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  • Wheel landings

    Okay, I've got three point landings down prety well. I've even greased a few of them! Then suddenly, we're working on wheel landings. Oh man...I thought I knew how to land an airplane! These are NOT easy! I know as I keep working on them, the landings will come, but talk about humbling! If you are getting a little too "cocky" and need your head and attitude adjusted and brought back to reality, go fly a taildragger. That will cure you. If you're up for a challegen, that will do it for you and you'll have fun while you're doing it!

  • #2
    Re: Wheel landings

    Originally posted by Corsair Ace
    Okay, I've got three point landings down prety well. I've even greased a few of them! Then suddenly, we're working on wheel landings. Oh man...I thought I knew how to land an airplane! These are NOT easy! I know as I keep working on them, the landings will come, but talk about humbling! If you are getting a little too "cocky" and need your head and attitude adjusted and brought back to reality, go fly a taildragger. That will cure you. If you're up for a challegen, that will do it for you and you'll have fun while you're doing it!
    Totally opposite anything you would think about landing an airplane. "No, don't keep pulling back once the wheels hit, but rather let go of the pressure or push forward." Wha?!?!?

    I miss flying TW.

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    • #3
      Just you wait, you'll work on those wheel landings to perfection, then find you can't 3-point worth a darn Then you can start all over. Eventually you get it worked out to being able to convert any approach into a reasonable 3-point or wheel landing within a couple seconds of touching down.

      I found it easier to approach fast when learning wheel landings, but then worked the speed/power combinations until I was nearly down to the same approach setup as a 3-point. It works pretty well, though if you anticipate a wheel landing, I suggest some nose-down trim. It's easier to relax pressure on the yoke than push forward

      Let the good times roll!

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      • #4
        Lee,
        I've always found it easier to touch one main just a split-second before the other one. If you're going to have any bounce going, touching one main slightly before the other seems to help dissipate it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CraigH
          Lee,
          I've always found it easier to touch one main just a split-second before the other one. If you're going to have any bounce going, touching one main slightly before the other seems to help dissipate it.
          What would you know, you have a training wheel now. Don

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          • #6
            Originally posted by yakdriver
            What would you know, you have a training wheel now. Don

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            • #7
              Lee,

              Not that I'm a super hero when it comes to wheel landings, but this is what worked for me to get over "the hump" of wheel landings.

              I don't change my aproach at all for 3 points or wheel landings. They are both 1.3 VSO, full flap landings with just a touch of power (1700 rpms). Although, you can use any configuration you want; point is you don't have to change them. On my aproach I trim for "almost hands off." Specifically, I trim just a little nose down so I have to hold a little back pressure to keep the nose up.

              During the flare is when things change. With a three point I always imagine an aggresive pull into your lap to get the plane "all the way back" into a max AOA attitude. During a wheel landing flare, I kind of truncate that into what I call a half-flare. I hold this half flare, or adjust it slightly, to bleed off the last remaining inches of altitude and airspeed. Due to the forward trim I set on final, all I have to do is relax the back pressure I'm holding on the yoke instead of actually pushing forward or "sticking it" to the runway.

              Anyways, keep up the good work and keep us posted. Also, if you feel that you aren't progressing in the flare as much as you would like to...just go up and do lots of 1.1 vso slow flight in landing configuration to help you with the feel of the elevator and rudder during flare.

              Good Luck,

              Bill

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              • #8
                I put most of my energy into teaching the application for wheel landings rather than the techniques. Without knowing why they need to learn how to do wheel landings my students would just think that I was being mean to them.

                The number 1 reason to do a wheel landing rather than a 3 point is for better traction during the rollout. This traction is gained by reducing the angle of attack (lift) after touchdown and placing the majority of the aircrafts weight onto the main wheels. This added traction can be used for better directional control with downwind braking, or to reduce the landing roll with heavy braking during short field or emergency landings in confined spaces. If you were to attempt to use heavy braking in the 3 point attitude you would lock up the wheels, or start hopping because there simply isn't enough weight on the tires.

                The number 2 reason to do a wheel landing is to prevent a wing from lifting after touchdown. This is useful in airplanes with a lot of dihedral and very little aileron. The tendency for a wing to lift is also compounded if the airplane has soft landing gear like a champ or a stinson.

                The number 3 reason is for better field of view during the rollout. In airplanes with no forward field of view I sometimes raise the tail so that I can see better on narrow or curved runways. I also do wheel landings when flying formation so that I can see the lead aircraft better.

                Finally the number 4 reason is to allow for touchdowns at virtually any speed. To me this is the least important reason, although it has come in handy. I was once told that I was trailing smoke a minute after takeoff, it was nice to be in a tailwheel airplane so that I could dive down and land at a very high speed which would not have been possible in a trike. It is also useful to save a landing following a too high or too fast approach... this is especially useful on emergencies where a go around is not an option. Being able to land at a higher speed is useful in formation so the leader can carry power all the way in (this prevents the wingman from coasting past the leader).

                I think that most instructors put too much attention on the approach and touchdown when teaching wheel landings. As you can see above my top 3 reasons to do a wheel landing have to do with the roll out only. There is no reason why one couldn't do a 3 point touchdown and then raise the tail to get rid of the lift and gain traction/field of view. As far as I am concerned there is no difference in how you approach or flare in a wheel landing, only what you do after touching and more importantly WHY you do it.

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                • #9
                  If one flies a conventional gear airplane long enough I believe most people will find that there are applications where a three point landing will have benefits over a wheel landing while other times a wheel landing will have benefits over the three point landing.

                  Learn and get proficient with both ... diversity can be good.


                  Congrats on taming the tailwheel Lee, the learning last forever!

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                  • #10
                    aahhh, wheel landings.....Definitely a different feeling. Mine were lousy, but I figure since we moved to wheel landings, I must have finally figurd out the 3 ptr's.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the good information/help guys. Certainly a challenge, one I'm enjoying very much. I'll keek you posted on my progress!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RickF
                        If one flies a conventional gear airplane long enough I believe most people will find that there are applications where a three point landing will have benefits over a wheel landing while other times a wheel landing will have benefits over the three point landing.

                        Learn and get proficient with both ... diversity can be good.


                        Congrats on taming the tailwheel Lee, the learning last forever!
                        Hey Rick, Where you been? Good to see you again my friend!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thats great to hear about you learning to fly a taildragger. I have recently learned to fly my dads stinson( I have about 20 hours in it ), and today I took my flight review in it. My wheel landings are pretty good, but we did a couple of 3 pt landings, and man, I couldn't do one worth a crap. Pretty frustrating, but it all worked out. Just keep flying, and eventually it will all come to you. Oh, don't just stick with one type of landing, practice them both, it will make you a much better tailwheel pilot. Good Luck and have fun!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Corsair Ace
                            Hey Rick, Where you been? Good to see you again my friend!
                            How in the heck are you Lee? Man I didn't realize you have been taming the tailwheel ... looks like somebody may have misplaced a few post in the 'Tailwheel' forum since I was here last.

                            Staying very busy with work and trying to do a complete remodel of our house has kept me very busy over the past couple of years. The house is now finally finished and am I ever glad.

                            Are you still jumping?

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                            • #15
                              Hey Rick,

                              Things are going pretty good now. We lost mom in June, but at least she isn't suffering anymore. I didn't realize how much pain she was in until the day before she passed, so really, that was a blessing, though we miss her greatly.

                              Dad is doing very well. He is getting a lot more attention now and that is helping him. He has really come out of his shell. I took him flying yesterday, for the second time and he really had a great time. Things really looking up.

                              Attempting to tame the tailwheel is awesome! A lot of fun, but man, it really makes you pay attention to what you're doing. I flew this morning and the wheel landings are coming along. My last two were very good the CFI told me. Did one three point before we started working on the wheel landings and it was a good one, so what I learned so far is sticking!

                              Yes, I'm still jumping. Still as awesome as ever. Might make a jump down at Zephyr Hills in a couple of weeks, if I get to take my girlfriend down to visit her mom like we're planning. That will be cool.

                              Great that you got your house finished. Hopefully, you'll have a little to be here more now.

                              That's about it from this end. Take care my friend, I'll see you around here.

                              Your friend,
                              Lee

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