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


The touchdown is the gentle settling of the airplane onto the landing surface. The roundout and touchdown should be made with the engine idling, and the airplane at minimum controllable airspeed, so that the airplane will touch down at approximately stalling speed. As the airplane settles, the proper landing attitude must be attained by applying whatever back-elevator pressure is necessary. The roundout and touchdown should be timed so that the wheels of the main landing gear and tailwheel touch down simultaneously (three-point landing). This requires proper timing, technique, and judgment of distance and altitude. [Figure 13-1]

Figure 13-1. Tailwheel touchdown.

Figure 13-1. Tailwheel touchdown.

When the wheels make contact with the ground, the elevator control should be carefully eased fully back to hold the tail down and to keep the tailwheel on the ground. This provides more positive directional control of the airplane equipped with a steerable tailwheel, and prevents any tendency for the airplane to nose over. If the tailwheel is not on the ground, easing back on the elevator control may cause the airplane to become airborne again because the change in attitude will increase the angle of attack and produce enough lift for the airplane to fly.

It is extremely important that the touchdown occur with the airplaneā€™s longitudinal axis exactly parallel to the direction the airplane is moving along the runway. Failure to accomplish this not only imposes severe side loads on the landing gear, but imparts groundlooping (swerving) tendencies. To avoid these side stresses or a ground loop, the pilot must never allow the airplane to touch down while in a crab or while drifting.

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PED Publication