Discussion:
My Ground Loop
(too old to reply)
Reid & Julie Baldwin
2005-11-29 02:34:12 UTC
Permalink
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.

The background: My Piper PA-16 Clipper has been down since April for an
engine overhaul (a story in itself). I had flown the plane about three hours
since the overhaul, including four landings, all into a strong wind directly
down the runway. I took some advice to change my landing technique and carry
some power through the flare instead of cutting power as soon as I had the
runway made. This had worked pretty well for those four landings. I needed
to fly the airplane to an airport near my parent's in order to store it in
my father's hangar for the winter. That airport has an East/West runway, and
we had been having strong Southerly winds lately, so I waited for a day with
more favorable winds to make the trip. Finally, the winds were 15 mph from
the west, so I went for it. The airport has a 2600 ft asphalt runway with
obstuctions at each end. My usual airstrip is 1800 ft with obstructions, so
I didn't consider the runway marginal. My 9 yr old son wanted to come along
since he hadn't had a chance to fly with me all year.

The sequence: The ceiling was lowering as we got closer. It wasn't quite bad
enough to turn around, but I was glad to get to the destination. Some of my
worst landings have come with the "glad to finally be here" mindset, which
should have been a warning. I didn't get slowed to pattern airspeed until
downwind leg. On final, I noticed I was about 10 mph faster than target and
made a mental note to get the speed down. About the same time, I noticed
that I had a significant crab angle indicating a crosswind from the left. I
focused my attention on setting up a slip to correct for the crosswind. I
made a wheel landing close to the intended spot, left wheel first. So far,
so good. I focused my attention on keeping it pointed straight and waited to
start braking until my right wheel came down, which seemed to take longer
than expected. I also decided that I needed to get the tailwheel down so I
would have tailwheel steering to help with the crosswind. When I started to
brake, the plane got squirelly in a hurry. Some dancing on the pedals kept
it on the pavement. Suddenly, I realized that I might not have space to get
stopped before the end of the runway. Just off that end of the runway is a
busy road. I decided to take my chances with the weeds off the left side of
the runway. I picked a spot between two runway lights and headed for the
side. It turned much sharper than I would have chosen and I ended up going
between a different set of runway lights than planned. As I slowed down in
the weeds, I gave it some throttle to avoid coming to a stop and steered
back onto the runway.

My son thought the whole thing was pretty cool and loves to tell everyone we
know all about it. I hated to end my flying season with a landing like that,
but there was no way I was going around the pattern until I had a chance to
thoroughly inspect for any damage. The only things I found out of place were
some weeds in places that weeds don't grow.

This wasn't the usual "loss of directional control" ground loop scenario,
although directional control was marginal at points. I classify it as a
ground loop because once I started toward the edge of the runway, the turn
accelerated on its own. When I replay the sequence in my head, I don't have
any trouble coming up with a list of mistakes I made along the way:
1) I should have anticipated the crosswind and not been surprised by it on
final. The wind was 250 at 15mph which is not exactly west. Runway 29 is not
exactly west either. Put those together and there is a pretty good crosswind
component. I had computed the crosswind component with wishful thinking as
opposed to trigonometry.
2) Obviously, airspeed control was an issue. I wasn't at pattern speed
before entering the pattern and I never quite caught up. After I noticed the
speed was high on final, I got distracted by the crosswind and didn't get it
corrected.
3) Did I pull the power to idle after touchdown? I don't specifically
remember doing that. It is such an automatic thing that I might not
specifically remember it. The fact that the plane did not slow down like it
usually would makes me suspicious that I was still carrying some power.
Since I had to jockey the throttle around to get out of the weeds, I
couldn't look at the tach afterwards to tell.
4) I didn't recognize the potential for an overrun in time to make a
go-around. Once I touched down at the correct point and knew the runway was
long enough, I presumed I was ok. Since it was a wheel landing, touching
down did not imply normal touchdown speed. I was too focused on directional
control to notice the speed issue in a timely manner.

This incident reminds me of the trouble I had with crosswind landings as a
student pilot. I never screwed up the crosswind correction itself, but it
seemed to distract me from something else and I would botch the landing some
other way.

The only thing I have found to pat myself on the back for is the fact that I
never allowed myself to become a passenger. I kept flying the airplane until
I got it stopped on the runway (facing the wrong way and with a load of
weeds, but on the runway).
zatatime
2005-11-29 03:39:50 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 21:34:12 -0500, "Reid & Julie Baldwin"
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I took some advice to change my landing technique and carry
some power through the flare instead of cutting power as soon as I had the
runway made.
Thanks for the story. I hope you're re-thinking the above advice at
this point. Carrying power into the flare isn't necessary, extends
your landing distance, and can get you in trouble as you found out.
Also in x-wind conditions like you describe, a three point landing is
a better idea in my opinion. You talked about wanting to get the tail
wheel down so you had steering. If you did a full stall landing, you
would have had the controllability you were looking for as soon as you
touched the ground, as well as having better control of the airplane
while it was flying. You also would have been slower than what's
needed for a wheel landing which may have allowed you to avoid the
problems you had completely.

It's great you stuck with it and I'm glad it all worked out. Hope its
a mild winter so you get to exercise the bird some.

z
Private
2005-11-29 05:42:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by zatatime
On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 21:34:12 -0500, "Reid & Julie Baldwin"
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I took some advice to change my landing technique and carry
some power through the flare instead of cutting power as soon as I had the
runway made.
Thanks for the story. I hope you're re-thinking the above advice at
this point. Carrying power into the flare isn't necessary, extends
your landing distance, and can get you in trouble as you found out.
Also in x-wind conditions like you describe, a three point landing is
a better idea in my opinion. You talked about wanting to get the tail
wheel down so you had steering. If you did a full stall landing, you
would have had the controllability you were looking for as soon as you
touched the ground, as well as having better control of the airplane
while it was flying. You also would have been slower than what's
needed for a wheel landing which may have allowed you to avoid the
problems you had completely.
It's great you stuck with it and I'm glad it all worked out. Hope its
a mild winter so you get to exercise the bird some.
z
I think I see the three point vs. wheelie thread coming around again, which
is ok by me as it is usually a good one.

I just did a Goggle groups search on +"three point" +wheel and got 2,700
hits. The fourth hit listed was

http://groups.google.ca/group/rec.aviation.student/browse_thread/thread/e01a94f384393a12/8f46c09d7c32c538?lnk=st&q=%2B%22three+point%22+%2Bwheel&rnum=4&hl=en#8f46c09d7c32c538

which was a post by our once frequent poster highflyer which pretty much
said everything I would want to say but better than I would. He even
comments on holding a bit of power into the flair.

I will comment that none of my better tailwheel instructors were fans of
wheel landings (for light aircraft) and the best of them refused to teach
wheelies at all. They agreed that wheelies usually meant too fast, with too
much energy, needing too much rollout and with too little authority. The
tail has to come down sooner or later, and a pilot's best friend is a firmly
planted steerable tailwheel.

The only time I have ever felt that I was just along for the ride was on my
second (ever) solo (no instructor in backseat = more forward CG) landing
(PA18) where I got caught with full flaps (shadowed rudder) and the
tailwheel not fully planted. A blast of power helped and I did not ground
loop but did talk with alligators, and had to explain how I got mud on the
underside of the wings (no wheel pants).

Happy landings,
Dylan Smith
2005-11-29 10:29:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Private
I think I see the three point vs. wheelie thread coming around again, which
is ok by me as it is usually a good one.
My take on it from plenty of time with light taildraggers such as the
Cessna 140 is that wheel landings are best for gusty *headwinds*, where
there is a chance that after touching down and starting to slow in the
3-point attitude, a strong gust will make you airborne again (and when
the gust ends, without proper flying speed, leading to more trouble).
You can 'stick it on' and with the low angle of attack, the gusts won't
get you airborne again. Once you are slowed enough that the gusts can't
make the plane airborne, you land the tail.

Other than that, I always use 3-point landings.

A steerable tailwheel can be both a blessing and a curse in a strong
crosswind - just before you touch down in a strong crosswind, the
tailwheel will *not* be centred because you'll have a bootful of rudder.
This can result in a swerve if you're not ready for it, and you can't
really take the rudder out... On the other hand, the Auster I fly from
time to time has a free castoring tailwheel and is almost impossible to
taxi on a hard surface in a quartering tailwind - the only steering you
have then is the brakes, and those tiny little drum brakes are really
awful. Given the choice I'd much rather have a steerable tailwheel.
--
Dylan Smith, Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Flying: http://www.dylansmith.net
Oolite-Linux: an Elite tribute: http://oolite-linux.berlios.de
Frontier Elite Universe: http://www.alioth.net
Cub Driver
2005-11-29 10:58:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Private
I will comment that none of my better tailwheel instructors were fans of
wheel landings (for light aircraft) and the best of them refused to teach
wheelies at all.
Gosh, why do they even bother to teach flying at all?

If flying rates a 5 in the scheme of things, taildragger flying rates
7.5 and wheelies a 10.

When I have to do a stall-down landing, I feel as dejected and
worthless as if my father had taken the car away from me.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
2005-11-29 23:09:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Private
Post by zatatime
On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 21:34:12 -0500, "Reid & Julie Baldwin"
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I took some advice to change my landing technique and carry
some power through the flare instead of cutting power as soon as I had the
runway made.
Thanks for the story. I hope you're re-thinking the above advice at
this point. Carrying power into the flare isn't necessary, extends
your landing distance, and can get you in trouble as you found out.
Also in x-wind conditions like you describe, a three point landing is
a better idea in my opinion. You talked about wanting to get the tail
Depends on the airplane, depends on the brakes.
Post by Private
I think I see the three point vs. wheelie thread coming around again,
which is ok by me as it is usually a good one.
Ok, here we go!
Post by Private
I will comment that none of my better tailwheel instructors were fans of
wheel landings (for light aircraft) and the best of them refused to teach
wheelies at all. They agreed that wheelies usually meant too fast, with
too much energy, needing too much rollout and with too little authority.
The tail has to come down sooner or later, and a pilot's best friend is a
firmly planted steerable tailwheel.
Depending on the airplane, and depending on the brakes, this is either 100%
Gospel or 100% B.S. or somewhere inbetween.

I learned to fly in a C-120 with Cleveland toe brakes - and nearly always
did wheelies because they were so much easier and I had so much more control
before and after touchdown.

I've put it into narrow paved strips with crosswinds strong enough to make
the windsock look like it was made of iron.
The trick was to come down hot and get the mains solidly planted on the
ground. None of that floating around at low speeds with mushy controls
trying to not get blown off the runway stuff. Then, with the mains planted
(a good nudge forward on the wheel, eh?) you had all the control you could
ever want with the toe brakes. Set the tail down whenever - it's not like
the tailwheel had enough "power" to keep things straight on a blustery day
anyhow.

Too much rollout? Nah. ALWAYS made the first turn off beause I never found
myself floating down the runway waiting for a three point to happen. :-)

I was told, by a source that I consider reliable, that the way to make the
absolute shortest landing possible in a DC-3 is to wheel it on, push the
wheel _way_ forward to get the tail up and put a lot of force on the mains
so they don't lock up when you stand on the brakes, and to generate lots of
drag from the wing generating "negitive" lift. Never had a chance to try it
myself though :-(
Post by Private
The only time I have ever felt that I was just along for the ride was on
my second (ever) solo (no instructor in backseat = more forward CG)
landing (PA18) where I got caught with full flaps (shadowed rudder) and
the tailwheel not fully planted. A blast of power helped and I did not
ground loop but did talk with alligators, and had to explain how I got mud
on the underside of the wings (no wheel pants).
Different airplane, different brakes.

YMMV.
--
Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
The Sea Hawk At WowWay D0t Com
zatatime
2005-12-01 03:18:47 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 18:09:02 -0500, "Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe" <The Sea
Post by Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
Depends on the airplane, depends on the brakes.
Yep. This is about a Clipper.

z
s***@yahoo.com
2005-11-29 03:48:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.
***********************
It appears you learned more in that experience than 15 years of ho-hum
flying and take offs/landings! Good for you that you learned so much
from it. I doubt you'll repeat the mistakes.
Using your power and wheel landings is nearly a whole new art form
these days but is a technique we used in crop dusting for years and
seldom ever went much past a short field landing roll. For us, time was
money and we didn't make any sitting on the ground!
If you can find an old ag pilot who is also a CFI, or is willing to fly
with you and try to show you some of the tricks that we learn in
countless landings it would be worthwhile.
You certainly sound like a mature and level headed pilot so I'm sure
you have already given something similar some good thought?
Geeez I haven't flown a Clipper since...hmmm lemme see now.....must be
close to 40 years or so? 1967-68?
Cheers and Happy Holidays
Ol Shy & Bashful
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
The background: My Piper PA-16 Clipper has been down since April for an
engine overhaul (a story in itself). I had flown the plane about three hours
since the overhaul, including four landings, all into a strong wind directly
down the runway. I took some advice to change my landing technique and carry
some power through the flare instead of cutting power as soon as I had the
runway made. This had worked pretty well for those four landings. I needed
to fly the airplane to an airport near my parent's in order to store it in
my father's hangar for the winter. That airport has an East/West runway, and
we had been having strong Southerly winds lately, so I waited for a day with
more favorable winds to make the trip. Finally, the winds were 15 mph from
the west, so I went for it. The airport has a 2600 ft asphalt runway with
obstuctions at each end. My usual airstrip is 1800 ft with obstructions, so
I didn't consider the runway marginal. My 9 yr old son wanted to come along
since he hadn't had a chance to fly with me all year.
The sequence: The ceiling was lowering as we got closer. It wasn't quite bad
enough to turn around, but I was glad to get to the destination. Some of my
worst landings have come with the "glad to finally be here" mindset, which
should have been a warning. I didn't get slowed to pattern airspeed until
downwind leg. On final, I noticed I was about 10 mph faster than target and
made a mental note to get the speed down. About the same time, I noticed
that I had a significant crab angle indicating a crosswind from the left. I
focused my attention on setting up a slip to correct for the crosswind. I
made a wheel landing close to the intended spot, left wheel first. So far,
so good. I focused my attention on keeping it pointed straight and waited to
start braking until my right wheel came down, which seemed to take longer
than expected. I also decided that I needed to get the tailwheel down so I
would have tailwheel steering to help with the crosswind. When I started to
brake, the plane got squirelly in a hurry. Some dancing on the pedals kept
it on the pavement. Suddenly, I realized that I might not have space to get
stopped before the end of the runway. Just off that end of the runway is a
busy road. I decided to take my chances with the weeds off the left side of
the runway. I picked a spot between two runway lights and headed for the
side. It turned much sharper than I would have chosen and I ended up going
between a different set of runway lights than planned. As I slowed down in
the weeds, I gave it some throttle to avoid coming to a stop and steered
back onto the runway.
My son thought the whole thing was pretty cool and loves to tell everyone we
know all about it. I hated to end my flying season with a landing like that,
but there was no way I was going around the pattern until I had a chance to
thoroughly inspect for any damage. The only things I found out of place were
some weeds in places that weeds don't grow.
This wasn't the usual "loss of directional control" ground loop scenario,
although directional control was marginal at points. I classify it as a
ground loop because once I started toward the edge of the runway, the turn
accelerated on its own. When I replay the sequence in my head, I don't have
1) I should have anticipated the crosswind and not been surprised by it on
final. The wind was 250 at 15mph which is not exactly west. Runway 29 is not
exactly west either. Put those together and there is a pretty good crosswind
component. I had computed the crosswind component with wishful thinking as
opposed to trigonometry.
2) Obviously, airspeed control was an issue. I wasn't at pattern speed
before entering the pattern and I never quite caught up. After I noticed the
speed was high on final, I got distracted by the crosswind and didn't get it
corrected.
3) Did I pull the power to idle after touchdown? I don't specifically
remember doing that. It is such an automatic thing that I might not
specifically remember it. The fact that the plane did not slow down like it
usually would makes me suspicious that I was still carrying some power.
Since I had to jockey the throttle around to get out of the weeds, I
couldn't look at the tach afterwards to tell.
4) I didn't recognize the potential for an overrun in time to make a
go-around. Once I touched down at the correct point and knew the runway was
long enough, I presumed I was ok. Since it was a wheel landing, touching
down did not imply normal touchdown speed. I was too focused on directional
control to notice the speed issue in a timely manner.
This incident reminds me of the trouble I had with crosswind landings as a
student pilot. I never screwed up the crosswind correction itself, but it
seemed to distract me from something else and I would botch the landing some
other way.
The only thing I have found to pat myself on the back for is the fact that I
never allowed myself to become a passenger. I kept flying the airplane until
I got it stopped on the runway (facing the wrong way and with a load of
weeds, but on the runway).
Jim Burns
2005-11-29 14:20:28 UTC
Permalink
I've probably mentioned this before, but my first "trip into the weeds" was
my graduation when getting my tailwheel endorsement from our long time ag
pilot friend and mentor.

He'd been putting me in ever increasing difficult situations with the
SuperCub, culminating with severe crosswind landings... and I mean severe.
29 knots 90 degrees to the runway. Most people couldn't believe we were out
in those winds, but I had several witnesses. If you think your primary
instructor ever told you to use "more right rudder" you should have heard my
instructor scream about getting that wing down and to plant that wheel on
the ground... all the rudder and brake you need, then get this thing pointed
into the wind as we slow to a stop!! 10 degrees F out, 29knot winds, and I
was sweating so bad I wished I'd left my coat at home.

Well... after two or three successful landings, it was off to the races.
Didn't get the upwind wing low enough, too much speed, not enough rudder,
not enough toe brake, a milli-second later we weather veined into the wind
and exited the runway between two runway lights. 4" of snow helped slow us
down and I got it going straight again, then hit the power and we were back
in the air after a bit. After we came around and landed on an upwind
runway, we talked over what happened and he told me that I'd now seen most
things that can happen when flying a taildragger so he'd sign me off. We
then took off for home, climbed up to 3000 feet, did some slow flight and he
let me fly backwards for the first time.

The next day I got some pretty good ribbing from my friends who'd seen the
huge plume of snow and a little red and white SuperCub emerge from the cloud
in a 45 degree crab. They said it looked like something out of a crazy
movie and the airport manager who'd seen the tracks wondered if somebody
with an ATV had been out playing in the snow.

Jim
Morgans
2005-11-30 03:26:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
If you can find an old ag pilot who is also a CFI, or is willing to fly
with you and try to show you some of the tricks that we learn in
countless landings it would be worthwhile.
You certainly sound like a mature and level headed pilot so I'm sure
you have already given something similar some good thought?
Geeez I haven't flown a Clipper since...hmmm lemme see now.....must be
close to 40 years or so? 1967-68?
Cheers and Happy Holidays
Geez, that is as shameless an attempt to get a ride in someone's airplane as
I have ever heard!

That is what it is, isn't it? <g>
--
Jim in NC
R.W. Behan
2005-11-29 05:20:20 UTC
Permalink
I'm a wannabe pilot, so I don't know beans about the technicalities you
discussed. But I know an honest man willing to describe his own mistakes
and learn from them, and I both respect and applaud your candor here.
Thanks, and fair winds to you. (I DO know a bit about sailing, and fair
winds I suspect are appreciated by fliers, too.)

Cheers,

Dick Behan
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.
The background: My Piper PA-16 Clipper has been down since April for an
engine overhaul (a story in itself). I had flown the plane about three
hours since the overhaul, including four landings, all into a strong wind
directly down the runway. I took some advice to change my landing
technique and carry some power through the flare instead of cutting power
as soon as I had the runway made. This had worked pretty well for those
four landings. I needed to fly the airplane to an airport near my parent's
in order to store it in my father's hangar for the winter. That airport
has an East/West runway, and we had been having strong Southerly winds
lately, so I waited for a day with more favorable winds to make the trip.
Finally, the winds were 15 mph from the west, so I went for it. The
airport has a 2600 ft asphalt runway with obstuctions at each end. My
usual airstrip is 1800 ft with obstructions, so I didn't consider the
runway marginal. My 9 yr old son wanted to come along since he hadn't had
a chance to fly with me all year.
The sequence: The ceiling was lowering as we got closer. It wasn't quite
bad enough to turn around, but I was glad to get to the destination. Some
of my worst landings have come with the "glad to finally be here" mindset,
which should have been a warning. I didn't get slowed to pattern airspeed
until downwind leg. On final, I noticed I was about 10 mph faster than
target and made a mental note to get the speed down. About the same time,
I noticed that I had a significant crab angle indicating a crosswind from
the left. I focused my attention on setting up a slip to correct for the
crosswind. I made a wheel landing close to the intended spot, left wheel
first. So far, so good. I focused my attention on keeping it pointed
straight and waited to start braking until my right wheel came down, which
seemed to take longer than expected. I also decided that I needed to get
the tailwheel down so I would have tailwheel steering to help with the
crosswind. When I started to brake, the plane got squirelly in a hurry.
Some dancing on the pedals kept it on the pavement. Suddenly, I realized
that I might not have space to get stopped before the end of the runway.
Just off that end of the runway is a busy road. I decided to take my
chances with the weeds off the left side of the runway. I picked a spot
between two runway lights and headed for the side. It turned much sharper
than I would have chosen and I ended up going between a different set of
runway lights than planned. As I slowed down in the weeds, I gave it some
throttle to avoid coming to a stop and steered back onto the runway.
My son thought the whole thing was pretty cool and loves to tell everyone
we know all about it. I hated to end my flying season with a landing like
that, but there was no way I was going around the pattern until I had a
chance to thoroughly inspect for any damage. The only things I found out
of place were some weeds in places that weeds don't grow.
This wasn't the usual "loss of directional control" ground loop scenario,
although directional control was marginal at points. I classify it as a
ground loop because once I started toward the edge of the runway, the turn
accelerated on its own. When I replay the sequence in my head, I don't
1) I should have anticipated the crosswind and not been surprised by it on
final. The wind was 250 at 15mph which is not exactly west. Runway 29 is
not exactly west either. Put those together and there is a pretty good
crosswind component. I had computed the crosswind component with wishful
thinking as opposed to trigonometry.
2) Obviously, airspeed control was an issue. I wasn't at pattern speed
before entering the pattern and I never quite caught up. After I noticed
the speed was high on final, I got distracted by the crosswind and didn't
get it corrected.
3) Did I pull the power to idle after touchdown? I don't specifically
remember doing that. It is such an automatic thing that I might not
specifically remember it. The fact that the plane did not slow down like
it usually would makes me suspicious that I was still carrying some power.
Since I had to jockey the throttle around to get out of the weeds, I
couldn't look at the tach afterwards to tell.
4) I didn't recognize the potential for an overrun in time to make a
go-around. Once I touched down at the correct point and knew the runway
was long enough, I presumed I was ok. Since it was a wheel landing,
touching down did not imply normal touchdown speed. I was too focused on
directional control to notice the speed issue in a timely manner.
This incident reminds me of the trouble I had with crosswind landings as a
student pilot. I never screwed up the crosswind correction itself, but it
seemed to distract me from something else and I would botch the landing
some other way.
The only thing I have found to pat myself on the back for is the fact that
I never allowed myself to become a passenger. I kept flying the airplane
until I got it stopped on the runway (facing the wrong way and with a load
of weeds, but on the runway).
Dave Doe
2005-11-29 09:35:29 UTC
Permalink
In article <H6Pif.5599$***@fe06.lga>, ***@chartermi.net says...

<snip>

Cheers - interesting reading.

2,600' of runway - can't see how you could run out of room - short of
performing 5 T&G's on it. How do you get on on 700' runways?
--
Duncan
Cub Driver
2005-11-29 11:07:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Doe
2,600' of runway - can't see how you could run out of room - short of
performing 5 T&G's on it. How do you get on on 700' runways?
Pay no attention to this comment, my friend.

I once landed on half of a 500-foot runway. It was fun, but 2600 feet
is better. I'm told there are plenty of Cessna pilots who won't land
on my home aiport (2600 feet) because their planes are STOL adapted :)

It does raise a point, however, which I was reluctant to mention
before, and that is: a better recovery than going into the weeds would
have been to go around.

When I was learning to fly the Cub (which took me a very long time for
a variety of reasons) I used to imagine a sailor midway with a flag.
Landing Control Officer? Whatever. Anyhow, if I wasn't happily planted
on the ground by the time I reached the imaginary LCO, I figured he
had waved me off, and I went around.

I never actually had to go around, mind you, but "knowing" he was
there and judging my touch-down spot was a great help.



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
Dave Doe
2005-11-29 12:31:00 UTC
Permalink
In article <***@4ax.com>, Cub Driver
<usenet AT danford DOT net> says...
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Dave Doe
2,600' of runway - can't see how you could run out of room - short of
performing 5 T&G's on it. How do you get on on 700' runways?
Pay no attention to this comment, my friend.
Actually... my apologies - over here in kiwiland RWY's are in *meters* -
and even though I typed my reply in feet (') - my brain was engaged in
meters. So sorry 'bout that - Reid and Julie.

I'm fairly used to landing on 'shortish' fields - as we have many of 'em
here. Hell.. even the grass strip at NZCH (international) is pretty
short - and has caught many a student out trying touch and goes after
landing halfway down it :) Further, there's a farmers fence at the end
of it - it's caught a few planes in it over the years.

http://www.aip.net.nz/pdf/NZCH_51.1_51.2.pdf
--
Duncan
george
2005-12-01 04:29:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Doe
<usenet AT danford DOT net> says...
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Dave Doe
2,600' of runway - can't see how you could run out of room - short of
performing 5 T&G's on it. How do you get on on 700' runways?
Pay no attention to this comment, my friend.
Actually... my apologies - over here in kiwiland RWY's are in *meters* -
and even though I typed my reply in feet (') - my brain was engaged in
meters. So sorry 'bout that - Reid and Julie.
I'm fairly used to landing on 'shortish' fields - as we have many of 'em
here. Hell.. even the grass strip at NZCH (international) is pretty
short - and has caught many a student out trying touch and goes after
landing halfway down it :) Further, there's a farmers fence at the end
of it - it's caught a few planes in it over the years.
:-)
.
Last time I was down that way (crosscountry to Oamaru) I overflew the
smog choked airfield. Solid clag.
Cub Driver
2005-11-29 10:55:13 UTC
Permalink
My rule is that it isn't worth sailing unless the wind is at least 15
mph, and it isn't worth flying when it is.

15 mph is a substantial wind in a taildragger, never mind where it
comes from. Hangars and trees can redirect it.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
Maule Driver
2005-11-29 13:28:10 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the story. I've never flown in a Clipper but I think it has
the nicest lines of all the short wing Pipers. Just real nice.

It occurs to me how forgiving grass is and unforgiving hard surfaces can
be for us butt draggers.

The lesson for me is to learn to go around on occassion if things aren't
lining up right. I just can't the glider thing out of me. I don't
think I've aborted a landing once in 1000+ hrs in the Maule. That's wrong.

Thanks.
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.
George Patterson
2005-11-29 17:00:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I don't
think I've aborted a landing once in 1000+ hrs in the Maule.
My one and only (so far) ground loop came about because I failed to abort a
landing when I should've. When the trees got about 60' away, I locked the right
brake, and she came around about 120 degrees. Got her stopped, though.

Years later, I found grass trapped in the bead of the left tire when I changed it.

George Patterson
Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
your slightly older self.
Deborah McFarland
2005-11-29 20:11:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Patterson
My one and only (so far) ground loop came about because I failed to abort a
landing when I should've. When the trees got about 60' away, I locked the
right brake, and she came around about 120 degrees. Got her stopped,
though.
Years later, I found grass trapped in the bead of the left tire when I changed it.
George Patterson
In 700 hours of flying my Luscombe, I have never used the brake for landing,
and I've landed in 25 mph direct crosswinds on pavement. We're taught never
to use brake as our airplanes are prone to flipping (and I've seen it
happen).

What's the difference do you think?

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
Maule Driver
2005-11-29 22:40:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deborah McFarland
Post by George Patterson
My one and only (so far) ground loop came about because I failed to abort a
landing when I should've. When the trees got about 60' away, I locked the
right brake, and she came around about 120 degrees. Got her stopped,
though.
Years later, I found grass trapped in the bead of the left tire when I changed it.
George Patterson
In 700 hours of flying my Luscombe, I have never used the brake for landing,
and I've landed in 25 mph direct crosswinds on pavement. We're taught never
to use brake as our airplanes are prone to flipping (and I've seen it
happen).
What's the difference do you think?
Deb
Different aircraft. I've never flown a Luscombe (and would love to) but
I think it is a much lighter aircraft than the Maule. Plus it is
simply different.

The whole wheelie versus 3 point debate always seems to come down to,
"different a/c are different". My Maule never needs to be 2 pointed due
to wind conditions. It is always easier to handle landings in 3 point
mode, no matter what the wind. Of course reflex flaps give you a lot of
different configurations for 3 point landings. I've watched a dozen
pilots do thousands of Cessna Bird Dog landings. Everyone I remember
was a 2 pointer - of course tow pilots stay very proficient in landings.

Regarding brakes - I don't know nothing about other a/c but the Maule
definitely needs brakes in high xwind situations - just for that last 5
mph of rolling speed at the end of the landing - or the beginning of the
TO - I'm talking 25+ direct xwinds. Plus, the brakes can be used very
effectively to avoid an immenent ground loop - Ray told me, then had to
demo it, then I used it a couple of times. If you let things go to far,
you can simply run out of yoke and rudder but a good stab on the brake
can still bring all back around - thank goodness!

I watched a Luscombe doing T&Gs at Southern Pines NC one calm day. They
were landing on one wheel, pulling up 6', then landing on the other.
Didn't really know you could do that. I tried it and could do it but
I'm sure the Luscombe looked more graceful doing it. I think the Maule
is just heavier all around.
Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
2005-11-29 23:17:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Maule Driver
Post by Deborah McFarland
Post by George Patterson
My one and only (so far) ground loop came about because I failed to abort a
landing when I should've. When the trees got about 60' away, I locked the
right brake, and she came around about 120 degrees. Got her stopped,
though.
Years later, I found grass trapped in the bead of the left tire when I changed it.
George Patterson
In 700 hours of flying my Luscombe, I have never used the brake for
landing, and I've landed in 25 mph direct crosswinds on pavement. We're
taught never to use brake as our airplanes are prone to flipping (and
I've seen it happen).
What's the difference do you think?
Deb
Different aircraft.
Yea, what he said.

But, if you never use the brakes, how do you do fun things like coming to a
complete stop with the tail still in the air?
(Well, it's fun at first, but then when the tail drops with a bang, you
realize it's not something you want to do a lot...)
--
Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
The Sea Hawk At WowWay D0t Com
Deborah McFarland
2005-11-30 13:34:11 UTC
Permalink
"Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe" <The Sea Hawk at wowway d0t com> wrote in message
Post by Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe
But, if you never use the brakes, how do you do fun things like coming to
a complete stop with the tail still in the air?
(Well, it's fun at first, but then when the tail drops with a bang, you
realize it's not something you want to do a lot...)
--
I don't need brakes to do that in my airplane! With a nice headwind, I can
wheel land and come to a complete stop with the tail up. I land with the
stick at about neutral, and as it slows I gently push it to the stop. I need
a little wind to do it, though.

If I used the brakes, I would flip for sure. I saw a C-120 flip doing that a
few years ago.

My airplane doesn't do great wheel landings. The nose is kind of heavy. My
husband's 8A is much lighter and wheel lands beautifully.

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
Don Tuite
2005-11-29 23:52:16 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:40:13 GMT, Maule Driver
Post by Maule Driver
Different aircraft. I've never flown a Luscombe (and would love to) but
I think it is a much lighter aircraft than the Maule. Plus it is
simply different.
I've seen a Luscombe stand on its nose when the owner's spouse used
both brakes at once. After the A/C was repaired, I got checked out in
it and the owner/CFII taught me to apply the brakes alternately.

I put about 60 hours on that plane until I wrecked it. Gusty X-winds.
(The point of the flight had been to practice X-winds, which I was
pretty competent at handling.) Got 2 wheels on the ground and it
started to weathercock as the tail was coming down. (I was taught to
follw the tail down with the stick.)

I applied power for a go-around (plenty of runway), but with the gear
unloaded, I got blown sideways into the dirt off the side of the
runway before I could establish a slip or crab to counter the X-wind.
Left wheel fairing (a pointy one from a 172, not a stock Luscombe
fairing) hit a hummock and the plane pivoted horizontally around that.
Bent the fuselage aft of the cabin structure.

The controller in the tower said he'd thought I had it made. Less
than a foot more of altitude and I would have. Or I could have
accepted the lesser damage that would have accompanied a groundloop.

What would the right decision have been?

Don
George Patterson
2005-11-30 03:38:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Tuite
What would the right decision have been?
I was taught that the best choice is to ride it out once the plane has landed.
If you give it full power to try to take off again and don't make it, it's much
more likely to hurt a lot. Of course, if you make it, you just "saved" the plane.

George Patterson
Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
your slightly older self.
George Patterson
2005-11-30 03:33:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deborah McFarland
In 700 hours of flying my Luscombe, I have never used the brake for landing,
and I've landed in 25 mph direct crosswinds on pavement. We're taught never
to use brake as our airplanes are prone to flipping (and I've seen it
happen).
What's the difference do you think?
Probably two things. My Maule was a 2,200 lb aircraft when fully loaded. The
main gear is also further in front of the center of gravity on the plane.
Basically, that means it takes a lot more braking force to flip that aircraft.

In any case, you can bet that I was riding the brakes as hard as I could once I
got down on that landing. I couldn't put full pressure on them 'cause that made
the plane skid a bit on the grass.

By the way - I didn't have a crosswind to deal with that time. Just trees. I
never used the brakes with strong crosswinds. I would set mine down on the
tailwheel and the upwind main, so braking wouldn't have done me any good.

George Patterson
Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
your slightly older self.
Deborah McFarland
2005-11-30 13:11:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Patterson
By the way - I didn't have a crosswind to deal with that time. Just trees.
I never used the brakes with strong crosswinds. I would set mine down on
the tailwheel and the upwind main, so braking wouldn't have done me any
good.
That's how I land in a crosswind in my 8E. My airplane prefers it. On the
other hand, my husband prefers the wheel landing in his 8A. We're an equal
opportunity family.

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
john smith
2005-12-03 02:04:35 UTC
Permalink
George, which M-7 model has the small ailerons?
I have heard it will not handle as much crosswind as the other models.
George Patterson
2005-12-03 02:58:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by john smith
George, which M-7 model has the small ailerons?
I have heard it will not handle as much crosswind as the other models.
As far as I know, the ailerons have always been the same size on all M-7s and
MX-7 planes. That's the way it was certified.

I too have read accounts from people who say that crosswind capability is
handicapped by the size of the ailerons. I've never understood this, or even
understood how that could be possible. In any case, I've always run out of
rudder long before running out of aileron when slipping that plane.

As far as I can see, the crosswind problem with the M-7 series is caused by that
vertical stabilizer design they copied from the Bellanca Viking. It's real
pretty, but it sure catches the wind.

George Patterson
Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
your slightly older self.
Maule Driver
2005-12-05 21:12:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Patterson
Post by john smith
George, which M-7 model has the small ailerons?
I have heard it will not handle as much crosswind as the other models.
As far as I know, the ailerons have always been the same size on all
M-7s and MX-7 planes. That's the way it was certified.
I too have read accounts from people who say that crosswind capability
is handicapped by the size of the ailerons. I've never understood this,
or even understood how that could be possible. In any case, I've always
run out of rudder long before running out of aileron when slipping that
plane.
I don't get that either. Crosswinds are ultimately limited by the
rudder (MX7). I tend to setup the slip on long final just to get the
'ol limbs warmed up. I flew one into Key West with a direct xwind of
over 30+. Definitely beyond the capability of the a/c until I got down
to less than a wingspan off the ground. Just as I was going to execute
the abort, the wind gradient gave me just enough of a break to get it
straight for a touchdown. Filed that one away.
George Patterson
2005-12-05 23:29:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Maule Driver
I tend to setup the slip on long final just to get the
'ol limbs warmed up. I flew one into Key West with a direct xwind of
over 30+. Definitely beyond the capability of the a/c until I got down
to less than a wingspan off the ground. Just as I was going to execute
the abort, the wind gradient gave me just enough of a break to get it
straight for a touchdown. Filed that one away.
I also would set things up early, 'cause I like a stabilized approach. I flew
one into Kupper when Trenton (a few miles away) was reporting a crosswind with
gusts over 28 knots. I could not keep it straight enough on approach, even with
the -7 degrees flaps setting, all the rudder I had, and a fistful of power. I
aborted. Much later I started wondering if I might have been able to get down if
I had waited until just above the runway to try to get it straight. Don't think
so, but who knows.

George Patterson
Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
your slightly older self.

Dylan Smith
2005-11-30 10:27:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deborah McFarland
In 700 hours of flying my Luscombe, I have never used the brake for landing,
and I've landed in 25 mph direct crosswinds on pavement. We're taught never
to use brake as our airplanes are prone to flipping (and I've seen it
happen).
Some taildraggers are more prone to nosing over than others, depending
on how much of the weight is ahead of the mains on the ground. Our
Cessna 140 was very good - we coudl really use our Cleveland disk brakes
and she never showed any tendency to even lift the tail. But the big
(235hp) Pawnee at the glider club wanted to nose over if you just
breathed on the brakes.
--
Dylan Smith, Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Flying: http://www.dylansmith.net
Oolite-Linux: an Elite tribute: http://oolite-linux.berlios.de
Frontier Elite Universe: http://www.alioth.net
Michael
2005-11-30 18:20:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dylan Smith
But the big
(235hp) Pawnee at the glider club wanted to nose over if you just
breathed on the brakes.
Yeah, I remember that plane. It wasn't really a Pawnee 235 - it was a
normal Pawnee (originally 150 hp) that had been re-engined. Sure flew
nice. Landed nice too - the engine change moved the cg forward, so the
mains were only slightly ahead of cg. Very little tendency to come
around, and even at idle the prop blast from that big engine and
seaplane prop kept the rudder effective at very low speeds. Never did
use the brakes on it for anything other than holding it at runup or
bringing it to a stop from taxi speed. It's gone now - crashed due to
pilot incompetence, a total loss.

On the other hand, I remember a Starduster that couldn't be put on its
nose. You could hold the brakes, go full throttle on the IO-360 engine
with CS prop, push the stick full forward, and the tail wouldn't come
up. It wouldn't even get light. You had to be doing 45 kts at full
throttle to lift the tail. You couldn't wheel land the thing either.
Didn't matter what you did - you could touch down at 80 kts, and the
tail would drop immediately even with the stick full forward. Using
the brakes on landing was a routine thing - it was the only way. It
was also the only way to maintain directional control below 40 kts or
so - rudder was totally ineffective. Tina sold it, but I hear it's
still flying.

Different airplanes.

I did my own groundloop once, on takeoff.

Among tailwheel pilots, there are those who have and those who will.
Groundloop, that is. Put a wingtip in the dirt. Whatever you want to
call it. I always knew that, but when I changed groups, it was a
surprise. I suppose it always is.

The HP-11 is not really a tailwheel airplane. It's a tailwheel glider.
For those not familiar with tailwheel gliders, there are usually only
two wheels. The main wheel is on the centerline, somewhat ahead of the
cg, and the tailwheel is on the tail. On most gliders, the main wheel
is very close to the cg - close enough that if you put in a pilot
substantially over the weight limit, the glider will sit on the nose.
The HP is different. Like most powered taildraggers, it carries 5-10%
of its weight on the tail. It also has other peculiarities. The
designer, the late Richard Schreder was a mechanical engineer and
retired naval aviator, and he could get the absolute most performance
out of the available material.

The particular glider I own, a T-tail HP-11 N821Z, was designed in 1962
but was still competitive in 1969, placing third at major contests.
Truly the design must have been a wonder in its day. But to get the
performance, some things had to be sacrificed. Since the design was
for competition flying, something a novice pilot presumably would not
do, the decision was made to sacrifice forgiving handling
characteristics.

These days, the HP's are no longer competitive but aren't really
suitable for low time pilots either. They have become, in many cases,
the glider of choice for the transition power pilot. All metal so they
can be tied down outside, with reasonable performance for a fraction of
the cost of glass, they appeal to the budget conscious transition pilot
who is used to the vagaries of flying taildraggers.

The ailerons are weak. In a typical metal trainer, such as the
ubiquitous L-23, the ailerons are so effective that the glider can be
pointed into a 10 kt headwind and a pilot can practice low speed roll
control by holding the wings level, balancing on the monowheel. In the
HP-11, you can barely hold the wings level with 30 kts.

Taking off is an interesting affair. A wing runner can, at best, hold
the wing up until about 10 kts is reached. Then you're on your own.
The ailerons are little help. You start out level, and if you notice a
wing dropping, you go hard over on the ailerons IMMEDIATELY to keep it
up - and add a helthy bootfull of rudder. The goal is to induce some
yaw, get that wingtip moving quickly up - before it digs into the dirt.
The ailerons alone will not be enough.

As soon as you get the wing coming up, it's time to take some rudder
out. You're not worrying too much about staying directly behind the
towplane. It's all about keeping the wings out of the dirt while you
are accelerating. Once you get about 30 kts, the ailerons come alive,
and then all is well. You have to keep the wings from digging in until
then.

If the wing digs in, all you can do is release and stay aboard for the
ride. You're moving slowly, so unless you hit something damage is
unlikely.

The right wingtip of the one I bought was damaged years ago. Minor
dents and some riveting work in the aileron told the sad story.
Someone stayed on too long, dug in too hard. The logbooks contained
the terse entry "Right wingtip repaired after groundloop." Remember,
it's experimental amateur built, so the recordkeeping rules and other
requirements of 14CFR43 do not apply.

My first few flights in the glider were interesting, but at least they
were off a wide grass runway with little opportunity for the wing to
dig in. Eventually, I got the hang of making the large, precise
required control inputs quickly, of keeping it balanced without roll
control until I was fast enough for the ailerons to come alive, and the
takeoffs became routine.

One day, after not flying a glider for over half a year, I got back in
my HP-11. In retrospect, my first glider flight in half a year should
have been in something much more docile - a trainer - or maybe a dual
flight in a powered taildragger. What's worse, both were available to
me, right there at the airport. I'm not sure what I was thinking - I
had just gotten the condition inspection done and signed off, and I
wanted to fly it. I was flying all the time - I just forgot how little
glider or tailwheel flying I had done in the past year. It was poor
decisionmaking.

It did not help that this time, the tow would be off a paved runway
only about four feet wider than my wingspan. I had flown off that
runway before - but that was when I was current in gliders and
taildraggers. Now I was current in neither. It had been over three
months since I flew a taildragger of any kind, and that time, after
over half a year of not flying tailwheel I needed help on the first
attempt, though the second landing was safe if not pretty. If I had
thought about that before flying, I might have made a different
decision.

Carefully I checked everything, strapped in, and gave the go. There
was about 7-10 kts of wind, almost all cross from the right. As soon
as I got going, I could see the right wing dropping. I put in full
left aileron, some left rudder - then a lot of left rudder. But
already I could see that it was too little, too late. I felt the
wingtip bite, and fumbled for the release. A second - and then I was
free. But I was sitting at nearly 90 degrees to the runway, pointing
into the wind.

I got out, rattled, and looked at the wingtip. I saw damage. "Shit.
I bent it." My wing runner, a recently minted commercial glider pilot
and FAA inspector, asked "Isn't that the wing that had the damage?" He
ought to know - he had just looked the glider over carefully, in
preparation for buying a half share in it. For a moment, I was so
shaken I couldn't remember. Then I saw the rivets and realized he was
right. I looked carefully at the wingtip. Were there new dents there,
or had it always looked like that? In my state, the damage looked
terrible, but stepping back I realized it was minor.

The real danger in damaging the wingtip of a metal ship is not the skin
- that's trivial, since almost no weight is carried there. The real
risk is damage to the spar at the wing attach points or to the flight
control system. Fortunately, on the HP-11 this is completely exposed
to the eye, covered only by a plexi shell. I looked at the spar. The
massive metal assembly stared back at me, and I realized how overbuilt
that spar was, and how much force would be required to damage it. The
skin then? I looked at the top and bottom surfaces of the wing.
Smooth as glass. I checked the movement of the ailerons. Free and
correct, smooth to full deflection. Maybe all I did was scratch the
paint?

We inspected the glider and came to the conclusion that all I did was
drag a wingtip throught the tall grass and short brush - embarassing
and rough on the paint but not actually dangerous. Then we restaged
the glider and I got back in. This time, the wing runner decided to
move to the upwind side.

On the second launch, I was READY. The moment I saw the slightest dip
in the right wing, I came in with full aileron and nearly full rudder.
I stopped it dropping, and a second later it was coming up. Taking out
most of the rudder, I waited. By the time the left wing began to dip,
I had full right stick and only a little right rudder. It was enough.
And then I was airborne.

I took a tow to 4000 ft, not sure there would be any lift and wanting
to practice stalls so I would be sure of not doing something this bad
on landing. As it turned out, I got only 30 minutes out of that flight
- I had quickly lost 1500 ft doing landing configuration (full flap)
stalls and there was very little workable lift. The landing was
uneventful though I used up almost 700 ft of runway - much too much for
my tastes.

I waited an hour, hoping the lift would improve, and took a normal tow
the second time. The takeoff was a much more relaxed affair - I knew,
once again, just how much rudder was enough. Doing it right once
brought it all back. This time, in the weak and disorganized lift, I
managed to scratch out an hour. The landing this time was perfect -
full flaps, soft, on both wheels, and stopped in well under 500 ft
without any significant braking, despite having to come in over power
lines. I was back in tune with my ship.

As I tied the glider down, I inspected it once more. Once more I could
not be sure if I had added a couple of little dents to what was already
there, but after a very careful inspection I was convinced it was in
condition for safe operation. I had thought that seeing what I did
would have scared off my potential buyer, but I was wrong. I guess you
see a lot when you accumulate thousands of hours of taildragger time.
He had seen many groundloops, including one from the inside of a
Luscombe he was flying. He understood exactly what happened, knew it
could well happen to him - and was not worried.

I got into my airplane to fly home, and I realized that a year of
flying almost exclusively tri-gear had indeed made me complacent,
willing to wait just a second more to see what would happen before
taking action. I resolved to either keep flying my HP year round, even
when there was no lift, just to keep current, or get some powered
tailwheel time on a regular basis. Skills will rust with disuse.

Michael
Dylan Smith
2005-12-01 09:58:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael
The particular glider I own, a T-tail HP-11 N821Z, was designed in 1962
but was still competitive in 1969, placing third at major contests.
Truly the design must have been a wonder in its day. But to get the
performance, some things had to be sacrificed. Since the design was
for competition flying, something a novice pilot presumably would not
do, the decision was made to sacrifice forgiving handling
characteristics.
:-)

My third takeoff in that glider was at Coulter Field, in a crosswind
(where they used the taxiway as a glider runway). I have *never ever*
been busier on takeoff than on that takeoff. You'd be amazed at how
having runway lights only three feet from each wingtip (of course, the
lights on substantial short poles) and a 7-10 knot crosswind and bugger
all aileron authority concentrates the mind. That takeoff is forever
etched in my memory. I didn't groundloop though, but I'm sure my heart
rate was through the roof until I got airborne. (What makes it worse in
that ship is that the tow hook is a compromise hitch, rather than a
nosehook, so the tow plane does not aid in directional control).

I decided I'd had enough of that runway. As we climbed out I looked at
the grass runway that was directly into the wind. I decided I would land
on that.

I scratched around for an hour, never getting much above 1200 feet. On
return, I flew the pattern for the grass runway. On very short final
(like 50 feet) - now too low to make the big main runway, too far to
turn and make the normal glider runway or taxiway, I realised that I had
something like an 18 meter wingspan and the grass runway was around half
that width - surrounded by tall grass and a bit of brush.

Oh no.

Not long after touchdown, of course one of the wings starts to drag
through the tall grass, and then I'm merely passenger. The glider shot
off the side of the runway. I couldn't see anything except tall grass
going by the canopy. It's a horrible feeling of having full opposite
rudder in and absolutely nothing happening. Finally I came to a halt. I
dragged the glider out of the tall grass, removing the tufts of grass it
had picked up so to hide the evidence. But it was too late. The girl on
the electric golf cart had already come to tow the glider back in.

"Was anyone watching me land?" I asked.
"Oh yes, we were ALL watching!" she said, with unnecessary glee I
thought.

Fortunately, the long grass stopped a wingtip from banging into the
hard ground, so no damage was done, well, except to my ego. I'm sure if
I turned up at Gary Gandy's place wanting to fly a glider, he'd remind
me of that day.
--
Dylan Smith, Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Flying: http://www.dylansmith.net
Oolite-Linux: an Elite tribute: http://oolite-linux.berlios.de
Frontier Elite Universe: http://www.alioth.net
Cub Driver
2005-12-01 10:46:30 UTC
Permalink
On 30 Nov 2005 10:20:18 -0800, "Michael"
Post by Michael
I did my own groundloop once, on takeoff.
I'm awfully glad to know that there was another one!


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
Reid & Julie Baldwin
2005-11-30 11:14:08 UTC
Permalink
I agree that a go-around would have been a better outcome if I had
recognized the problem in time. By the time I realized I might not have
enough runway, the go-around option was closed due to the obstructions at
the end of the runway. A few months ago at the same airport, there was an
accident in which a student pilot and flight instructor were practicing
landings in a C152. They made a late decision to go around and ran into a
moving car off the end of the runway. That was one of the very few examples
I am aware of in which a non-participant was seriously injured in an
airplane accident.

I had a mindset that once I was on the runway near the intended point, I
stopped thinking about a go-around. That is overly simplistic when doing
wheel landings, since there may be plenty of speed for flying for awhile
after touchdown. There shouldn't be a lot of extra speed when a wheel
landing is done well, but there may be.

On the topic of wheelies vs three point, I normally practice both. (I had
done little recent practice of either, however.) I feel more comfortable
handling gusty winds from any direction with a wheel landing, so that is
what I chose that time.
Post by Maule Driver
Thanks for the story. I've never flown in a Clipper but I think it has
the nicest lines of all the short wing Pipers. Just real nice.
It occurs to me how forgiving grass is and unforgiving hard surfaces can
be for us butt draggers.
The lesson for me is to learn to go around on occassion if things aren't
lining up right. I just can't the glider thing out of me. I don't think
I've aborted a landing once in 1000+ hrs in the Maule. That's wrong.
Thanks.
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.
s***@yahoo.com
2005-11-30 12:48:28 UTC
Permalink
In ag operations we often used strips that were about 1200' grass and
wheel landings were the norm. I still don't understand why so many
pilots are afraid of them or don't do them. Seems a lot have the idea
that it takes extra speed to do them and it just ain't so. Can you slow
fly your airplane? Then you can do a slow wheel landing pure and
simple.
XW landings? Upwind wheel first and hold it there while the a/c slows,
then lower the downwind wheel as the aileron control becomes less
effective, and finally the tailwheel. Done properly, the a/c is already
near a 3 point speed and its a matter of stick and rudder skills.
I can think of a couple times when I had to do an intentional ground
loop to keep from going off the end of a runway with a poorly planned
landing way back in my early days. Lucky though and never damaged
anything but my ego. That, as you can see, is still quite healthy and
robust (Thank you very much)!!
BTW, my earliest days were flying in such animals as the Taylorcraft,
Piper J-3, Aeronca, Stearman. The first trike I flew was a Tri Pacer.
Now I suspect I've got more than 7000 hrs tailwheel and most of it
doing ag ops. Some of it is tailwheel twin engine like Beech 18.
Ol Shy & Bashful
Deborah McFarland
2005-11-30 13:18:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
In ag operations we often used strips that were about 1200' grass and
wheel landings were the norm. I still don't understand why so many
pilots are afraid of them or don't do them. Seems a lot have the idea
that it takes extra speed to do them and it just ain't so. Can you slow
fly your airplane? Then you can do a slow wheel landing pure and
simple.
My husband won a spot landing contest this past October using a wheel
landing. He can also land in 900 ft of grass with them. He practices flying
down the runway just above a stall all the time. He pulls the power and
gently drops on the mains. It's a joy to watch.

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
s***@yahoo.com
2005-11-30 16:11:23 UTC
Permalink
Deb
Well, there ya go! Pretty much what I tried to describe. Funny story
about spot landings....I was flying near Marana, AZ back in the 70's
and heard a spot landing contest going on via the Unicom. So, I called
and asked if I could participate.
The answer was affirmative, so I carefully did the approach, adjusted
power, rate of descent, got an eagle eye on the spot, maintained the
line and slope, did some careful adjustments, then landed exactly on
the spot with zero forward movement....in my helicopter. <gggg> They
didn't want to give me 1st Place for some reason. So I just continued
on the ferry flight to SoCal. We all got a laugh out of it.
About 30+years back I was hired to check out a group of M.D.'s in thier
club C-195. Good group of pilots and a lot of fun. Great airplane and
very capable. Does yours have the Geiss gear or is it rigid?
Ol Shy & Bashful
Deborah McFarland
2005-12-01 01:13:47 UTC
Permalink
Funny story about spot landings....I was flying near Marana, AZ back in the
70's...then landed exactly on
the spot with zero forward movement....in my helicopter. <gggg>
:-).
About 30+years back I was hired to check out a group of M.D.'s in their
club C-195. Good group of pilots and a lot of fun. Great airplane and
very capable. Does yours have the Geiss gear or is it rigid?
27charlie has the light crosswind gear.

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
john smith
2005-12-03 02:21:51 UTC
Permalink
Selway, Deb...
I am having difficulty understanding what you are saying.
If you are slow-flighting with power, the nose is high.
How do you land on the mains and prevent the tailwheel from touching
first?
Cub Driver
2005-12-03 09:50:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by john smith
If you are slow-flighting with power, the nose is high.
How do you land on the mains and prevent the tailwheel from touching
first?
The nose isn't *that* high! Else the plane would already be stalled.
Anyhow, it's my impression that in slow flight in ground effect the
Cub's attitude is pretty much level. Not sure about this since I've
never seen myself from the sidelines.

The ideal wheelie involves a jab of forward pressure on the stick just
as the wheels touch. That plants the wheels and keeps the tail from
dropping (which would cause you to take flight again).

That's followed by some back pressure to get the tail down enough for
aerodynamic braking with the wings. Not so much that you take flight
again! Done just right, you can stop in as short a space with a
wheelie as with a three-point.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
Deborah McFarland
2005-12-03 13:47:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by john smith
Selway, Deb...
I am having difficulty understanding what you are saying.
If you are slow-flighting with power, the nose is high.
How do you land on the mains and prevent the tailwheel from touching
first?
John,

In the "wheel landing" configuration, our Luscombes are just about level.
When/If we land, our stick is gently pushed forward, and the tail doesn't
fall until our stick reaches the forward stop.

Henry's quote (as he is the master of this in our household), "This is not a
full stall landing. You can make it a full stall by pulling the power off at
the right height. I prefer to do this on grass as that surface absorbs the
energy."

I can add these comments. Henry's 8A has an A-65. The airplane stalls at 39
mph. He can fly slow without having to pull the nose up. Also, he has owned
this airplane since 1978 and knows it better than he knows me.

My airplane is heavier and has a C-85. I do need to pull the nose back to
slow down. I can't do the slow flight down the runway as well as Henry. Nor
can I land as slow with a wheel landing. I keep practicing though! I do use
the same approach speeds for both three-point and wheel landings, but the
level attitude of a wheel landing doesn't allow me to land as slow.

Hope I haven't confused you too much ;-).

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
john smith
2005-12-03 14:31:15 UTC
Permalink
I know how to wheel land my 1945 7AC Champ with an A65-8.
I do not experience the flat attitude with power as has been described.
The only way to obtain a flat attitude is to increase airspeed and "fly"
the wheels onto the ground.
Forward pressure on the stick then keeps the tailwheel up.
I need 70 mph for level attitude wheel landings vice 55 mph for normal
three point landing. Below 55 mph the sink rate gets too high and the
gear hits the stops of the oleos.
Dylan Smith
2005-12-01 09:59:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deborah McFarland
My husband won a spot landing contest this past October using a wheel
landing. He can also land in 900 ft of grass with them. He practices flying
down the runway just above a stall all the time. He pulls the power and
gently drops on the mains. It's a joy to watch.
Wheel landings are the tailwheel pilot's secret weapon in spot landing
contests. If a spot landing contest is being run by a tailwheel pilot,
you'll often find they are banned :-)
--
Dylan Smith, Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Flying: http://www.dylansmith.net
Oolite-Linux: an Elite tribute: http://oolite-linux.berlios.de
Frontier Elite Universe: http://www.alioth.net
Capt.Doug
2005-12-01 03:16:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Some of it is tailwheel twin engine like Beech 18.
Ol Shy & Bashful
Back when I was chief pilot of Be-18 operator, our POI opened the C-45
manual and pointed at the statement about 3-point landings being prefered.
He grinned because he knew that no one did 3-point landings in a Twin Beech.
What he didn't know is that I cut my baby teeth in the right seat of a Twin
Beech. You should have seen the look on his face.

D.
R.W. Behan
2005-12-01 05:47:59 UTC
Permalink
Capt Doug:

So did you three-point the Twin? As a Navy aircraft mechanic and sometimes
"plane captain" on the Twin--the Navy designation was "SNB"--I had to tend
to hungover BOQ pilots, driving around the sky until it was time for the
skipper, now well rested, to land the plane. I never saw a 3-point landing
made by the SNB. But watching them land, level, on the mains, it always was
a bit dicey to see those struts wobble fore and aft--almost as if the
airplane was walking, not rolling, down the runway.

So my next encounter with the Twin Beech was more satisfactory. As a
smokejumper with the US Forest Service, I never had to land in one at all.

CAVU to you, Cap.

Dick Behan
Post by Capt.Doug
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Some of it is tailwheel twin engine like Beech 18.
Ol Shy & Bashful
Back when I was chief pilot of Be-18 operator, our POI opened the C-45
manual and pointed at the statement about 3-point landings being prefered.
He grinned because he knew that no one did 3-point landings in a Twin Beech.
What he didn't know is that I cut my baby teeth in the right seat of a Twin
Beech. You should have seen the look on his face.
D.
Capt.Doug
2005-12-02 20:50:18 UTC
Permalink
"R.W. Behan" wrote in message > So did you three-point the Twin?
Yes
As a Navy aircraft mechanic and sometimes
"plane captain" on the Twin--the Navy designation was "SNB"--I had to tend
to hungover BOQ pilots, driving around the sky until it was time for the
skipper, now well rested, to land the plane. I never saw a 3-point landing
made by the SNB. But watching them land, level, on the mains, it always was
a bit dicey to see those struts wobble fore and aft--almost as if the
airplane was walking, not rolling, down the runway.
We had an SNB-5 in our stable, but it had been converted to a tricycle after
the Navy released it. It flew a little different from other Twin Beeches. It
didn't like to go slow. If I got below 110mph on final, it would drop like a
rock. It would stall without much buffet too. I gave a checkride to 20,000
hour Beech pilot in it and it's characteristics surprised him while on
final. He had to cob a bunch of throttle to recover. The only thing I can
attribute it to is that the civilian Twin Beeches had a different horizontal
stabilizer incidence angle than the military version and that maybe this
airplane wasn't set to the civilian specification.

D.
Robert M. Gary
2005-11-29 21:29:01 UTC
Permalink
I ground looped the Chief once. Not a fun situation to not feel like
you are in control. I had touched down and at about 5 mph I hit the
left rudder to turn off the runway. The plane went left, then too far
left (which is normal for any taildragger). When I hit the right rudder
to stop the turn it went to the floor and the plane kept going left. I
got about 270 degrees of a turn before I got my feet up on the heel
brake to tap the right brake. It was kind of sur-real going around in
circles slowly. Luckily the wheel never really left the ground and the
wing didn't touch. It turned out the locking pin in the tail had worn
out so the tailwheel didn't engage when aligned with the rudder. Until
I slowed to 5 mph I was successfully steering with the rudder (w/o
tailwheel).

-Robert
Deborah McFarland
2005-11-30 14:12:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
1) I should have anticipated the crosswind and not been surprised by it on
final.
Get-there-itis and deteriorating conditions often lead to bad approaches.
Bad approaches are seldom end with a good landing. Also consider that you
had the added distraction of a newly overhauled engine and your nine
year-old son to deal with.

My husband and I belong to a large tailwheel community, including the
Luscombe Association, as well as the tailwheel pilots in our own area. This
topic is discussed often as we travel cross-country often for events and
visiting. Whether it's wind, distractions, or even worse, fatigue, we must
be focused when we reach our destination. Preaching it is one thing; doing
it is another.
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
2) Obviously, airspeed control was an issue. I wasn't at pattern speed
before entering the pattern and I never quite caught up. After I noticed
the speed was high on final, I got distracted by the crosswind and didn't
get it corrected.
3) Did I pull the power to idle after touchdown? I don't specifically
remember doing that. It is such an automatic thing that I might not
specifically remember it. The fact that the plane did not slow down like
it usually would makes me suspicious that I was still carrying some power.
Since I had to jockey the throttle around to get out of the weeds, I
couldn't look at the tach afterwards to tell.
These two can be connected. Three years ago my C-85-12 was overhauled using
the O-200 insides giving me more horse power. It changed the way my airplane
performed. While you may not have changed your components, your engine is
surely stronger after the overhaul and may give you more momentum on final
than you're used to. In addition, as my engine broke in, my idle rpms
started to creep up. It was something I barely noticed until I started
having trouble slowing down on final. I thought I was losing my touch.
Instead, while I was pulling the throttle back to idle, I was still carrying
too much power for landing. A few extra rpms make a big difference in a
light airplane. My rpms had to be adjusted twice before everything seated
(or whatever it does).
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
The only thing I have found to pat myself on the back for is the fact that
I never allowed myself to become a passenger. I kept flying the airplane
until I got it stopped on the runway (facing the wrong way and with a load
of weeds, but on the runway).
In the end, that is all you can do. Fly the airplane and hope for the best.
Sounds like you did a good job. You walked away, and a bonus is that the
airplane is still usable!

Deb
--
1946 Luscombe 8A (his)
1948 Luscombe 8E (hers)
1954 Cessna 195B, restoring (ours)
Dylan Smith
2005-12-01 10:25:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deborah McFarland
Instead, while I was pulling the throttle back to idle, I was still carrying
too much power for landing. A few extra rpms make a big difference in a
light airplane. My rpms had to be adjusted twice before everything seated
(or whatever it does).
Especially a light plane with a bigger engine than normal fitted: the
Auster we have here has a 160hp O-320 instead of the 90-ood horsepower
Gipsy engine it originally had. Most planes need around 1900 RPM to
maintain level flight. The Auster can maintain level flight with that
engine at about 1450 RPM. So you definitely want to get it all the way
to idle. The Auster also stalls power on, flaps down at 29 mph. (Without
a glider in tow, the takeoff performance is rather good :-))
--
Dylan Smith, Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Flying: http://www.dylansmith.net
Oolite-Linux: an Elite tribute: http://oolite-linux.berlios.de
Frontier Elite Universe: http://www.alioth.net
r***@yahoo.com
2005-12-02 04:21:20 UTC
Permalink
Walked away from it... good landing.
Airplane still useable afterwards... GREAT landing!

:-)

3 Cheers!

(reminiscing about my tailwheel training in a Champ on a 15G25 windy
day and almost ready to throttle my CFI by the neck for being so mean
to me)
Matt Barrow
2005-12-02 04:50:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by r***@yahoo.com
Walked away from it... good landing.
Airplane still useable afterwards... GREAT landing!
:-)
Landed at airport to pick up mother-in-law : Bad Landing
r***@yahoo.com
2005-12-02 05:01:22 UTC
Permalink
landed at airport to pick up mother-in-law : Bad Landing
You do know that that the letters of "mother in law" can be re-spelled
into an anagram of "woman hitler" don't you?
Private
2005-12-02 21:16:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Reid & Julie Baldwin
I have heard it said that there are two types of tailwheel pilots: those
that have ground looped and those that will. A week ago, I graduated from
the latter category into the former category. There was no shirt ripping
ceremony for this milestone. Fortunately, there was also no torn flesh or
bent metal. I post the story here so others can share my lessons learned.
snip

How To Groundloop Your Taildragger
by Lloyd Beaule
http://www.aviation.ca/content/view/907/118/

Happy landings,
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