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Tail Dragger Question

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Pops

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I flew my Falconar f-12 all over the U.S. in the 5 years I owned it and later my neighbor bought it and it was kept in my hanger and I flew it like I owned it for 3 more years , has with a free castoring tailwheel. The rudder was so large and effective that you could slow taxi with the rudder and a tap of brakes if needed and didn't want to give it a short burst of power to the swing the tail around. Never had a problem. On takeoff when the tail came up, you put in about 1/2 rudder to keep it straight and start letting off the rudder as speed increased to keep it straight . All happen very quickly because the TO roll was short.
The F-12 was later damaged in a ground loop and fixed by a later owner and sold with the new buyer just putting a few hours in it and totaled it in a ground loop.
I think there is a lot of poor tailwheel training out there.

The Smith that I ground looped as a student pilot would ground loop in a NY heartbeat. My instructor had a Pitts that he flew in competition and he total it in a groundloop. Said it was the worse handling airplane he ever flew.
 

rv7charlie

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Yeah, hard core acro a/c are somewhat different animals. My neighbor (Smith Mini builder, previous Pitts owner, etc) currently owns the One Design prototype. He's flown it for a year or two as-is, but is putting a locking tailwheel on it to tame its ground handling a bit. But planes designed for mere mortals *should* be tame enough to handle with a castering tw. Poor gear alignment can cause handling issues, of course. I wonder if that could have been the problem with that Celerity.

Forgot to mention that the Luscombe 8A that taught me to fly had a free castering (meaning worn out) tw. It was no big deal to control, even with heel brakes. That is, until the annual when the IA said he got the tw 'sorta working'... My only excursion off a runway was after that 'repair'; he'd gotten the steering mechanism working in one direction but not the other. So, 1st crosswind landing, I corrected with my normal big rudder input, then when when I applied rudder in the other direction, the plane darted off the runway (tw steering was working that direction).
 

Pops

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My grandson got a share of a Luscombe 8A for his 16th birthday along with a 17 year old neighbor boy and a couple others. They helped a neighbor IA restore it. I painted it for them in my paint booth. Handled pretty good as long as you didn't let your feet go to sleep. No problems. Best thing for the boys. The 17 year old is a corp pilot now and my grandson is a computer engineer now and is wanting to buy another airplane. Maybe he will want something I have when I hang my spurs up on the wall.
 

Dan Thomas

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Forgot to mention that the Luscombe 8A that taught me to fly had a free castering (meaning worn out) tw. It was no big deal to control, even with heel brakes. That is, until the annual when the IA said he got the tw 'sorta working'... My only excursion off a runway was after that 'repair'; he'd gotten the steering mechanism working in one direction but not the other. So, 1st crosswind landing, I corrected with my normal big rudder input, then when when I applied rudder in the other direction, the plane darted off the runway (tw steering was working that direction).
Sounds like it was a Maule tailwheel. Horrible things. The steering lock makes endless trouble. And it shimmies at the drop of a hat. Scott has a steering brake that's supposed to control shimmy, but then the steering is stiff and sluggish. Some non-certified tailwheels are much better. I modified a steerable non-castering tailwheel for my Jodel, making up my own castering release, and it worked well.
 
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