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Thread: New Private Pilot looking to get into taildraggers!

  1. #1

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    New Private Pilot looking to get into taildraggers!

    Hey everyone!

    My name is Nick Kellogg, I live on the Eastern Shore of MD. I recently earned my private pilot certificate about a month ago and I am going to start my instrument rating soon. I've always wanted to get into taildragger flying but even more so bush flying. Anything off field really. I've never had the opportunity to fly in any taildragger but I'm going to keep looking for the opportunity to. There's something about a cub or husky or even a 180 with bushwheels on it that just screams cool to me. Any suggestions for how to get into it?

    Thanks in advance!
    Nick Kellogg

  2. #2
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Welcome Nick, do it now before you develop all those bad nose dragger habits

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    SJ's Avatar
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    Nick, there is usually somebody around somewhere nearby that will give you a taildragger endorsement and get you on your way. We have some members from that area that might chime in here.

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

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    cubdriver2 My grandfather is trying to get a 182 for off field flying in idaho I've been trying to convince him to get a 180 haha

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellogg_Nick View Post
    My grandfather is trying to get a 182 for off field flying in idaho I've been trying to convince him to get a 180 haha/
    Both great airplanes for Idaho, the 180 is not the best "beginner" taildragger, but maybe your grandpa can teach you in it?

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

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    SJ thank you! I hope to connect with some local members this forum seems awesome!

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    SJ That would be awesome. He currently has a mid 70's 172 which he installed autopilot and an AOA indicator himself. He loves that thing but wants something better for short grass fields. Hopefully its coming to the east coast for some flying!.

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    Buy a J3. Fly the socks off it. Sell it for more than you paid for it. Hold off on the off-airport adventures until you can afford a loss.
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  9. #9
    JP's Avatar
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    Find a delightful, sound Champ or Cub that has been checked out by a mechanic experienced with older tube and fabric airplanes. Make sure it has as few instruments as possible and no fancy navigation rubbish. Less is more. Lighter is better. Find an experienced, patient instructor and have at it.

    Once you can keep it straight on pavement, head for the grass. Much more forgiving as you develop your skills. Learn to fly by outside references and sound only. If it's a Cub, fly with the doors and widow open. Practice endless hours of slow flight, slips, stalls and steep turns at altitude until you know where the edges are instinctively without having to even think about it. Fly in the wind. Fly. Fly. Fly. Be prepared to make mistakes or take a while to catch on to one skill or another. Fly with your instructor and others with more experience than you often, to catch habits and gain different perspectives. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    As your skills improve venture about to all sorts of different grass strips, preferably in the company of pilots with more experience/familiarity with the strip--learn by watching and listening. Fly increasingly longer cross country trips using only grass strips and no deadlines to be somewhere. Ever. Overall, you'll know when your ready for the next challenge. And remember, a little bite of the cookie at a time will save you a whole lot of expensive indigestion.

    Learn how to take care of your airplane and perform basic, "supervised" maintenance. Make sure you have shoulder harnesses, a decent helmet and give serious consideration to installing VGs if your airplane doesn't have them. But otherwise keep things basic. Simple. And a whole lot of fun. And, at the end of the day, if you don't like it, don't do it. Aviation has a place where everyone can find their thing. So keep things in perspective. Flying a tailwheel airplane isn't difficult; just different. And even if you ultimately decide it isn't for you it will make you a better pilot all around.

    None of what I have written is an original thought. All of it has been taught to me over many years by many excellent pilots I've had the privilege of flying with who cared enough to teach those of us on the journey what they learned. And we promised to pass it on. And, we also promised to keep learning. So, have at it.
    Last edited by JP; 10-15-2020 at 07:16 PM.
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by JP View Post
    Find a delightful, sound Champ or Cub that has been checked out by a mechanic experienced with older tube and fabric airplanes. Make sure it has as few instruments as possible and no fancy navigation rubbish. Less is more. Lighter is better. Find an experienced, patient instructor and have at it.

    Once you can keep it straight on pavement, head for the grass. Much more forgiving as you develop your skills. Learn to fly by outside references and sound only. If it's a Cub, fly with the doors and widow open. Practice endless hours of slow flight, slips, stalls and steep turns at altitude until you know where the edges are instinctively without having to even think about it. Fly in the wind. Fly. Fly. Fly. Be prepared to make mistakes or take a while to catch on to one skill or another. Fly with your instructor and others with more experience than you often, to catch habits and gain different perspectives. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    As your skills improve venture about to all sorts of different grass strips, preferably in the company of pilots with more experience/familiarity with the strip--learn by watching and listening. Fly increasingly longer cross country trips using only grass strips and no deadlines to be somewhere. Ever. Overall, you'll know when your ready for the next challenge. And remember, a little bite of the cookie at a time will save you a whole lot of expensive indigestion.

    Learn how to take care of your airplane and perform basic, "supervised" maintenance. Make sure you have shoulder harnesses, a decent helmet and give serious consideration to installing VGs if your airplane doesn't have them. But otherwise keep things basic. Simple. And a whole lot of fun. And, at the end of the day, if you don't like it, don't do it. Aviation has a place where everyone can find their thing. So keep things in perspective. Flying a tailwheel airplane isn't difficult; just different. And even if you ultimately decide it isn't for you it will make you a better pilot all around.

    None of what I have written is an original thought. All of it has been taught to me over many years by many excellent pilots I've had the privilege of flying with who cared enough to teach those of us on the journey what they learned. And we promised to pass it on. And, we also promised to keep learning. So, have at it.

    Thank you so much! I'll definitely look into it. There's a couple of champs around here that are very inexpensive so I think I'll see if I can have a go in one. Or if I see a cub thats what I'll do.

    You all on this forum are awesome and I'm so glad I joined!!

  11. #11
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellogg_Nick View Post
    Thank you so much! I'll definitely look into it. There's a couple of champs around here that are very inexpensive so I think I'll see if I can have a go in one. Or if I see a cub thats what I'll do.

    You all on this forum are awesome and I'm so glad I joined!!

    Nick,

    See if you can find a mentor. Somebody that loves aviation. Be careful on the "cheap" airplane, as you may get one that has not been maintained and is hiding a ton of gremlins.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    Nick,

    See if you can find a mentor. Somebody that loves aviation. Be careful on the "cheap" airplane, as you may get one that has not been maintained and is hiding a ton of gremlins.

    Tim
    Thank you for the advice!
    -Nick

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    Go get some spin/aerobatic training next. If your training is like most of the recent new grads I have seen you are landing way to fast and the instructors have not taken you anywhere close to a true stall. This is very important in any aircraft much more in a taildragger because landing 15 mph faster than needed is going to come back and bite you. One you have a good feel for how, why, and when a aircraft is going to stall you will be a much better pilot overall and the transition to tailwheel will be easier.
    DENNY
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    [QUOTE=DENNY;785292]Go get some spin/aerobatic training next..
    Then come back and tell us if you screamed like a little girl when your instructor can get......say in a PA20....the airplane to spin and you can’t. Still remember my first time...where’d that noise come from? Was that me?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Moyle View Post
    Then come back and tell us if you screamed like a little girl when your instructor can get......say in a PA20....the airplane to spin and you can’t. Still remember my first time...where’d that noise come from? Was that me?


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    Made me laugh. My first spin was in a Tomahawk. I later found out that people are afraid of them in that airplane.

    I didn't scream, but when the instructor demonstrated the first one my heart was in my throat and I did say, "you're kidding. This is expected?"

    After the adrenaline fear jolt wore off, it was fun. I did a bunch both directions. But then the instructor told me to look back at the rudder when he did one more. That's when I started feel nervous dread. (tail was bouncing and twisting).

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    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    Nick-

    I like your style an politeness. If you can find your way to Flagler Beach, Florida for a weekend, I’ll give you 5 hours in our Legend Cub and you’ll likely walk away with a tailwheel endorsement. We might even throw in some off-airport landings. CubFlying.com
    Daryl Hickman, CFI
    N452SP American Legend Cub
    N161LC American Legend Super Cub Amphibian
    http://www.CubFlying.com
    http://www.KidsFlyCubs.org
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Come to South Florida and I will give you some time in my 180. I transitioned into it from a PA-18. I was told it was more unforgiving. I haven't seen that.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    If you have a lot of Cub time the 180 is docile. If you have Citabria time, but no Cub time, the 180 might bite you.

    My first landing in a 180 was solo, at Melbourne, after an IFR flight from Vero Beach. I think the radio was a coffee grinder type. I had maybe 800 Cub hours at the time.

  19. #19
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    I agree with Eddie Foy. 4000 hrs in Cub and then bought a 180. The 180 was a beast on landing. After 250 hrs I complained to my mechanic enough he hung it from the the ceiling (I’m on floats also) and dissembled the gear and reassembled the gear according to factory specs, shims and toe in. Now it’s good, but, all your attention must be focused on landing on asphalt when it’s hot outside, no wind and at gross weight. Gear tuck it real. You know when the rudder inputs are backwards. Apply full power and go around!


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    Cubs fly like a Cub. 180s fly like a truck. Cub = fun. 180 = haul a big load.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CubCruiser View Post
    Nick-

    I like your style an politeness. If you can find your way to Flagler Beach, Florida for a weekend, I’ll give you 5 hours in our Legend Cub and you’ll likely walk away with a tailwheel endorsement. We might even throw in some off-airport landings. CubFlying.com
    CubCruiser I will try everything I can to get down there. Your offer is so generous! Can I send you an email or text with my information?

    Thank you!
    Nick Kellogg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Come to South Florida and I will give you some time in my 180. I transitioned into it from a PA-18. I was told it was more unforgiving. I haven't seen that.
    If I am able to come down to fly with CubCruiser I'll definitely have to come down a little further to fly with you! I have to say that everyone on this forum is so kind and generous both with their airplanes as well with their advice and consideration.

    -Nick

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    [QUOTE=Mark_Moyle;785303]
    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Go get some spin/aerobatic training next..
    Then come back and tell us if you screamed like a little girl when your instructor can get......say in a PA20....the airplane to spin and you can’t. Still remember my first time...where’d that noise come from? Was that me?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    I might have to! We have a T-34 at our flight school that's used for that purpose!

    -Nick

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    The main thing I would say is just do it. Clear your calendar as best you can and go for it.

    The other thing: following on JP's excellent advice, if it is possible to learn with a grass strip to fall back on in case the wind picks up or changes that is a good idea. You have to be able to land on pavement, but knowing where there are grass strips in your area just in case is a good idea. That won't be that important while you are getting your endorsement, but, as a recent tailwheel endorsee myself, I like the reassurance of knowing where the grass strips are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanP View Post
    The main thing I would say is just do it. Clear your calendar as best you can and go for it.

    The other thing: following on JP's excellent advice, if it is possible to learn with a grass strip to fall back on in case the wind picks up or changes that is a good idea. You have to be able to land on pavement, but knowing where there are grass strips in your area just in case is a good idea. That won't be that important while you are getting your endorsement, but, as a recent tailwheel endorsee myself, I like the reassurance of knowing where the grass strips are.
    Thank you!! Grass strip just because it's easier to land on in a taildragger?

    -Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellogg_Nick View Post
    Thank you!! Grass strip just because it's easier to land on in a taildragger?

    -Nick
    Coefficient of friction of the little wheel is much greater on grass than pavement. Tends to keep you pointed in the right direction.


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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Coefficient of friction of the little wheel is much greater on grass than pavement. Tends to keep you pointed in the right direction.


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    Ahh I see!

    Thank you!

    -Nick

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    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellogg_Nick View Post
    CubCruiser I will try everything I can to get down there. Your offer is so generous! Can I send you an email or text with my information?

    Thank you!
    Nick Kellogg
    Contact info on CubFlying.com

    Daryl
    Daryl Hickman, CFI
    N452SP American Legend Cub
    N161LC American Legend Super Cub Amphibian
    http://www.CubFlying.com
    http://www.KidsFlyCubs.org

  29. #29
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Coefficient of friction of the little wheel is much greater on grass than pavement. Tends to keep you pointed in the right direction.


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    ...and I need ALL the help I can get!
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP View Post
    ...and I need ALL the help I can get!
    The real key is to be able to visually detect when things start to stray as early as possible, then apply the appropriate control to correct it. Think less is more! If you detect a deviation sooner, the required correction is much less.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    The real key is to be able to visually detect when things start to stray as early as possible, then apply the appropriate control to correct it. Think less is more! If you detect a deviation sooner, the required correction is much less.


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    Thank you!
    This forum has given me so much information and great tips thank you everyone!

    -Nick

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    As DGAPilot says, detect when things stray and stop it from straying. I absolutely cannot claim to be an expert (though many people on this site ARE experts), but from the experience I have, flying taildraggers is sort of like riding in a canoe or kayak-- once it begins to turn in one direction, it will keep turning until you stop it. However, when you stop it, that can set the plane drifting in the opposite direction so the drift must, once again, be arrested... Its not the hardest thing in the world, but it requires more "active participation" than a nose dragger. It is also super addictive. Flying any plane is fun, but taildraggers increase the fun factor.
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