Yesterday I had the chance to pick up my training again. I met Dave at Amelia Reid for a late afternoon flight in N9091L (which I'd not flown before) down to South County Airport so that I could try my hand at wheel landings.

Up until now, I've been focused on the classic "three point" landings. The goal is to get the main wheels and the tail wheel on the ground at the same time (or as close to that as possible). The technique is basically to stall the plane at the instant it touches down.

Wheel landings can be called "two point" landings. The goal is to get the main wheels down in a controlled fashion, slow down, and then bring the tail down. They're typically flown at higher approach speeds and are often used in gusty or crosswind conditions because of the extra control and safety they afford.


I flew us down to South County, checked the windsock and setup for a landing on runway 14. I wanted to get one three point landing under my belt first, since it'd been a few weeks. I made a decent landing and hit the power so we could get right back into the pattern.

Dave flew the second pattern and landing, so I could see a wheel landing from the front seat. (I'd only seen one from the rear the time I flew in N7807S.) He kept the speed to roughly 80MPH on the approach and got the stick forward right away. He got the tail down and gave me the plane.

I flew the third landing but ended up going around when the approach just didn't feel right and it seemed like I was eating up lots of runway. Then on the fourth landing, I ended up following a Cessna that flew a wide-ass pattern slowly. I was about to touch down and he still hadn't exited the runway, so I had to go around again.

The fifth time was a charm. I got the plane onto the runway at a decent speed and lowered the tail a bit. But I made the mistake of applying full power with the tail a bit off the ground yet. That resulted in the plane trying to take a left turn. I hadn't anticipated that with a bit of right rudder, so I had to fight it until we took off. Dave kind of laughed and said, "I should have warned you about that."

It was getting a bit late, so we headed back to Reid Hillview where I was able to perform one final wheel landing. Even though I've only performed two wheel landings so far, I already feel fairly comfortable doing them. I expected them to be a bit trickier but they're rather straightforward.


I got the chance to take up N53893 today for some pattern work. Lance and Mark were also flying. That gave me someone else to watch when I wasn't flying. :-)

Anyway, I managed to get 10 landings in just under an hour despite the pattern being fairly busy. Since they were all "touch and go" landings, I didn't waste any time on the taxiway.

Flying two days in a row really helps. I feel like only 2 of my 10 landings didn't go quite as I would have liked. My worst landing today was better than my average landing on most other days. It was a good day.

I hope to get a few more hours of practice in before flying with Len again. If he's happy, I should be able to fly solo to a few nearby airports.

Posted by jzawodn at January 07, 2006 04:47 PM

Reader Comments
# anon said:

Don't you have a "flying blog" for this type of posting?

Give me a break.

on January 7, 2006 09:14 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Yeah, but I got sick of maintaining two blogs. I merged them. You could simply not read anything in my "flying" category.

Or you could unsubscribe. It's a free Internet (for the most part).

on January 7, 2006 09:23 PM
# John Jones said:

That's funny! Someone practically telling you what you should and shouldn't be posting? HAHA! Sheesh, whats the world coming to today.


on January 7, 2006 11:09 PM
# Robert Oschler said:

Make sure you're not building an airboat! :)

on January 8, 2006 06:16 AM
# Nelson said:

Congratulations on learning the wheel landings! Was the unexpected left turn the beginning of what they call a "ground loop"? Taildraggers always seemed spooky to me.

on January 8, 2006 08:40 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Had I not been paying attention, it could have developed into a high speed ground loop.

on January 8, 2006 09:19 AM
# Steve Foster said:

Isn't it the P-Factor; the decending prop on the right producing more thurst then the ascending blade?

My little 152 slides to the left a little.

on January 8, 2006 10:07 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

It is.

on January 8, 2006 10:36 AM
# Paul Pencikowski said:

Regarding nose-left-with-power, the following are commonly muttered... "P-Factor". "Torque".

UGH. Time for "myth busters". Not P-Factor nor Torque cause the nose to go left. Long ago Duke Fox exploded this myth, but it won't go away...

The reason the nose goes left when applying power at slow speeds is because the prop is causing a vortex spinning (as you look at the front of the plane) *counter* clockwise (ie the same direction the prop is spinning), and because of the slow speeds the vortex is still spinning as it hits the vertical tail (located mostly above the thrustline of the engine).

Now, think about it... The vortex hits only the left side of the vertical stabilizer, pushing the tail to the Left (looking at the front of the plane) or the right (looking forward from the back of the plane. If you are the pilot, the nose goes left.

Duke Fox did an experiment with an airplane that had a conventional vertical stab (nose left w/power) then on the *same airplane* moved the vertical stab BELOW the thrustline (guess what!) the nose now moved RIGHT with power (at slow speed).

At cruising speed the airflow behind the prop is aligned with the ambient air at approximately four (4) feet aft of the prop. So, no "induced yaw".

Northrop experience with contra-rotating props showed near-zero "induced yaw".

Oh yeah I'm prepared for a s**tstorm of protest on this one...

Paul P.
Northrop Grumman (retired)
US Navy (aviator, retired)
C-182, Colt owner
The above = "relevant" although I'm the first to admit "expert in nothing".

PS>> Regarding "no 2 airplanes fly alike" well certainly true-er the small-er the airplane. In a week I flew 30 flights on 3 Grob-103's and I swear they're different aircraft.

on January 10, 2006 07:58 PM
# Paul Pencikowski said:

Steve Foster said:
Isn't it the P-Factor; the decending prop on the right producing more thurst then the ascending blade?

My little 152 slides to the left a little.


Sorry, Can't resist!

Steve, when your 152 is on the runway, you must recall it is a TRI-GEAR and coupled with zero-airspeed (when you add power for takeoff) *there cannot possibly be P-factor*.

There would be *slight* p-factor on a taildragger if the tail were held on the ground during takeoff, but as I said above as speed builds the prop-vortex disappears rapidly.

Steve, regarding the merits of a 152, I had a Colt, then a C-182. HONEST I had way-more-fun in the Colt. Little airplanes rule :-)

on January 10, 2006 08:07 PM
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