View Full Version : Tail draggers
06-07-2004, 08:48 PM
Until now I have flown only trike gear planes. Will soon attempt to fly a tail dragger biplane. Can anyone assist with the differences, if any, in take-off and landing of a tail dragger? I assume one just lines it up, opens the throttle gradually, waits for the tail to lift, then pulls up elevator ... and that landing is not really any different from landing a trike, or perhaps come in a little nose high. (At least, that's how I've done it on the simulator!)
06-07-2004, 08:54 PM
With Taildraggers you have to keep the elevator up when on the ground, as the prop wash has a tendency to lift the tail up.
You also have to put "toe-in" on your main landing gear, because when you put both wheels in the same plane, the airplane will have a tendency to veer to one side during the TO roll.
06-07-2004, 09:00 PM
I am by no mean experienced on this subject but ill try. I hold down elevator to keep the tail down for a but and then slowly let off letting the tailrise and adding a bit of right rudder to compensate tourque. after the tail lifts off add a bit of up elevator and it should take off.
06-07-2004, 09:08 PM
Ok, i have just about no experiance with trike gear so I should have a good idea of how to do this by now lol! I like to do it like this:
When Taxiing I use full up elevator to keep the planes tail down then I line her up on the runway. Let go of the elevator from idle I add power and after a good take-off run I give it a little up elevator and were good to go...I like to see the tail come off first in my take-off run, and make sure you have enough land speed of course! Not hard at all! And of course just like with trike use rudder to steer it on the ground!
06-08-2004, 01:34 AM
Just keep your left thumb alive and alert and enjoy
06-08-2004, 05:53 AM
I fly almost all 1/3 and 1/4 scale gas tail draggers these days including two bipes.
Assuming correct CG and the LG in the correct place in reference to the C.G.,the most important takeoff rules are to add power gradually and get used to using rudder all the time.Almost always some right rudder is needed to counteract the engine torque in the takeoff roll but wind direction plays a big part too,and each model is different.Some of mine need right rudder held in all the time including in the air immediatley after takeoff to keep everything smooth.
After a while using rudder becomes second nature
06-08-2004, 06:15 AM
I am by no mean experienced on this subject but ill try. I hold down elevator to keep the tail down for a but and then slowly let off letting the tailrise and adding a bit of right rudder to compensate tourque. after the tail lifts off add a bit of up elevator and it should take off.Spencer,
I think you have things a little reversed. You must hold in Up elevator to keep the tail firml planted on the ground as mentioned above. Gradually feed in power, stay alert on the rudder and as the aircraft picks up speed gradually release some of the up elevator until the tail comes of the ground and the a/c is running on the mains.
Feed back in a litlle bit of elevator and the a/c will climbout. That's how it is with my CG Extra 300.
The main difference with a trike gear is that you have to rotate the a/c to lift off where a td will ussually just lift off with minimal back pressure on the stick. No yank it and crank it here. This isn't golf were grip it and rip it the Daly moto! :wink: :wink: :lol: :lol:
Once youve dragged your Ass through the grass.... you'll never go back!
Next step is to go to two wings and have a round engine... then you will be flying a real aircraft! Right Jim Mc! :wink: :wink:
06-08-2004, 06:53 AM
The hardest thing for me to remember when switching from trike to tail dragger is to NOT hold up elevator during take off. The plane can get airbourne premeturely, stall and kiss the ground. :oops: Actually, I did this the second season flying tail draggers. Luckily there wasn't too much damage.
Once you start tail draggers, then you get into bipes. :D
06-08-2004, 06:57 AM
:oops: whoops, a little confusion. Sorry about that, but what they said.
06-08-2004, 07:19 AM
Kevin describes best what I've encountered. The thing is, not all talidraggers behave the same. Typically, aircraft with long fuselages, low angle of attack and well placed wide gear are the easiest for groundhandling.
Aircraft with short fuselage (aka short coupled), high AOA (nose high when at rest on tailskid/wheel) and narrow gear near the CG (describes most of my favourite aircraft :? ) are notoriously difficult to handle on the ground.
For example,my triplane requires a massive amount of up elevator to keep from nosing over during initial takeoff. In fact, I have 70% expo to keep the tail nailed while keeping the centre part of the stick soft enough for smooth flying. Once she starts rolling, I add down elevator to lift the tail and slowly ease off as she gathers speed.... no up elevator required as she rises on her own quite well. The rudder is quite busy the entire time.
Landing is easier performed on the mains, flying the tail even while the main gear are well planted. When the tail drops, a well timed burst of throttle is required to make the elevator effective enough to keep from nosing over... this is also required when you notice the rudder becoming ineffective as it gets lost in turbulence as the AOA increases....
OTOH, the technique Fodder describes is what I encounter with my well behaved Ultimate. :wink:
06-08-2004, 08:08 AM
Agree with Jim.........my 1/3 Spacewalker with the long fuse and gentle characteristics will darn near take itself off.However my new short coupled narrow geared Christen Eagle Bipe while certainly quite easy to control on takeoff is another case altogether and will have you chasing the rudder if you get at all sloppy during the roll.........
I dont specialize in WW1 planes like Jim so most of my large taildraggers must have the elevator eased into neutral during takeoff to raise the tailwheel and get a nice flat initial climb immediatley after takeoff........
06-08-2004, 10:40 AM
Also, don't be afraid to pull it back to idle and taxi back to try it again when it gets "squirrelly" on your first few take off runs. I also find it easier to take off from the grass instead of on the runway.
06-08-2004, 11:46 AM
I recommend that when you first go to fly the taildragger, you go out to the field when it is not busy. Get out on the runway, directly behind the plane and taxi down the runway. Being behind the plane makes it easy to see how much it wants to turn, and how much rudder is required to correct. Practice taxiing around, and get just to below take off speed and back off.
There is nothing "hard" about flying a taildragger, it is just a slightly different set of skills. The durability is so much better and its a lot easier for grass strips, than a trike, to fly and do touch and goes, etc.
06-08-2004, 12:20 PM
I also find it easier to take off from the grass instead of on the runway.
Amen Brother! :oops:
06-09-2004, 11:37 AM
Many thanks to all who replied with advice. Much appreciated.
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