Wheel Landings

Aeronca Sedan Airplanes
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Muskokabob
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Wheel Landings

Post by Muskokabob » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:29

Just getting back into the saddle with my Sedan on wheels, and wanted to get comments from the Sedan owners on how they preferred to land, wheels or 3 point?

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joea
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by joea » Mon Nov 15, 2010 17:43

Please share your way of doing wheel landings. I am still three pointing and very happy with it but at times feel the need to do otherwise.

Joe

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Nathan K. Hammond
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Mon Nov 15, 2010 22:33

Push the wheel forward. :wink:

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Griphos
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by Griphos » Mon Nov 15, 2010 23:04

Well, I'm still a tailwheel novice, so take this as such. I haven't wheel landed in the Chief much, but when I was flying the Champ that I did my tailwheel training in, I found the wheel landings much easier to do (and actually quite fun) when I came in a little hotter. I'm not sure whether the extra speed gave better control during the flare or what, but it was just easier to level right above the runway and let her bleed speed and settle to the ground. If the settling was slow, and it usually was, then very little forward pressure was necessary to pin her. Of course, I was running along the ground at better than rotation speed this way, but so much air on the rudder also made for better control keeping her straight. I kept the tail up with increasing forward pressure until the pressure got fairly strong, and then, rather than hold her up as long as possible, let her settle (much below rotation speed now) gently so I could use tailwheel steering. I used about twice as much runway this way, but then didn't need very much to start with, so never really used more than half of the 3000 ft at that field.

When I tried wheel landing at normal approach speed, judging the flare was more important and I often wound up bouncing as the speed bled off quickly (draggy plane!). I'm talking 65 mph vs. 55 mph here.

So, for me, it was just a matter of leveling her just above the runway and being patient. No back pressure to hold her off, and just the least bit of forward once she touched.

I find I prefer wheel landings in a brisk crosswind. Much better visibility, and it just seems more natural (for me) to land one wheel first while level than while in the three-point attitude.

Anyway, I really got to like them in the Champ. My instructor kept chiding me not to ignore my three-pointer practice.
Phil
11AC N86249

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joea
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by joea » Mon Nov 15, 2010 23:48

Nathan K. Hammond wrote:Push the wheel forward. :wink:

nkh
You are a big help! :)

What I was taught was to take the normal "Three point" speed, add about 10 mph to it and fly it onto the runway, and when the mains touch firmly, and as Nathan says "push the wheel or stick forward" and thats it!

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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by pablo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 18:29

On final trim nose down, but hold speed with back pressure on stick or yoke. Attitude should be level and power enough until the runway meets you. Then, just release the stick back pressure, and throttle to iddle. As soon as the tail meets the ground, stick full back.
Pablo

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Nathan K. Hammond
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Tue Nov 16, 2010 23:59

Bob, in all seriousness, I've only got a handful of landings in the Sedan, but it seemed to like 3 pointing, although it would wheel just as easy.

When I'm in a new airplane, or one I'm not completely in tune with, I tend to wheel it on. By coming in hot and literally flying the airplane onto the runway with a sink rate in the 'feet-per-hour' rate; it infinitely reduces the chances of flaring 5 feet too high.
Not that I've done that before. :wink:

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Matt
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by Matt » Wed Nov 17, 2010 14:13

Bob,

I can highly recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Compleat-Taildrag ... 334&sr=8-1

In spite of the funny title spelling, it really "dissects" all the important aspects of taildragger piloting, inlcuding the wheel landing. When you start out, it is a rather dry read at first. Don't put the book aside! Personally, I found, it soon became really captivating and I am certain it causes many a seasoned pilot to "Aha!". Most control inputs are done automatically by most of us, but the book analyzes each moment during, e.g., a wheel landing and will tell you the "why's" and the "why not's".

Matt
Aeronca 15AC Sedan – Restoring and flying the classic 4-seater: http://www.n1331h.com

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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by jc pacquin » Thu Nov 18, 2010 20:42

At W42 a fellow pilot who rebuilt his own Maule-180hp from ground up (AP&AI) lands on mains usually perfectly, slows, then taxis up runway on mains only, finally letting tail down slowly approaching gas pump. Its like slowmotion! He can fly it really well. It was a dog when he bought it. He painted it white, with dark green and gold stripe on it. Good looking. I stare in wonder when this occurs (on pavement) Then I continue to 3 point it on the grass next to the hard surface. I THINK most taildraggers land the same way to a large degree. I get in tall grass when, upon landing on the mains, the tail starts down and I over correct as the rudder runs out of air. Its also the planting of the mains that makes me nervous. This is just poor technique on my part. P.S. He built this and a 75 hp Champ in his spare time. He owns an excavation company in the real world, works every day. JP

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sedanpilot
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by sedanpilot » Fri Nov 19, 2010 01:53

Bob: I mainly do three point landings because I am often concerned with runway length and carrying another 5 to 10 mph over the fence to make a wheel landing work is not conducive to short field landings. When I am practicing, I try to land short so I am in practice for it when I need to. Having said that, I do practice wheel landings and the Sedan does them fairly nicely. Similar to a champ in many ways except for the yoke instead of the stick. (Some airplanes do not or do not do three point well because of the landing gear geometry. The Swift is really a handful in a three point from my limited experience.) It seems like the big tail draggers like the DC-3 the C46, Beech 18 all do wheel landings.

I will usually do a wheel landing when the runway has a significant down slope. That's because in a three point I end up chasing the runway in the flare and eating up huge amounts of distance. In a wheel landing, I can drive it down and stick it on for better breaking. It isn't pretty, but it works.

The other situation is when I have a long runway, but it is narrow, has logs/rocks/bends etc. in it. The better visibility in a wheel landing is really nice in those situations.

I don't have much experience in beach landings, but I have heard that some experienced pilots use wheel landing on the beach because it is easier to keep from rounding up into the shore due to the side slope of the runway toward the water.

I agree with Matt on the book. The Complete Tail Dragger Pilot by Harvey S. Plourde. That is the one I use as well. Especially when I am out practicing and it just doesn't seem to be working. I go back and read and it usually helps me to pull my head out. I like the really simple figures that don't clutter the issue with a lot of fancy graphics that just cloud the issue. His description of p factor is one of the best I have read.

I usually do carry a little power on wheel landings. It sort of feels like cheating, but it really lets you find the ground softly instead of bouncing. (Not necessary on a down hill landing) My biggest problem with wheel landings is being late pushing forward when contact with the ground is made, or misjudging the height and making contact when I wasn't expecting it. The airplane then pitches up and the bouncing begins. Then I usually either end up three pointing it or going around.

Wheel landings sort of feel like eating your spinach, it's good for you, but you don't really like it if you know what I mean?

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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by jc pacquin » Sun Nov 21, 2010 20:51

when it bounces, try this. When it goes back up, add A LITTLE throttle and keep stick back, just enough to keep it flying, maybe 2-3- or 4 feet off the ground. Then you can cut the throttle and it plops on the ground or slowly reduce the throttle, stick in same position and it will settle nicely. When landing the Stearman (past tense) or the champ I shoot for the end of the runway, which is 2300 feet. If a gust catches it, I pull back add a little throttle, slow fly it down the runway then let it settle. We usually always have a cross wind here so I do this often, sometimes flying it all the way down the runway like this before chopping the throttle. Other times I do a half ass wheel landing with tail about 2 feet off ground and let it settle out. JP

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joea
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by joea » Fri Feb 08, 2013 09:27

Going back through some old posts and found this one.

Just got the Sedan back in the air yesterday after a complete bungee change.

Did wheel landings all the way back from Middletown and found that I like them a lot more than 3 pointing.

As Nathan said, just touch down on the mains and if the nose is trimmed forward a bit a slight bit of pressure on the stick and the airplane sticks perfectly. Control is wonderful and you can carry the tailwheel as long as needed.

Joe A

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hangerash
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Re: Wheel Landings

Post by hangerash » Sat Feb 09, 2013 09:46

Joe,
I always used wheel landings with crosswinds. They made me feel really in control and an option to better visibility.

Richard
Richard

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