna 185, and promptly ground loops it, tearing out the gearbox and one wing. He was perfectly legal (assuming he had a high perf. Endorsement), but was he qualified to fly a tailwheel airplane? I think not, at least based on just flying a ski plane....
    In this case, it was the aircraft he wasn't ready for, not the wheels vs the skis.
    The same line of thought goes for signing someone off in a Champ on wheels, which is (in proper condition) a real pussycat.
    Then they go out and buy that 185...with the same result.
    THat's why insurance companies require aircraft m/m checkouts.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    The legal question is based on the wording of the rule, FAR 61.31. Words matter (ask any lawyer). Nowhere in the rule does it use the words "conventional gear", it uses the word tailwheel. If the tailwheel has been removed and replaced with a ski is the aircraft still a tailwheel airplane? Also, if the main wheels have been replaced with skis is it still possible to conduct a "wheel landing" (a required item of instruction prior to the sign off)?

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Not requiring an endorsement on skis assumes instant competency on that gear. Some of us survived the transition but it takes time and commitment. Local instructors used to share a laugh about those that offered ski "checkouts" for added income during a slow winter. Might be the best safety course for winter ops and surely equal to float flying in some situations.

    Gary

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    I agree with MTV and BG. I routinely sign tailwheel endorsements at 4-6 hours instruction time. I then tell my students that they need "seasoning" - that no one will rent them a taildragger without at least 15 hours practice showing in their logbook.

    Sure - most of us soloed in taildraggers with 8-12 hrs total time, and not all of that pattern work. And I bet we all remember that first time, after solo, that the airplane said "oh - grass! Let's go over there!" Most of us learn rudder skills right then and there.

    Insurers have for a long time demanded between 15 and 25 hours in type for solo - our latest effort had one underwriter demanding 100 hours in tailwheels and 25 in type.

    So sure - sign the endorsement on skis. Just remind your student they now have a license to learn. Competency and proficiency are neat buzz words, but what you really need is experience. A 185 will eat your lunch at five hours total tailwheel time. Skis or otherwise.

    opinion.
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    I had a buddy that picked up a pacer to learn to fly in. He started training on skis and was going just fine until spring came and he went to wheels. None of the instructors he was flying with would go with him because he only had brakes on left side. Sold the pacer after a year and got a 150 to finish his training.
    DENNY
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    It's difficult to argue about what is safer, better, or smarter, the question is what is LEGAL. My buddies son just got his private in a Cessna 150. He then goes out and buys a Champ on straight skis (in his example the taiwheel has NOT been replaced with a tail ski). My buddy is a CFI and gives his son dual instruction. He wants to sign the son off so he can fly the rest of the ski season and figures he'll give him more dual when the airplane is put on wheels (safer, better, smart). My buddies question is did he LEGALLY comply with the rule and give instruction on wheel landings in an airplane that does not have wheels. It was when he started asking that question where he was told a "tailwheel" airplane with a replacement tail ski is NOT a tailwheel airplane so requires NO tailwheel sign off.
    Last edited by bubb2; 03-05-2018 at 06:26 PM.

  14. #14
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    I think this is a grey area.

    A conventional gear airplane equipped with skis presents most of the hazards of a tailwheel airplane plus the hazards of skis. Flying without a tailwheel signoff risks an enforcement action or loss of insurance if an incident happens, and the evaluator decides to get creative on interpretation. If the pilot wants to fly a conventional ski plane, I'd do the required training for tailwheel on skis, then do a signoff with a limitation to skis and excluding wheels. The pilot can get a additional signoff when spring rolls around and the plane is back on wheels, probably pretty quickly. Proper brake application and swerve recovery will be a big part of the additional training.

    There is some controversy whether the instructor can add such a limitation, as it is not explicitly permitted, but I'd rather have it in there than not.
    Idaho drinks more wine per person than any other state in the country.
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    Interesting story, my dad learned to fly in the CPT program during WWII. He was in Cortland NY during the winter, and leavened in Portefield CP-65s on skis. Come springtime they sent him to Pensacola to fly N3Ns. His first solo in the N3N he put it on its nose. He didn’t know how to use the brakes!


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    Another loosely related ski scenario pertaining to FAR 61.31 and required CFI logbook endorsements. A private pilot owns a Husky with a 180 hp engine with a constant speed propeller. He installs hydraulic wheel skis. Does this pilot require a "complex airplane" endorsement to act as PIC? If so, are you reluctant to give him the endorsement knowing he would be legal to go act as PIC in a Mooney?

    I don't have a buddy with THIS problem. Just thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.
    Last edited by bubb2; 03-05-2018 at 06:10 PM.

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    We used to use hydraulic ski equipped 185’s for the complex sign off all the time (back in the day). As far as the tailwheel endorsement, go find a wheel plane, do the sign off and carry on.....
    Mark
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  18. #18
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    So...........when I'm in my J4 on edo 1320s with a T bar on the back end where the TW was am I logging TW time?

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    40m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    So...........when I'm in my J4 on edo 1320s with a T bar on the back end where the TW was am I logging TW time?

    Glenn
    Why do you need any?

    From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be
    found in all corners of the earth."

    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

  20. #20
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    It’s all good inspector. “I got my ski endorsement at Supercub.org”



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  21. #21

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    How about this: OK solo ski equipped tailwheel airplane.

    In the olden days that would work. Now when we sign a solo in a J-3 we also have to sign the tailwheel endorsement, as if nobody realizes the Cub is a tailwheel airplane.

    In fact, out here there are seven different endorsements for a checkride. I am no longer smart enough to recommend folks anyway.

    But in this case, I think "ok solo" would allow you to restrict your student. I put lots of restrictions on new solo students - crosswinds, weather, runway width . . . And lift them later. In one case I restricted solo to a distant airport. Home airport was just too squirrelly for me.

  22. #22
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    People (including the FAA) make things way too complicated. In the early days of SC.org, we used to argue whether one could solo a student pilot who had only flown on skis. I maintained you could, some argued you couldn't because of the wheel landing issue, but that makes it just as vague as the tailwheel issue when its a tailski. Wheel landings are a type of landing, not what you have on the axles.

    If I were still instructing, I would have no problem with either. Solo endorsement or tailwheel endorsement on skis. But I would have the proper limitations I deemed necessary to go along with it.



    But then I'd probably have lost my CFI and saved myself a lot of future aggravation.
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    People (including the FAA) make things way too complicated. In the early days of SC.org, we used to argue whether one could solo a student pilot who had only flown on skis. I maintained you could, some argued you couldn't because of the wheel landing issue, but that makes it just as vague as the tailwheel issue when its a tailski. Wheel landings are a type of landing, not what you have on the axles.

    If I were still instructing, I would have no problem with either. Solo endorsement or tailwheel endorsement on skis. But I would have the proper limitations I deemed necessary to go along with it.



    But then I'd probably have lost my CFI and saved myself a lot of future aggravation.
    You are smarter then you look my friend

    Glenn
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  24. #24
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    I would have no problem signing off a PVT. or higher licensed pilot with the statement including the restriction "With snow ski's replacing tires and wheels only". That would also stop the pilot using wheel skis and landing on snowless surfaces.
    For students it's a no brained, as a instructor you can make any restriction you want on the student endorsement.

  25. #25
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    If your skis go up and down, it is a retractable. You got constant speed prop also? Complex. Note, a Husky with the 180 hp is not high performance though.

    Now, if I was standing in front of any FAA guy, even the most novice, I would not be able to tell him "nope, that champ has a tail-ski, so no need for a tailwheel endorsement." Yea, I better be handing him a beer and a cigar. Note, that somewhere skis are called 'wheel replacement' skis. Going down that road is why we get the FAA making crazy rulings- we get out of line they have to crack down.

    Now, would I sign Glenn off for flight in tailwheel if he had is skid on the back but on floats- Glenn, if you are using that skid while on floats we have a much larger conversation needed.

    Depends on the pilot as far as turning them loose with ski instruction, and conditions. If all you have done is go land in 2' of powder, directional control is a matter of dragging the tail. Put that plane on glare ice and holy cow it is a different kettle of fish.

    As far as a champ sign off on skis and the guy jumping into a 185 on wheels. Ok, what about a champ sign off on wheels and the guy jumping into a Maule or big engine pacer the next day??? Some guys have zero understanding as to their limitations, and sometimes you get folks that just should not be signed off. For everything else there are discussions and common sense.

    Here is a reminder about how you can sign a person off in a plane yet they don't have the ability to fly it in all parts of the envelope:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVwlodvWh7w
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    If your skis go up and down, it is a retractable. You got constant speed prop also? Complex. Note, a Husky with the 180 hp is not high performance though.

    Now, if I was standing in front of any FAA guy, even the most novice, I would not be able to tell him "nope, that champ has a tail-ski, so no need for a tailwheel endorsement." Yea, I better be handing him a beer and a cigar. Note, that somewhere skis are called 'wheel replacement' skis. Going down that road is why we get the FAA making crazy rulings- we get out of line they have to crack down.

    Now, would I sign Glenn off for flight in tailwheel if he had is skid on the back but on floats- Glenn, if you are using that skid while on floats we have a much larger conversation needed.

    Depends on the pilot as far as turning them loose with ski instruction, and conditions. If all you have done is go land in 2' of powder, directional control is a matter of dragging the tail. Put that plane on glare ice and holy cow it is a different kettle of fish.

    As far as a champ sign off on skis and the guy jumping into a 185 on wheels. Ok, what about a champ sign off on wheels and the guy jumping into a Maule or big engine pacer the next day??? Some guys have zero understanding as to their limitations, and sometimes you get folks that just should not be signed off. For everything else there are discussions and common sense.

    Here is a reminder about how you can sign a person off in a plane yet they don't have the ability to fly it in all parts of the envelope:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVwlodvWh7w
    OK. Now I think you guys are ready for the killer part of the story. My buddy, who was told a "tailwheel" airplane who's tailwheel has been replaced by a tail ski is no longer a tailwheel airplane, so would require no logbook endorsement, and a flight instructor can not meet the legal requirements for a tailwheel endorsement given in a ski plane due to the inability to do wheel landings because the ski plane does not have wheels, was told this by (ready for this?) the FAA!

  27. #27
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    "Wheel landings" or landing on the main front gear before the tail touches are common ski and wheel ops techniques. Give us a crosswind on a slippery surface and we'll land on skis with the tail up, lower AOA, and maintain rudder authority. That's until we choose to drop the tail and use it to control the landing rollout. Yes there's no front gear braking unless specially modified skis are used but the execution and result is the same. A tail dropped in snow is a brake. On ice it isn't much.

    What the regs and FAA require are worthy of continued debate. The bottom line is the pilot's learned ability to control the airplane on skis hopefully with and to an experienced instructor's satisfaction. They are few and getting fewer. Those that have actual experience on wheel/skis are rare and may soon become extinct.

    Edit: I have had no issues so far with discussing these topics with the FAA. They have their job and level of training and experience. A good dialog and possibly debate can be beneficial for everyone. It just takes an informed approach and the willingness to communicate and not get upset.

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 03-06-2018 at 02:45 AM.

  28. #28
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
    ..was told this by (ready for this?) the FAA!
    Was this that particular Mr. FAA's opinion or did he have an official FAA legal stance on the topic?

    It is also my opinion that the FAA persons who wrote 61.31 (i) likely did not know that some nuts like us actually use skis on an airplane. They likely think that skis are for people on slopes or behind boats.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Was this that particular Mr. FAA's opinion or did he have an official FAA legal stance on the topic?

    It is also my opinion that the FAA persons who wrote 61.31 (i) likely did not know that some nuts like us actually use skis on an airplane. They likely think that skis are for people on slopes or behind boats.
    Great Question. My understanding this is the current position of the entire office. It is not an official legal interpretation.
    The responses from everyone above pretty much validates the belief my buddie and myself have held for more than a few decades of being CFI’s. I suspected it was somewhat unanimous in the CFI community. I wanted to ensure we were not alone in our understanding of this basic rule as how it pertains to skis. These beliefs were:
    1. A wheel landing is a type of landing regardless of what is attacked to your axles.
    2. “Tailwheel airplane” is synonymous with conventional gear airplane.
    3. A CFI should use caution when issuing any log book endorsement when not administering the instruction in the most challenging example of equipment and conditions that endorsement allows.
    This new (a least to us) position left my buddy so unsettled he is currently requesting an official legal interpretation from FAA legal in D.C.
    Last edited by bubb2; 03-06-2018 at 08:58 AM.
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  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
    Great Question. My understanding this is the current position of the entire office. It is not an official legal interpretation.
    The responses from everyone above pretty much validates the belief my buddie and myself have held for more than a few decades of being CFI’s. I suspected it was somewhat unanimous in the CFI community. I wanted to ensure we were not alone in our understanding of this basic rule as how it pertains to skis. These beliefs were:
    1. A wheel landing is a type of landing regardless of what is attacked to your axles.
    2. “Tailwheel airplane” is synonymous with conventional gear airplane.
    3. A CFI should use caution when issuing any log book endorsement when not administering the instruction in the most challenging example of equipment and conditions that endorsement allows.
    This new (a least to us) position left my buddy so unsettled he is currently requesting an official legal interpretation from FAA legal in D.C.
    Like anything legal, never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to! When writing Chief Council, always guide them to the conclusion you want them to reach using facts and citations. Don’t just ask a question, build a case! Use existing regulations, text books and anything else you can to support your conclusion. Walk the through it step by step. Sometimes it all works(ref my 91.225 letter) sometimes it comes out really screwy like my data plate letter where the FAA lawyers redefined aluminum to be fireproof.


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  31. #31
    S2D's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the " control zone" issue a few years ago. Had a some pretty irate at a few of us.

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    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

  32. #32
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    Ha Thanks Bubb, I overlooked the fact that you are in Eagle River. Of course your FAA knows what skis are used for. Though the ones who wrote the rule I'm not so sure.
    N1PA

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    That "most challenging" part could become troubling. I practice in 20 knot winds, but would never take a student with me. A Luscombe or Pitts might be a bigger challenge than a J-3. I really don't think a five hour tailwheel student who learned in a Champ should jump in to a 185.
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  34. #34
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
    Great Question. My understanding this is the current position of the entire office. It is not an official legal interpretation.
    The responses from everyone above pretty much validates the belief my buddie and myself have held for more than a few decades of being CFI’s. I suspected it was somewhat unanimous in the CFI community. I wanted to ensure we were not alone in our understanding of this basic rule as how it pertains to skis. These beliefs were:
    1. A wheel landing is a type of landing regardless of what is attacked to your axles.
    2. “Tailwheel airplane” is synonymous with conventional gear airplane.
    3. A CFI should use caution when issuing any log book endorsement when not administering the instruction in the most challenging example of equipment and conditions that endorsement allows.
    This new (a least to us) position left my buddy so unsettled he is currently requesting an official legal interpretation from FAA legal in D.C.
    Is this an Anchorage FSDO guy giving you grief? Is he new?

    Sounds like, (excuse me gents for this) another officer form the military that thinks a C-130 is a small plane. I would be willing to go to the mat on that interpretation being wrong... wheels and skis is the same endorsement.

    Another question to ask the faa- a private checkride in a plane on strait skis- can the person then fly the plane on wheels? If he says yes, you got him. If he says no, ask him what endorsement is required, and where to find it in the FARS.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  35. #35

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    Yep, the rating is single engine LAND... (don’t even try to argue the snow keeps you off the land....)
    Mark

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  37. #37
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
    And, that actually makes a great deal of sense to me. I had forgotten the “conditions” on an endorsement only applicable to a student, but now I recall having that conversation years ago.

    interesting.

    MTV

  38. #38
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    Actually, I am glad I read it on the internet, because we now know it is fact!

    What training maneuver can not be done on a ski plane that is done on wheels?

    I really want Bubb to get the FAA decision in writing, that would be interesting to read.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  39. #39
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    At one time tail skids, or what are effectively narrow non-steerable skis, were commonly used during takeoff and landing. Inquire about that early conformation and ops. Tail wheels are merely another TCDS noted option for some older conventional aircraft.

    Gary
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  3. Onerous regulation of flight instructors and flight schools
    By Rookie in forum Take Action Jackson
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 09-29-2004, 12:44 PM

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