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That would depend on how many tail wheel hours you have😂. Have not flown a Decathlon but doubt it is different to other tail draggers.  

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it's not vague and unpredictable. It's actually directionally unstable due to the forward location of the Mainwheels.  (Forward of the C of G) If it turns beyond a certain angle the sideload on the wheels will ensure a  ground loop results.  When the tricycle U/C came out, ordinary mortals got a chance to fly planes. They quickly found a way to make a foolproof design dangerous as fools have such ingenuity in these matters, by landing on the nosewheel which results in the original problem re emerging. The wheel in contact with the ground is well ahead of the C of G. and is unstable when like that. Nev

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 The Decathlon is probably considered to be a fairly easy taildragger to land as is the Citabria I had.  That means if you muck it up you are supposed to be a bit lacking in talent. I don't take any of them for granted, even the ones considered to be easy.. I also started out on tailwheel planes... DHC-1 and DH-82.  To be honest having done lots of riding billy cart thingy's which steer the wrong way I was aware of my "wanderings" early in the piece and had some concerns as to whether I would ever be good enough .  I've managed to not damage anything so far, but as I've often said you really learn when you instruct  as you'd never put a plane in the situation SOME students do and you have to get it out of.  Are you proposing to do some time on a Decathlon? Nev

Edited by facthunter
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Naaah! - there is no steering feel at all. You stab/stomp a peddle to initiate a turn - at some indeterminate stage/time the aircraft begins a turn - you then stomp the other peddle to arrest the turn. Too much stomp & you risk a sudden departure in that direction, too little and nothing happens and the first turn continues and may tighten.

 

The skill is not in the reaction per say but in the timing & degree of stomp - very crude!

 

Anticipation is everything, because the beast has a mind of its own & does not communicate with the pilot in any shape or form. The only clue to a turn commencing, is either a gradual change of horizon OR a sudden change - its up to the beast not the pilot.

 

I have now flown 6 different iterations of the same aircraft - all have no steering feel/feedback to the pilot, other than the aforementioned  unpredictable movement on the horizon.

 

Some are worse than others, requiring considerable leg muscles, other not so much.

 

A touch of brake can assist but great care must be taken, else this system bite you mightily.

 

Verily this is a BLACK ART I may not master.

 

And these are Certified Aircraft - go figure!

Edited by skippydiesel
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As has been pointed out taildraggers are directionally unstable, but this is at medium speeds and above. At low e.g. walking speed they can actually be more stable due to the distance between the tailwheel and main gear.

 

However... they typically have chains and springs between the rudder and tailwheel. Some aircraft have these very loose, some tighter so they will have different steering response through the tailwheel. I can imagine with the loose ones the tailwheel steering might feel vague - although the looseness might be necessary so it isn't too sensitive at higher speeds.

 

One of the aircraft I did my endorsement in was a Decathlon where the tailwheel was done up so tight it would barely respond to the rudder pedals (I suspect to stop shimmy). It was bad enough the instructor had helpful advice like sometimes to turn downwind you need to do a 270 degree turn in the opposite direction due to weathercocking. At the end of a lesson my legs were worn out and shaking from pressing the rudder pedals to try to get it to turn while taxying (in hindsight I think I was just pressing on the rudder stops).

 

It was a revelation when I went elsewhere and flew a Decathlon where the tailwheel was loose enough to steer...

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3 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

Naaah! - there is no steering feel at all. You stab/stomp a peddle to initiate a turn - at some indeterminate stage/time the aircraft begins a turn - you then stomp the other peddle to arrest the turn. Too much stomp & you risk a sudden departure in that direction, too little and nothing happens and the first turn continues and may tighten.

That sounds a bit like the aircraft I flew with the tight tailwheel - it was very hard to get it to turn.

 

Although with a tailwheel you do often need opposite rudder through the turn to stop it tightening up - it is not a case of rudder to start the turn, opposite rudder to stop it. It's rudder all the time.

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I still think learning on a Tricycle is the safer way to learn, the when competent, take that front leg/wheel away & put a tail wheel at the rear end.

Can be done, on the Hummel Bird. ( bolt holes are the same, only the fork-link is different )

OR

change the main planes for the stabiliser and fly in reverse.

A bit like a canard going backwards  LoL

spacesailor

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22 minutes ago, spacesailor said:

I still think learning on a Tricycle is the safer way to learn, the when competent, take that front leg/wheel away & put a tail wheel at the rear end.

 

I don't know... I think the biggest problem converting to tailwheel is unlearning bad habits from tricycle. The #1 bad habit is relaxing when the main wheels touch down.

 

I flew tailwheel before first solo, and at that point you really don't know any difference. You do a lot more circuits when learning than during an endorsement, and the biggest difference is that with a tailwheel you have to work harder in the seconds after touching down. That is just dead time in a tricycle.

 

The tailwheel aircraft gives feedback on your landing every time, better than the instructor in a tricycle.

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My problem was take-off. " too fast " said senior instructor.

YES !.

Two heavies in training, & only one heavy plus one lightweight Will make the plane " take off faster ".

spacesailor

 

 

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Do  get I get an automatic RAA tailwheel endorsement if I have a GA one on a tiger moth - that has no tailwheel?

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Yes . Technically it's a skid but most are modified and fitted with brakes. Bad idea but needed on tarmac. The main wheels are moved further forward making you work a little harder. Nev

Edited by facthunter
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Rudder has minimal/ nil influence, until sufficient air speed gives in authority - my "problems" are all below rudder effectiveness - the B------ tail wheel!!!

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With many more hours on tailwheel than trycycle I feel awkward in a trycycle aircraft and even more so if it has a non steerable nosewheel. I find it hard to steer using brakes.

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I am eternally grateful that my first 20-something hours of flying instruction were in an Australian Lightwing. From day one it taught me why rudder pedals are so important. "Graduating" to an early Jabiru seemed a backward step at the time, as rudder pedals didn't take on the same importance.

Those early hours were responsible for my choosing to build a tailwheeler, a decision I'll never regret after many 100's of landings on many different surfaces. (And yes, I have ground looped as promised!) 

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11 hours ago, bushcaddy105 said:

 (And yes, I have ground looped as promised!) 

As a future ground looper I'm bringing this airbike to Australia. Was going to send to Philippines and that was a good plan until Covid.. I'd have daily done tail wheel conversion there in the Angeles flying club drifter. I'm in Melbourne until Covid vaccinated.... Say 3 months.... flying out of Tyabb and Tooradin and don't know of any LSA options at these locations with tail wheel.  Any options anywhere in Australia? Not far from being able to travel in the Skyranger as needed.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20210220-090159_Chrome.jpg

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2 hours ago, Mike Gearon said:

As a future ground looper I'm bringing this airbike to Australia. Was going to send to Philippines and that was a good plan until Covid.. I'd have daily done tail wheel conversion there in the Angeles flying club drifter. I'm in Melbourne until Covid vaccinated.... Say 3 months.... flying out of Tyabb and Tooradin and don't know of any LSA options at these locations with tail wheel.  Any options anywhere in Australia? Not far from being able to travel in the Skyranger as needed.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20210220-090159_Chrome.jpg

For tail wheel training Dan Compton, Wings out west at Dubbo has a very good reputation and beautiful cub aircraft.

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My early training resulted in a near-hatred for Thrusters; after three instructors in four different aircraft, I couldn’t keep any them under control after touch-down. I suspect the high engine and very forward set of the main wheels makes them amongst the hardest to master.
After qualifying in Jabs, I taught myself to handle my little tailwheel plane; lots of fast taxi runs while nobody was around to see my stuff-ups. This tended to be days of strong winds, so a few loops ensued.
 

I leaned the importance of having the wheels toed-out a little and putting lots of thought into the tailwheel design.

I can now land on tar in a cross-wind without being terrified.

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I never found the Thruster to be a problem to handle, but I only once tried to wheel one on. They could be a problem going downhill on the ground. No brakes and a high C of G. I nearly put mine on its nose one day at the bottom of a steep taxiway.

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I love my thruster and have never found it difficult. I think it has made me a better around pilot, apply the same skill set to mission planning,  airspeed control that is required to land tail dragger. Near enough is not good enough for tail wheel aircraft, they will depart the runway.  

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Tony Hayes was working on re rigging the mainplanes AoA. when he passed away. The first one I flew was close to brand new, SB 582, 2 up and 3 pointed normally. Others with loose(r) fabric seem to be difficult to have the tailwheel in contact with the ground before the nose drops whatever you do with the elevator because the wings  have stalled first. Others seem to milk the mouse and wheel it on tail high but this isn't good in grass of any length. 3 pointers mean you are going slow so if something happens its not very risky. You might just  do a slight wingtip scrape. As said. it's got a bit of weight high up like a double decker bus. Once the throttle is closed on the ground, there's not much airflow over the rudder. Nev

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Tony Hayes the self proclaimed expert said that you couldn't three point a Thruster safely, plus a lot of other things. He flew my Thruster and declared the engine had been overspeeded and was unsafe. He was fooled by an optical illusion looking into the cylinders and other things as well.

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3 minutes ago, Yenn said:

Tony Hayes the self proclaimed expert said that you couldn't three point a Thruster safely, plus a lot of other things. He flew my Thruster and declared the engine had been overspeeded and was unsafe. He was fooled by an optical illusion looking into the cylinders and other things as well.

Call BS on that. 

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