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Nose v tailwheel


Guest Rufus
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Can someone explain to me why some pilots prefer tailwheels, to the extent I've seen stickers that read 'Real pilots fly tail wheel".

 

How insulting. I don't even like to be a passenger in a taildragger.

 

I've read a bloke in 1911 came up with a nose wheel. Landings & takeoffs have been much easier, & safer ever since.

 

Why do pilots still use T/wheels ?? Is it a macho thing, or what ? question.gif.c2f6860684cbd9834a97934921df4bcb.gif

 

Roger

 

 

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Response.

 

Rufus, the way you have constructed that post, I don't see much point in responding to it. Your prejudices are there for all to see, and I don't have the time to waste correcting them in this case. Nev..

 

 

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Perhaps its the same as a sticker on a car that says "Real drivers ride horses...."

 

I'm sure there is a unique set of skills that are needed which tricycle pilots wont have... much the same as a soldier with a rifle has a different set of skills than say an archer....

 

Insulting...... Nope just different

 

Andy

 

 

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I fly tailwheels not because I prefer tailwheels but because the aeroplanes that I choose to fly for other reasons happen to have tailwheels.

 

The designer chose to fit a tailwheel landing gear to save some weight and drag in the knowledge that those who would buy those aeroplanes would see it as an appropriate trade-off. In the case of the Yak 52 I'd also add that the trike version looks ungainly whereas the T/W version simply looks elegant. Others might choose the T/W configuration for rough fields - not too many places that I wouldn't go in a Husky with tundra gear.

 

 

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Facthunter,

 

My question is, why do some taildragger pilots show their prejudices on displayed stickers, are they infering they are a better pilot, & I'm a lesser pilot, prefering a nosewheel ??

 

Are you a taildragger pilot ?

 

By the way, I'm trying to have a bit of fun.

 

Roger

 

 

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Rufus, tail draggers ARE more challenging to takeoff/land - notice I didn't say fly ;)

 

But the same question can be applied to high or low wing - again there are differences in takeoff and landing of high/low wing aircraft due to ground effect.

 

and just on the side, maybe your choice of words in your first post could have been a little different mate!

 

 

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Notice how all the early aircraft are tail wheel or skid, easier to build less weight less drag tailwheel aircraft are more suited to unimproved strips they accellerate faster and with the correct technique land shorter. they are of course harder to maintain directional control and are more susptable to weather cocking. they require a pilot with quick reflexes. these tailwheel aircraft are correctly known as conventional geared but this is losing out to the popularity of the now more numorise nosewheel aircraft. nosewheel aircraft have a larger turning circle which make them harder to manouver in tight areas. Nowadays with imroved stips pilots that prefer to ly them do so for the challange more than anything else. There are two groups of tailwheel pilots those who have groundlooped and those who will. I think that tail wheel aircraft have a 'personality". I am not really into the real men thing as i know several women who can handle taildraggers better than some of there male counterparts

 

Ozzie

 

 

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I was reading something just recently, forget what it was, but I seem to recall that Beech created the first nose wheel aircraft just at the end of the 2nd world war - not sure on my accuracy though, it may have just been the first "commercially" produced nose wheel aircraft question.gif.c2f6860684cbd9834a97934921df4bcb.gif

 

 

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Bit of fun.

 

Rufus yes I do have a tailwheel aeroplane, and I don't have any stickers around, of the kind that has upset you, because I don't bother with those things. I would suggest that you should NOT take them seriously anyhow.

 

When you get your tailwheel aeroplane insured, the insurers are very interested in WHO will fly the aeroplane, and insist on a fair bit of tailwheel time for them, or you pay lots (or don't get it insured.)

 

When I started flying, there were very few tricycle undercarriage aircraft ( The Chrisley Ace being one)and it was WEIRD and even many twin-engined aircraft were tailwheel, and EVERYBODY who flew trained on tailwheels.

 

NOW they are very rare, (I don't know what percentage of the aircraft actively flown are in this category, but it wouldn't be high.).

 

They are more demanding in their management, but I feel that keeps me a bit more on my toes. Nosewheels are easily damaged, ( the more fragile the aircraft, the more so) and when the nosewheel breakes off, there is a fair chance that the aircraft will tip on its back. Nose wheel aircraft if landed at above normal touch-down speed, are prone to "wheelbarrow", and this can wipe off a wing easily (or the nosewheel)

 

Tailwheel aircraft can be put down in bad weather, (Squally) conditions, more safely than tri-gear and on rougher paddocks/strips. Maintenance is lower.

 

Without being too "precious" about it, we as a group do suffer a bit of stick, (based on ignorance) from the "multitudes", so I have broken my resolve not to respond to your initial post, so ALL things are possible. Where do you get those "TAILDRAGGER" stickers? Nev....

 

 

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Beech being the first?

 

Dunno Ian . The mighty Douglas Company put the DC4/ C54Mil. version into production early in the second war. It was a long-range transport with Tri-gear and very easy to land. I can't recall which Beech you might be referring to. Could be the one that developed into the Bonanza. Regards Nev..

 

 

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I can't recall which Beech you might be referring to. Could be the one that developed into the Bonanza. Regards Nev..

That's it and it was in the Australian Flying mag but can't recall specifics

 

 

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Was it the twin Beech 18 turned into the Twin Bonanza (t bone) to Queenair to King Air'

 

I think the first single nose wheel was the Beech Travel Air t the V tail Bonanza

 

 

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Guest TOSGcentral

Hi Rufus,

 

 

I will have a piece of this one as well.

 

 

To answer your main question posed – the answer is simply that to fly a taildragger competently you have to have ALL of the mechanical piloting skills at your finger tips and be able employ them in all conditions that you choose to fly in.

 

 

In comparison you can be taught to ‘drive’ a tricycle undercarriage machine and probably too many people are. They term themselves ‘pilots’ and they are so – but often sadly wanting in real across the board flying skills.

 

 

Hence the terminology (that I also think is a bit overboard or derogatory) that only ‘real’ pilots fly taildraggers. That has to be seen in the context that once off the ground there is really no difference between the two breeds and you spend most of your time flying rather than landing or taking off.

 

 

But in flying, those few seconds of translation between ground and air can be challenging! In challenging circumstances I prefer to be in a tail dragger because I have so much more control over it and what I choose to do with it. Many people cannot face that challenge simply because they have not been taught how to, or avoid that challenge of learning because they feel it is beyond them. Yet others simply say why bother when there is a simpler and safer way of doing it via the tricycle gear types.

 

 

Quite obviously there will emerge a division in pilots ranks in terms of not how hairy your chest is but simply how many skills you can bring to bear to a situation. What actually makes a trained and skilled pilot?

 

 

As has been indicated above, the evolution to nose wheel aircraft was primarily inspired by the military in WW2 and I am with Nev on agreeing that the most significant type was the DC4/C54 (that I know Nev flew for a living at one time).

 

 

This was probably for the very banal reason that it was a damn sight easier to load freight into a flat floor than the sometimes steeply sloping deck of a big tail dragger. Anyone who has flown in the four prop taildragger Hastings will know all about that because you feel that you need climbing tackle to reach the front seats from the standard rear entry!

 

 

Later on that comfort spread to airlines and we evolved from the passenger stairs to the now common ‘Air Gates’ where it may be difficult to distinguish where you have left the terminal and actually entered the aircraft. Once on board it does not matter if you are wearing high heeled shoes etc (not that I personally do).

 

 

The airlines probably dominated flying training methods with their own needs – which were almost exclusively nosewheel. No point in spending time and money on tailwheels! GA consequently followed suit if only because the nosewheel types were so easy to land – so we got a breed of aircraft like the C150, C172, Cherokee 140 range etc that were little more than aerial cars in comparison to flying what had come before them. So we did (and still do) turn out a lot of ‘drivers’ rather than pilots if school standards are not what they could have been!

 

 

The taildragger ‘fetish’ did persist in the military however and this was apparently exampled by the RAAF in their long nosed Lincoln four engined, taildragger bombers. For some obscure reason an edict persisted that the machines had to be three pointed – probably a hang over from some AVM who learnt to fly in an Avro 504K which you always three pointed because the long nose skid got in the way to prevent you turning it over if you did less than a three pointer and thus damaged one of H.M.’s valuable power plants and propellers!

 

 

The Long Nose Lincoln however was apparently a handful having about 8,000 horsepower of Merlins or Griffons strapped to it and it was a distinct advantage to be able to see where you were going when landing one. Rather a lot of H.M.’s money was expended whilst they were being bent in attempts to do this strange exercise in a such a large aircraft when a ‘wheeler’ would have been considerably more of a doddle.

 

 

Back in the early days taildraggers were the simplest and lightest aircraft to build and could normally take the most punishment meted out to them. The advent of the nose wheel aircraft saw a vast escalation in weights, consequent speeds and therefore where they could be operated/

 

 

In our own context AUF went almost (but not exclusively) taildragger for construction and weight reasons primarily. As the steady increase in weights happened so our fleet smoothly switched to nose wheel aircraft to the point mentioned in a post above, that getting insured on a taildragger can be expensive if not impossible that is primarily down to diminishment in trained skills. Yet the majority of our 95.10 fleet are tail draggers.

 

 

Worse, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be trained on a taildragger – just as it has become in GA (although I actually think they have hung on for a bit longer) to what we discarded for the flying school income dollar in terms of what people waned to fly and now have available to fly.

 

 

Yeah Rufus. It may be unpalatable to see stickers that say “Taildragger Pilots are Real Pilots†But the actual truth is that so many of them actually are!

 

 

Aye

 

 

Tony

 

 

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I hopped out of the thruster and into the right seat of the twin otter. first time in a nosewheel. comment from no1 on my first landing was, 'just because there is a skid on the tail doesn't mean you have to use it.' 2nd landing was "FLARE" I was trying to wheel it on. the transition problems can work both ways. my big fear was ripping off the nose gear when trying to master full flap stol landings. very fine line between flairing late and catching the nose wheel or too early and losing the stol benifits. it is possible to 'groundloop' that big beast if you dicked around with the tiller at anything over 25/30kts. going from a couple hundred kgs to over 3000kg can have you wondering were all that sink came from. cpt thought those first two landings were amusing, at the end of the day i tossed him the keys to the thruster and went to the bar grabbed a chair and had a giggle or two myself watching him.

 

Comfort Zones are non learning zones.

 

ozzie

 

 

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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Nev,

 

Shame, I was hoping you might'nt get drawn back in.....never mind.

 

The guy who got these 'tailwheel' stickers going actually flys a DRIFTER !!!!

 

Now I love Drifters.....for me they are supreme, but hardly a real tailwheel type, with all the connotations that implies....that is, LOTS of extra skills on takeoff and landing.

 

I think the sticker should read 'Real tailwheel pilots fly Thrusters'.....I would'nt get offended by that as I take my hat off to a skilled Thruster pilot.

 

Cheers

 

JL

 

 

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Guest Cloudsuck

Yes the stickers were made up by a Drifter pilot who recently got his certificate and are a bit 'tongue in cheek'. One of the guys on my strip while doing maintenance recently found one of the stickers stuck to the underside of his nose wheel Savanah. Bloody funny I thought.

 

I want to get one to put on his Drifter which says, 'Real pilots fly real taildraggers' 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif

 

 

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Thats not too insulting.

 

Insulting was the patient I had in today for a test, who sat in the chair, saw my pic of my plane proudly displayed on my consult room wall, turned to me and said "Where did you buy the lawn mower?"

 

I said to him "Bunnings. I use it to mow the runway. My plane I bought at Kmart"

 

I also poked him a few extra times in the eye, for the fun of it.

 

Revenge is a dish best served chopped up by a lawnmower ;)

 

Scotty

 

 

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Guest High Plains Drifter

One place where tail wheels still rule -

 

- would you say this was a "macho" pilot ?

I had a brake free single seat Thruster once. Transitioned to a Drifter, with brakes - mucho more easy.

 

 

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Found the mag - it was Aust Flying Jan/Feb 2008 edition and contains the story of The Bonanza.

 

I must have got mixed up as all it says was in referring to the model 35 in 1945 that had the V tail:

 

"Harmon also adopted the somewhat radical concept of having the third wheel in the nose"

 

Well the mag was almost a year ago now and my memory is getting older but I am not sure if I have said that before or not.

 

 

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