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Two Wheel or not Two Wheel?


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I will be going for my tail wheel endorsement in the Lightwing starting this weekend.


Question: Do the majority of Lightwing captains land in a three point attitude or two wheel? And what approach speed do you aim for?





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Two Wheel or not Two Wheel ?


Yes that is the question. In my blissful and inexperienced ignorance I can't see why two wheel landings would not be a popular and accepted practice unless landing space was minimal. But it seems 3 pointers are taught in preference and maybe that's for safety, structural or authority reasons and 2 pointers are for seasoned veterans ? 2 wheel approach speed ? Really really fast :devil:







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Wheeling it on must be done at greater than 3 pointing for the simple reason that the nose is lower. This means that the plane has enough speed to fly again if the tail drops due to inertia or pulling the stick back too far. The normal wheel landing needs forward pressure on the stick just a the wheels touch and than you are going fairly slowly with no prop wash over the rudder, therefore less directional control, but your tailwheel cannot contribute to the steering because it is not on the ground.


My personal preference is to 3 point it, even Thrusters.



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Horses for courses. When it is a steady wind,or calm, 3 points are fine. When it is gusty, wheel it on, for better control.(uses more runway) Be proficient in both techniques..N..



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Wheel landings


In the Thruster I used to find that two wheel landings were better into the short field I have. I tried to keep the tail up as long as possible. If I had to go around, that was a better attitude to do it. If the fence was coming up too quickly a quick blip of the throttle and stab on the right rudder instantly produced a controlled ground loop and it slid to a stop sideways. No brakes so you had to be a bit creative. If the tail was down on the ground it didn't have quite the same effect.





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Without going into a full Tail Dragging lesson, the choice of touchdown attitude is also determined by the geometry of the taildragger in question.


Two stroke Lightwings, Drifters and Thrusters have the Undercarriage positioned in such a way that 'Wheel on' landings can be done just as easily as Three Pointers.


GR912 LightWings really should be three pointed to avoid bouncing due to the forward position of the main gear.


This is not manditory, as I have seen people wheel on GR912's and get away with it, but these are usually set up very nose heavy and tend to have trouble flaring anyway!


Skyfox's are a 'different kettle of fish' as in the three point attitude and low speed, they rapidly run out of rudder authority due to blanketing of the fin from the turtle deck, BUT if you try to wheel them on and don't get it right, you can get some the best bounces I've seen!!





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  • 1 year later...

With over 300 hours on GR582 & GR912 Lightwings 3 point landings are just simpler and safer in the long run.


The biggest problem with a 2 wheel landing is that at some point your going to run out of rudder control and thus directional control because there is no airflow over the rudder and the tailwheel is not yet "firmly planted" on the ground, add any cross wind and you have a disaster waiting for somewhere to happen.


My 0.02 cents worth.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I have over 400 hours in a Jabiru powered Lightwing and agree totally with NigelB. You run out of rudder authority at some stage before the tail is down. Only a problem in cross winds. I learnt to land wheeler style in a Thruster with Tony Hayes, so I am familiar with wheelers and find them very easy in the Lightwing if there is not too much crosswind. However I usually do three pointers.







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