September 2001 Issue

Wheelie or Three?

Landing a taildragger can mean two different kinds of landings, but sometimes the choice is made for you

Some tailwheel pilots believe there are two kinds of landings: wheel and three-point (also called full-stall landing, even though most pilots make them above stalling speed). But just as you donít see airshow pilots wheeling their high-performance mounts onto the runway, you donít see Ford Trimotors touching down on all three simultaneously.

For some taildraggers, thereís only one kind of landing. Unfortunately, which kind of landing that is depends on both the pilot and the airplane, but more on the airplane.

The key to understanding tailwheel dynamics is to recall that the center of the airplaneís gravity resides behind the main landing gear. This means that when the aircraft is dece...

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