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Recommended techniques on flying a tail dragger

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Mar 18, 2008
Looking for any recommend reading material, videos or personal insights on learning, (techniques) for flying a tail dragger, specifically a Citabria.
Thank you in advance.
Citabria has spring gear, it will let you know when its not happy. It was my first taildragger, and its a great flying airplane.
Brakes are for taxiing, not for the runway.

Don't try to salvage a bad landing.

The flight isn't over until the airplane is chocked and tied down.

Keep the long axis of the airplane aligned with your direction of travel when landing.

The flipper things by your feet are attached to the rudder. Use them.

Two point, thee point, doesn't really matter. You should learn to do both.

It's just an airplane. Don't let the mythology of conventional gear deter you.
All those fancy memory aids you learned about holding the yoke correctly relative to which way the wind is blowing you will get to actually have to use now. It doesn't have the training wheel up front and you'll need to use proper stick etiquette to keep from flipping on your back. Oh yeah, if the stick ain't in your gut it's not going to land full stall (in a Cub anyways).
Got to www.faa.gov. do a search for faa 8083 3a. Then click on airplane flying hand book. Open chapter 13. Good luck lots of fun and will make you a better pilot!
Before you fly - do lots of fast taxiing. Matter of fact, the flying part of a TW is no different, it's the landing and take-off, or more specifically, the handling of the CG while rolling fast, at near T.O.& Landing speeds.

So,...get on a side taxiway somewhere, or on the runway is best, and power up to get 15-20 kts speed, throttle back, and stomp on a rudder and brake (stick all the way back) and cause a small groundloop. Slow at first, just a fast taxi, then increase speed untill it simulates a groundloop, then practice stopping the groundloop at precise points, ie., 180, 90, etc. this will get you in command of directional control of the nose with the rudder and brakes.

That's what TW flying is all about.
One shouldn't ever groundloop in a conventional gear airplane. If one is unlocking the tailwheel above walking speed, one is going to fast to be swinging the tail. This puts an extraordinary load on the main gear. There's no reason for it, operationally, or when training.
There's no reason for it, operationally, or when training.
It was standard U.S.Army Bird Dog (L-19) Primary Pre-Solo training.

Yeah, it does work the landing gear somewhat, but it is an excellent training tool, and I guess it is cheaper than a real groundloop.
The US Army had one thing that the civillian world doesn't have: unlimited taxpayer funds. Groundlooping at any speed doesn't just "work the landing gear somewhat." It's extremely hard on the gear and the airframe, and it teaches the exact opposite of what the student should be learning.

There is no reason in the training environment to groundloop the airplane. One can be properly taught to fly conventional gear without inciting a loss of control.

The L-19 had spring steel gear which was a little more tolerant of abuse. Simply because one can abuse equipment doesn't mean one should. That the army elected to poorly teach because the taxpayer was footing the bill doesn't mean it should be done anywhere else. Furthermore, teaching by that method leads to too much reliance upon brakes; one should teach a student to bracket the gear and keep it from escaping into a groundloop without brakes. This is particularly true in many light civil aircraft where the brakes are far short of spectacular; especially in friction heel brakes which are just short of non-existent in practical use.

A big part of teaching someone to flying conventional gear is teaching them not to use the brakes.

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