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Thread: 3 point landings on pavement?

  1. #41
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I'm curious as to why landing tailwheel first is apparently such a sin?
    I certainly don't think it is. However, it does not meet what I believe to be the definition of a 3 point landing.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    I certainly don't think it is. However, it does not meet what I believe to be the definition of a 3 point landing.
    Actually, many believe (including me) that tail first is still considered a 3pt.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  3. #43

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    I teach my Cub students to try for tailwheel first. That way they get a definite stall an instant before touchdown. Very smooth, with stick against the aft stop, power off.

    Do that in a Decathlon and you will damage the main gear attach points.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I'm curious as to why landing tailwheel first is apparently such a sin?
    I've landed tailwheel first before, and as long as the wheels all touch down reasonably softly,
    I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with it.
    In fact, if the wing is still flying,
    the angle of attack will be reduced when the mains come down & the wing will quit flying.
    I remember reading a Maule M4 pirep in an airplane magazine years ago when the writer brought this up,
    he said that Maule had a pretty flat attitude on the ground & so it was hard to avoid touching down t/w first--
    apparently he wasn't a fan of wheel-landing.
    I don't see a big issue with it either, as long as the impact loads are kept low. I haven't studied the regulations as far as the tail wheel drops tests go for certification, I suspect they are minimal. The drop testing required for the main gear is something else. You would not want to see it done on your plane.

    One thing to think about when you see a plane being dragged in with power, nose very high and the tail wheel being the first to hit the rough. Once the tail wheel is on the ground, the angle of attack decreases as the rest of the plane pivots on the tail wheel. When this happens the ability of the wing to support the plane rapidly is decreased effectively increasing the stall speed. Thus increasing the rate of descent and the impact loads on the main gear. Not a good idea particularly if you are landing on a rough off airport surface. Perhaps this is why the safety cables and a lot of broken main gears?

    Personally, I like the tail wheel to touch perhaps an inch before the mains. If the tail wheel is higher than the mains it could initiate bouncing and PIO (pilot induced oscillations). I watched a PanAm 707 do this when it landed on the nose gear first, slamming the main gear down and then the nose gear ect. Hippity hop down the runway. It was a sight to see. There is an airline term for such an event "Take that runway!". When landing in the rough keep it slow with the tail wheel just above the mains (to protect the tail wheel). Tail wheels are rather flimsy.
    N1PA
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  5. #45
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Why risk damaging an airframe or gear by hitting a standard size tailwheel first...if there's other options? The last event I witnessed the pilot cleanly removed some of the aft tubing on his 7GCB Champ, then lost directional control, and ate some trees before stopping. They trailered the remains back to the road system and thence to the airport for inspection. Spars were cracked. Not saying it can't be done safely but be careful when testing the quality of parts back there.

    Gary
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  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Personally, I like the tail wheel to touch perhaps an inch before the mains. If the tail wheel is higher than the mains it could initiate bouncing and PIO (pilot induced oscillations). I watched a PanAm 707 do this when it landed on the nose gear first, slamming the main gear down and then the nose gear ect. Hippity hop down the runway. It was a sight to see. There is an airline term for such an event "Take that runway!". When landing in the rough keep it slow with the tail wheel just above the mains (to protect the tail wheel). Tail wheels are rather flimsy.
    You're only at risk of a PIO if you hit your tailwheel before the mains. This causes it to "slap down" like you're saying causing a bounce. Even though the 707 is the opposite of a tailwheel plane that's exactly what happens on tricycle gear is you hit the nose wheel first and it forces the mains down hard and you bounce back up. Same with a tailwheel if you hit the tailwheel first. Makes the whole plane feel like a rocking horse bouncing forward into the gear then back into the tail. Yet another reason why I avoid 3 point landings.
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  7. #47
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    In my experience, PIO is always a result of not having the stick all the way back. In any of those conditions above PIO can be avoided by power off, stick all the way back, keep it straight and wait. It will eventually be over.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  8. #48
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    Have you sat in the airplane and had someone lift the tail with the prop vertical? You have to get the nose uncomfortably low for it to be close to hitting the ground
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Have you sat in the airplane and had someone lift the tail with the prop vertical? You have to get the nose uncomfortably low for it to be close to hitting the ground
    When I was younger and stronger, I used to do this with all my tailwheel students before we worked on wheel landings. Now I tell them to "imagine"....

    sj
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    When I was younger and stronger, I used to do this with all my tailwheel students before we worked on wheel landings. Now I tell them to "imagine"....

    sj
    Itís real easy when your putting the wheels back on after floats and itís hanging from the ceiling.


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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    You're only at risk of a PIO if you hit your tailwheel before the mains.
    Strongly disagree with this assertion. An inexperienced tail wheel pilot attempting a 3 point landing and touching mains first will be very likely to get into a PIO as they attempt to recover from the launch back into the sky when the tail comes down.

    Similarly an inexperienced tail wheel pilot may get into a PIO when attempting a wheel landing and trying to recover from the inadvertent takeoff that results from not preventing the tail going down when the mains touch.

    Anyone who has not seen both of these cases probably didn't do much tail wheel instructing.
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  12. #52
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    My Clipper 3 pointed beautifully. Always seemed to touch the tailwheel just slightly before the mains and she was done flying, rolled out perfectly with the stick in my gut.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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  13. #53
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    This is all very airplane specific. In the T-18, touching mains first on a planned 3 point can cause a bounce and a PIO. Landing tailwheel first, which is very easy to do, can lead to an energetic bounce and spontaneous round of expletives.
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  14. #54

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    For this post 3 point means as the plane would sit at the tie downs. Pilot induced oscillations can be cause by several factors usually starting with a poor landing at too great of an airspeed. In a taildragger it can be aggravated by the pilot trying to play catchup with the "bounce". We need to look at the cause of the bounce to find a good cure. First off is it really a bounce or just a touch and go landing?? If you are coming in fast and hit with the mains first and do not control the downward motion of the tail your AOA will increase and the plane will simply fly off again. It was not so much a bounce as the plane returning to flight. The same thing can happen with a tailwheel first landing at high speed, it is not so much the bounce but the AOA + Airspeed that is putting the plane back in the air. This will continue until the airspeed decreases enough for the plane to stay on the ground in 3 point attitude. Go back to the plane in the 3 point takedown attitude it will come off the runway just fine with enough speed. But sooner if we would increase the AOA that is what that bounce is doing increasing the AOA enough for the plane to fly again. SJ described my tried and true method for a pacer/cub (I would occasionally add a Yea Haw) I can't think of a plane it would not work in. Then some years back I was flying some jugs over to Hollywood strip to get worked on. My IA was in the back as I started my usually screw up bounce landing technique he simply put the stick forward and "stuck the mains" It was a real eye opener for me I had tried to do it myself in the past but just did not use enough force to make it work. Now what we have done by picking up the tail is remove the lift from the wings. The mains now stick and you gave better breaking/directional control. CAUTION!! Sometimes you breaking is too good. Both techniques will work fine in most situations. The key for both new and old pilot is to get GOOD INSTRUCTION!! Just burning AVGAS and doing the same thing wrong on every landing does not help.
    DENNY
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  15. #55
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Here's an opinion piece about landings that seems reasonable in my experience> https://www.bellanca-championclub.co...lLandings.html

    Gary
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  16. #56

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    When I was younger and stronger, I used to do this with all my tailwheel students before we worked on wheel landings. Now I tell them to "imagine"....

    Hey you're still younger.................well, compared to me.
    Arnold
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  17. #57

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    I'm glad I asked, outstanding discussion from a lot of very talented and knowledgeable pilots. Thank you all, I've certainly learned a few things, most important of which is probably that there will be different techniques necessary for different types of airplanes, even something as relatively similar as a citabria and a cub.
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  18. #58
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    Add this approved gear to a Citabria and the bunny bounce problems likely go away. Couldn't resist the thread spread.

    Gary
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Add this approved gear to a Citabria and the bunny bounce problems likely go away. Couldn't resist the thread spread.

    Gary
    That gear replaces the earlier "no bounce" original style gear, not the more common Citabria leaf spring gear. I don't remember when they started calling them Citabria or the time line of changing the gear types. Could be both at the same time, when they squared the tail?
    N1PA
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  20. #60
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    Without researching it, it seems like the no-bounce was still on in 66 or 67? Around 68 they went to the spring gear. Covering the wings on a 7GCAA right now that is a 66 with the oleo gear. 150hp with no flaps.
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  21. #61
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    Also worked on an old 7GCBC a while ago that had the oleo gear on it.
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  22. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    What is the AOA doing at touchdown. I usually 3 point the FX3 and it feels like a full stall to me. I haven't gotten proficient at dumping the flaps on the Cub Crafters proucts like I have on a Super Cub.
    Same here with an EX2.

    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!
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  23. #63

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    I flew a Citabria with oleo gear and square tail. I have its date somewhere - 1968 from memory. Prefer the spring aluminum gear now being used.
    The J4 has oleo gear, but doesn't have the peculiar drop-down feature that the Aeroncas had - I think the fluid in the J4 struts is more for lubrication than anything else.
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  24. #64
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    Pilot induced oscillation is caused by the same thing that makes gear bounce. Too much speed.

  25. #65
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    There were a couple of Citabria spring gears. The early were stout and wide while later versions had tapered gear ends near the axles. I had both and the latter were softer. My 7GCBC was converted to Scout gear that rarely moved as it was designed for a heavier GW model. We also measured the toe in/out and shims were added to align the wheels which helped (it had Cessna solid axles for skis). Don't recall the final dimensions but it was a handful before the adjustments.

    Gary
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  26. #66
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    Practice “dragging the strip” with a go-around. It will help with all your landings by getting the differing view of the horizon and cowl ingrained in your head for each technique. I use wheel landings most the time for the same reason we use “ soft field” techniques and it keeps the debris out of the horizontal stabilizer. Just stay away from the brakes though.
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  27. #67
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    Both P-40 instructors I knew said the same thing: "the airplane will tell you what to do - when you get close, if it sinks - 3 point it - if it floats, wheel land it." A lot of the written maxims in stone stuff about always wheel landing came from much larger aircraft than we're used to: B-17's and the like. Landing on that little wheel was a no no.
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  28. #68

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    I tried to stay pretty much to gravel runways when I was first learning to fly with my Pacer and Goodyear tires. After 150 hours I started making myself always land of tar if it was available over the dirt. It just made me stay sharper and helped clean up some sloppy foot work. When I got my Bushwheels I went back to dirt but never feared the tar again. Don't be afraid to tap a brake to get the plane straight. I have watched a new Maul driver do a very shallow angle 3 point drive off the runway, then eventually ground looped. Never touched either brake which could of saved him several times because his CFI had told him to never use brakes on landing One way to make rudder use a reflex instead of something you have to think to do and it even works in a nose wheel, is to fly without using the yoke/stick once you are up and heading somewhere. Trim the plane and set your RPM. Now just let go of the yoke and use rudder/trim/RPM to get to your destination. Getting into some mild turbulence is great for this exercise. It is very easy to pick up a wing and keep the plane going straight with the rudder alone and after a few hours of this you will no longer have to think about it, it will just happen.
    DENNY
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  29. #69
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    I still like to see where I’m going, and what’s ahead of me. And, I’m not tall. So I almost always perform tail low wheel landings. When I say tail low, I’m talking an inch off the ground at the touch. Then, tail comes up to kill AOA, and steer.

    With a properly done tail low wheel landing, speed is almost identical to a proper three point.

    The surface really doesn’t make much difference to me.

    Every student needs to learn three point AND wheel landings. Beyond that, use what YOU like best.

    In a gusty cross wind I often three point. Otherwise, I do everything I can to be kind to that little wheel and the structure it’s attached to.

    MTV
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  30. #70
    flagold's Avatar
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    Certainly agree with the two posts above, especially practice landing on all the surfaces you can since sometime you'll have to do it. A good thing about pavement is when the tires grab (and they will) you can roll the airplane up on the gear if you have to and let speed bleed. We don't always hit perfect, especially at night. I did a lot of night flying in the SC's Husky and C-180 and always knew when I took off from N. Ga in the late afternoon I was in for a night landing at BKV on pavement in Fl. At night you're not only feeling for the runway but listening for the tires to scrub it. I would try to come in slightly tail low (as described above) and if it didn't sink right away, roll it up on the main gear and let the speed bleed off. The last thing you want to do at night is drop it in trying a stall landing - that rarely works out well. All of it is no problem if you practice some on pavement and save your good tires for elsewhere. I did know a pilot that routinely rolled the tires in grass and then hopped the lights onto the runway in his Cub. I wasn't quite that frugal or confident, but he did it so many times I have to admit he saved a lot on tires that I didn't.
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  31. #71
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I'm getting ready for my experimental cub to be finished next year. Insurance wants 100 TW/50 in type ......
    I was just re-reading the beginning of this thread and this caught my eye-- 50 hours time-in-type, wow!
    My hangar neighbor put his C180 floatplane on wheels a few years ago, and with no tailwheel time his insurance wanted 25 hours, which seemed excessive.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  32. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    I tried to stay pretty much to gravel runways when I was first learning to fly with my Pacer and Goodyear tires. After 150 hours I started making myself always land of tar if it was available over the dirt. It just made me stay sharper and helped clean up some sloppy foot work. When I got my Bushwheels I went back to dirt but never feared the tar again. Don't be afraid to tap a brake to get the plane straight. I have watched a new Maul driver do a very shallow angle 3 point drive off the runway, then eventually ground looped. Never touched either brake which could of saved him several times because his CFI had told him to never use brakes on landing One way to make rudder use a reflex instead of something you have to think to do and it even works in a nose wheel, is to fly without using the yoke/stick once you are up and heading somewhere. Trim the plane and set your RPM. Now just let go of the yoke and use rudder/trim/RPM to get to your destination. Getting into some mild turbulence is great for this exercise. It is very easy to pick up a wing and keep the plane going straight with the rudder alone and after a few hours of this you will no longer have to think about it, it will just happen.
    DENNY
    A lot of old tailwheel instructors told me never ever use the brakes.
    I like having great brakes, and knowing how to use them is another trick in your hat.


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  33. #73
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    When I’m serving in the role of Instructor in a tail wheel plane, I make it clear that the “student” until further notice, may NOT use the brakes.

    Which has absolutely nothing to do with “real life” as we know it. My good friend Tom Wardleigh, with ~ 30K hours of flight time, LOTS of it tailwheel, and a lot of that instructing, called me one evening, and noted that there is nothing a CFI can do during a landing when the “student” places his size 14 boots firmly on the tops of the Cessna 180s pedals, and pushes hard during a landing. I groaned and asked if this was based on very recent personal experience? “Yep, today at Merrill.”. If it could happen to Tom……

    But, back to “real life”: I use brakes a fair amount, and in Cessnas and other heavier t/w planes, almost subconsciously, in routine ops. But, I rarely use HARD braking.

    The 185 and heavier planes, I never hesitate to use moderate braking if any swerve starts to develop….those are just too hard to “fix” once they develop. But in Cubs and similar light planes, I generally reserve braking for stopping short and taxi.

    But, in aviation, as in many of life’s adventures, when someone uses the terms “always” or “never”, my eyebrows respond. There are rare places in aviation where those terms apply, but probably not to braking.

    MTV
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  34. #74

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    We added a Stearman pilot - 600 or so total time. Insurer wanted 25 hrs tailwheel before starting the Stearman, then only five hours in the big bird. We did the first 25 in the J3. We are closing in on 15 in the Stearman, and getting ready for narrow runway work. Insurers are wising up.

    On that Maule - there are some models of Maules that are unstable with the tail off the ground at low speed.
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  35. #75

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    There's nothing wrong with a three point and there's nothing wrong with a wheel landing. Some airplanes like one better than the other. I owned a 170 for 17 years and that one loved to three point so that's what I usually did. I've owned my current 180 for 22? years and it has communicated to me that it likes to wheel land so that's what I usually do in it. The times I've flown cub types, they seemed to like three points or wheels just fine. In the dc-3, I never did a three point and was in fact, forbidden to do so by the boss. Evidently, that's a good way to break one and when you are weighing 27000 lbs, you just wheel land the thing. Oddly enough, a guy I knew that flew c-46s in Vietnam Nam said they would three point great. Never heard anybody say that about the three, though. Anyway, in light airplanes, I agree with the above, you need to know how to do both. Eventually, you may get too a point where in a particular airplane, you will like one better than the other.

    Wayne
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  36. #76

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    OK… I’ve been reading all of this and I finally have to chime… I just realized how lucky I was leaning how to fly…
    Three freaking years as a cocky snot nosed kid that my instructor forced me to do crosswinds landings in either a Cub or Champ, on skis or wheels, on short grass strips or long asphalt runways, before I could solo at 16. He was one of those rare instructors that would let you screw up to the absolute worst point, then save your bacon. Oh, he’d be yelling at you, telling you what to do to save the landing, but he wouldn’t take the airplane away from you until the last possible minute.
    P.S. Only done one wheel landing in over 30 years. 99.9% are full three points, even on asphalt with crosswinds. Stick into the wind, opposite rudder, no brakes unless absolutely needed (had a tailwheel control spring disconnect on an asphalt runway, with a bad crosswind. .. that was interesting)
    Worst airplane I ever flew was a rattle trap Pacer… that damn thing wanted to head anywhere but straight down the runway. Come to find out, one axle was bent out of alignment by over 3/4”. But it was a Pacer… those things have yokes… can you even consider that a real airplane? (Ok… I hope you guys know I’m being totally sarcastic and just kidding!)
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  37. #77

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    Friend of mine always says "Might as well land 3 point since you're going to end up there anyway"

  38. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techteach View Post
    P.S. Only done one wheel landing in over 30 years. 99.9% are full three points, even on asphalt with crosswinds. Stick into the wind, opposite rudder, no brakes unless absolutely needed (had a tailwheel control spring disconnect on an asphalt runway, with a bad crosswind. .. that was interesting)
    I don't have the years of experience that you do, but my numbers are almost completely opposite - 95%+ wheel landings. Maybe it has to do with what our intentions were when we were trained? My instructors (both initial and tailwheel-specific) knew that my goal was primarily off-airport work. I was taught to keep that tailwheel off the ground, especially when landing in rough areas. I still pick pretty conservative places to land compared to many of the more experienced sticks on here, but still, I land on the wheels, keep the tail low but off the ground as long as possible, and smash the hell out of those brakes if the strip is short with alders or worse at the other end. Suppose I could improve on a steep, slow approach so as to negate the need for brakes on short mountain strips. I've got a lot to learn, no doubt, but that's worked for me so far.
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    Iím with Techteach, about 99.9% three point in all kinds of weather. Never had the need or desire to wheel land anything Iíve flown. The only wheel landings Iíve done were to demonstrate I could do them on check rides, or when teaching someone tailwheel techniques (to check the box). Granted when you move to multi engine, some recommend always wheel landing them, but I donít have Beech 18 or DC-3 time, so I canít comment on that. For single engines from J-3 to Howard DGA-15, Iím much more comfortable with 3 point landings. My first landing with the Howard was with a 28 kt direct cross wind on pavement. Might not have been the smoothest landing (few Howard landings are), but nothing got broken, and never strayed more than a couple feet from my intended centerline (note I said intended, to reduce cross wind component, I always land on a diagonal if the wind is blowing).


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  40. #80
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnagpilot View Post
    Friend of mine always says "Might as well land 3 point since you're going to end up there anyway"
    A friend of mine used to say this also.... until I asked him why he always wheel lands his Beech 18.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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