Chapter 13 Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes

Table of Contents
Tailwheel Airplanes
Landing Gear
Normal Takeoff Roll
Crosswind Takeoff
Short-Field Takeoff
Soft-Field Takeoff
After-Landing Roll
Crosswind Landing
Crosswind After-Landing Roll
Wheel Landing
Short-Field Landing
Soft-Field Landing
Ground Loop


Since a good takeoff depends on the proper takeoff attitude, it is important to know how this attitude appears and how it is attained. The ideal takeoff attitude requires only minimum pitch adjustments shortly after the airplane lifts off to attain the speed for the best rate of climb.

The tail should first be allowed to rise off the ground slightly to permit the airplane to accelerate more rapidly. At this point, the position of the nose in relation to the horizon should be noted, then elevator pressure applied as necessary to hold this attitude. The wings are kept level by applying aileron pressure as necessary.

The airplane may be allowed to fly off the ground while in normal takeoff attitude. Forcing it into the air by applying excessive back-elevator pressure would result in an excessively high pitch attitude and may delay the takeoff. As discussed earlier, excessive and rapid changes in pitch attitude result in proportionate changes in the effects of torque, making the airplane more difficult to control.

Although the airplane can be forced into the air, this is considered an unsafe practice and should be avoided under normal circumstances. If the airplane is forced to leave the ground by using too much back-elevator pressure before adequate flying speed is attained, the wing’s angle of attack may be excessive, causing the airplane to settle back to the runway or even to stall. On the other hand, if sufficient back-elevator pressure is not held to maintain the correct takeoff attitude after becoming airborne, or the nose is allowed to lower excessively, the airplane may also settle back to the runway. This occurs because the angle of attack is decreased and lift is diminished to the degree where it will not support the airplane. It is important to hold the attitude constant after rotation or lift-off.

As the airplane leaves the ground, the pilot must continue to maintain straight flight, as well as holding the proper pitch attitude. During takeoffs in strong, gusty wind, it is advisable that an extra margin of speed be obtained before the airplane is allowed to leave the ground. A takeoff at the normal takeoff speed may result in a lack of positive control, or a stall, when the airplane encounters a sudden lull in strong, gusty wind, or other turbulent air currents. In this case, the pilot should hold the airplane on the ground longer to attain more speed, then make a smooth, positive rotation to leave the ground.

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PED Publication