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How many of you trained in a tail wheel airplane?

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My first flights were a bit strange because they were in a DC3 and then in a Beach 18 as a kid. I got my Private in a Citabria and my Commerical in a Cessna 411. The check ride pilot was not real happy with the prospects of riding in a 411. Geared engines and all that hand grenade on a throttle cable stuff...lol A 411 has a bad reputation for killing people. I never found it to be any problem, less rudder authority than I would like but "hot and high" has always kept me out of trouble.


I have flown a good many taildraggers, Beach 18 and T6 Texan beings a bit of a hand full. I quit flying Stearmans before I ground looped one...lol Nastiest airplane I ever flew was a Metroliner, San Antonio Tubes...lol Two or three good landings out of ten if you were lucky on a short strip.


At 76 years young I only ride in the right seat on occasion with some of my younger friends. I have been flying in the new Microsoft flight sim to all my old West coast airports of my younger years. Some things in the sim I had to smile at. The "white spot" a dry lake bed just past Twenty Nine Palms that you have to pass to go to Bullhead City (IFP) from the LA basin to get around the restricted airspace looked like the real thing.


Anyway, I have always thought it made me a better pilot to train in a taildragger.


How about you guys? Any Extra 300 or Pitt Special pilots out there?



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I learned in an Aeronca Chief (see my sig), but switched to a Musketeer when I went on the G.I. bill to get my ratings. The L-21 in my avatar I owned from '95 to '01. But I've done many others, including 138 hours in a Stearman, including banner towing and glider towing.


For a several years I towed gliders with C180/182 (Stearman on rare occasion), and I part time instructed for many years, part of that with an outfit that had the Stearman, Citabrias, PA-11, Great Lakes for a little while, as well as Cessnas and Grumman Americans. So a large part of my CFI time is tailwheel also.


So over half my time is tailwheel, and while I agree that flying tailwheels forces you to become a better pilot (in terms of stick and rudder -- it rarely helps judgement), flying gliders also improves your skills in a slightly different way, as does (after getting your ticket) flying many different types of aircraft.


I quit flying Stearmans before I ground looped one...

I had one ground loop in the Stearman, and it was from the pilot I was trying to check out banging the tail to the ground after a wheel landing, which caused the right hand tailwheel spring to come loose, thus forcing rudder and wheel to the left, in spite of both of us hard on the right pedal.


I found the Stearman to be a sweet aircraft in the air, but you had to pay attention on the ground. We usually did wheel landings in that bird, mostly because it seemed that the rudder was blanked by the top wing just when you needed it most, just as you got in the 3-point attitude, combined with the often squirrely conditions in ABQ.


I got half an hour in a Pitts- nice aircraft, but it's rare you find one for rent, so time is hard to come by.

Edited by lnuss


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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  • 4 months later...
I did some tailwheel training. Not my teenage experience in DH Chipmunks (that was not officially permitted though I was privileged to make a landing in one at Filton Aerodrome). However I did a gliding course at South Cerney which meant I flew Slingsby Venture motor gliders. My formal training as a pilot much later in life was in a Cessna 150, so no, no tailwheel training there.
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