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  #1  
Old 05-28-2007, 12:06 PM
abuura abuura is offline
 
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Default RV-7 landings

I am a mostly nosedragger CFI with 15 landings in my RV-7 and 122 tailwheel landings total. I have only executed 3-point landings in my 180hp, CS RV-7 to date, with generally very good results. The "generally" qualifier does not apply to my last two landings on a 100ft wide, 3702ft long asphalt runway. On the next to last landing I came it at around 70KIAS over the threshold in a light crosswind, and after two bounces during which the plane sidestepped to the left edge of the runway, I went around. The last landing was still a bouncer, but I was able to stay at the center of the runway, so I just held the stick back and let it settle down. After cleaning out my underwear, I realized that this experience has put a dent in my self-confidence, and I am exploring ways to eliminate/reduce the likelihood of a similar event happening again.
I have read most of the postings related to 3-point/wheel/hybrid landings in the RV-7, 8 and other RVs. I want to explore wheel landings because it seems to me a wheel landing is very similar to a normal nosewheel airplane's landing, except that with the former you nudge the stick forward until the tailwheel settles, while in the latter you nudge the stick backward until the nosewheel settles. The springiness of the RV-7's mains should apply to the 7 and 7a equally, so the first part of an RV7a landing should be very similar to what one would expect with 7; actions in the event of a bounce would also seem to be similar for both versions - maintain/return to the original landing attitude, add a little power as necessary. I understand that part two of the landing is very different for these airplanes, but if "wheel landings" are the only option for a 7a pilot, why would it be a less desirable option for a 7 pilot?
One factor I did not see in the discussion about 3-point versus wheel landings, is that in a bounce, even a 6'3" pilot like me who can see the end of the runway over the nose when all three wheels are down loses sight of the runway and with it lateral reference. It's only when the snout comes back down that I discover my new position relative the centerline; in a cross wind that can be disquieting. Conversely, in a wheel or modified wheel landing attitude described by some pilots, the pilot should retain visual reference to the horizon. Isn't that essential in a plane that is prone to bouncing?
I would appreciate comments about my musings from more experienced RV7 pilots or pilots with lots of tailwheel time.
Thanks,
David
RV7, N98DA, flying
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2007, 12:57 PM
John Clark's Avatar
John Clark John Clark is offline
 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by abuura
One factor I did not see in the discussion about 3-point versus wheel landings, is that in a bounce, even a 6'3" pilot like me who can see the end of the runway over the nose when all three wheels are down loses sight of the runway and with it lateral reference. It's only when the snout comes back down that I discover my new position relative the centerline; in a cross wind that can be disquieting. Conversely, in a wheel or modified wheel landing attitude described by some pilots, the pilot should retain visual reference to the horizon. Isn't that essential in a plane that is prone to bouncing?
I would appreciate comments about my musings from more experienced RV7 pilots or pilots with lots of tailwheel time.
Thanks,
David
RV7, N98DA, flying
David,
In my experience teaching landings, nose or tail dragger, looking over the nose can actually be a problem. When I have a student that "can't find the ground," I use a little trick to get them to use their peripheral vision to determine height and sideways movement. The human brain is very good at this, it just takes some training. This is also very helpful for anyone wanting to fly a "classic" tail dragger. There is no forward view from the back seat of a Stearman or Waco once the tail starts down.

Also, you used the term "nudge" regarding the forward stick movment on touchdown in a wheel landing. A matter of degree, but very litttle movement is needed. My technique is to simply fly the approach with a very slight nose down trim. When the mains touch just release the back pressure. Forward movment on the stick is counter intuitive, but it needs to be done to make the airplane stay on the runway. With practice you will find that even with a small bounce, a little forward pressure will cause the airplane to land and stay put.

John Clark ATP CFI
RV8 N18U "Sunshine"
KSBA
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2007, 01:01 PM
Harvey L. Sorensen Harvey L. Sorensen is offline
 
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Posts: 164
Default wheel landings

One quick note. When wheel landing a tail wheel plane you do not pull the stick back upon the touch down of the mains as that will likely bring the aircraft back into the air at a slow speed and then the next landing might be a full stall
Best to keep the tail up as long as you can, at least in normal conditions.
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  #4  
Old 05-28-2007, 01:05 PM
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RV8iator RV8iator is offline
 
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Default Wheel landings are fun

Wheel landings are a great way to keep the visibility up and some would say you have more control of the airplane since it is still at flying speed. The biggest thing is making sure you stay on the ground which requires releasing backpressure on the stick just as you touch. Some people say it requires a slight push, but it's just semantics I think. Just decrease AOA enough to keep it on the ground. The biggie here is to not push too much. Also, until you are comfortable with it, watch coming on the brakes too strong while the tail is up.

I fly an 8 so can't talk about the 7. When I flew with Alex D. getting checked out I flew his 6 from the right seat and we did all 3 point landings. The 6 does that really well. The 8 doesn't want to get the tail all the way down so real 3 pointers are not easily accomplished.

As for the visibility over the nose and losing sight of the runway, you have to use your peripheral vision and maintain directional control by watching the sides of the runway. It's something you'll get used to the more tailwheel time you get. In a bunch of conventional gear airplanes it's not an option, it's the only way to see. I've flown biplanes where you have to slip down final to keep the runway in sight and then in the flare straighten the plane out and watch the sides of the runway.
Ask 10 conventional gear pilots which is better and you'll likely get 11 different answers. Lot's of posts about that.

Enjoy your plane and figure out what works bet for each condition.
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RV 8, N8JL, 2700+ hours

VAF #818
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PIF 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

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  #5  
Old 05-28-2007, 01:14 PM
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gmcjetpilot gmcjetpilot is offline
 
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Default What about stick over into wind (full at some-point)

The only way to land in any cross wind, light or strong is in side slip. You got to think not only elevator but ailerons and rudder. The BIG thing that got my attention was loss of directional or lateral control. The bounce is one thing but bouncing and going off the side of the runway is another.

The following dissertation will be mostly about X-wind landing, but there is some stuff about "the bounce" or my theory, the X-wind and bouncing are interrelated.

The reason you are drifting and skidding down wind and bouncing is the x-wind is getting under the wing and lifting it. With out horizontal component of lift (ie Bank) you'll drift and bounce. You have no horizontal component of lift when you have both mains rolling on the ground. The only way to keep that counter X-Wind component of lift is to roll out in a bank, on one up-wind wheel. This takes aileron and more aileron as you slow down. With both mains on the ground, side load from the X-wind tends to make the mains track down wind. YOU MUST KEEP THE BANK GOING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, EVEN ON ROLL OUT.

Elevator will not keep you going straight. You must use cross control, aileron into the wind and and opposite rudder to keep from weather vanning into the wind. Bank into the wind and hold that upwind wheel DOWN with aileron and down wind up as long as possible during the roll-out, while using rudder for directional control/yaw. If you bounce and relax the aileron, you'll drift.

The principles are all the same tail dragger or trike. If you are landing on more than one gear than you don't have enough horizontal component of lift to counter the cross wind, this applies even after the first wheel touches down. If you relax the stick level/no bank you have screwed yourself right there, the upwind wing lifts. Don't be afraid to hold stick into the wind and keep it there after landing and putting more in, to the stops, as needed.

If the wind is great and now the down wind wheel is also on the ground (keeping it off as long as possible) than you may need to drag the wind brake. I doubt the wind was that strong. Elevator control is not trivial but its only half of the story.


Here is the FAA put on X-C landings (notice the two views after landing the aileron is still into the wind and the down wind wheel is OFF THE RUNWAY! Also notice in the how not to do it sequence, x-wind can cause the plane to fly again, at least one wing.)



All your reasons for bounce, springiness of mains, how tall you are and sight picture may be small factors. In short ON SPEED (not too fast or too slow) and min sink at touch down is what is need. I am not a big fan of pushing the stick forward, but what you did good by holding the stick back and waiting. STILL DIRECTIONAL CONTROL WAS LOST. I think the x-wind distracted you a little from your flare. It's hard to make a good landing when you are headed towards the weeds.


RV's are easy to land but do need the right power and speed, especially in a cross wind. Bad habits that got you by in a trike, will not work in taildragger, which goes where you point it. The Trike kind of straightens it self out.

In general in X-Wind (tail dragger or trick) you land a little faster and fly or wheel it on. You make wheel landings because you have more control and you want to STICK that (one) up-wind main wheel DOWN on the deck.

For inspirations: This is obviously Bob Hoover and you are not Bob Hoover and neither am I. We may never be as good as him, but, for inspiration, albeit exaggerated for show, this is what a GOOD cross wind landing should look like (notice the dust blowing down wind - hint, hint):



Bottom line is you are not using all the controls to counter the cross wind, rudder and aileron. Pilots (people in general) are just not comfortable landing and rolling out while "leaning over". You are leaning over in a slip, so its a little uncomfortable if your mind always wants to see that flat/level "sight picture" on all landings.
PRACTICE: I had my students fly over the runway (with a strong cross wind) low, but not land, just a level low pass, in a full side slip. I would have them play with the aileron and rudder so they tracked the runway and kept the longitudinal axis of the plane aligned in direction of flight (side slip). They got use to that leaning over attitude. If possible I would have them fly down the runway in the opposite direction to exercise both left and right cross wind control. We would do this over and over until they got it right but with out landing.

The next step was a landing or touch and go, but maintaining the slip the whole time. I'd set-up them up making a low pass or approach again, but I'd slowly pull the throttle back on them and tell them to hold it off. I might even help a little with elevator to flare and have them land. They are concentrating so much on aileron and rudder they can't always handle the elevator and flair at the same time, at first. (This is the problem with many pilots, this coordinate cross-control + flare that uses all three control axis at the same time.) You work so much (mentally) on elevator input with a wheel landing your brain may forget about aileron and rudder or vise verse (aka BOUNCE).

ROLL OUT: Once we touched down I would instruct them to hold the rudder and aileron position. I tell them to keep a little power in or I'd set it. This gave us a long roll out and speed to keep the down wind wing up as we rolled down the runway. This one wheel roll out would either result in a landing as I pulled the power back for them or a go around as I added power. If I pulled the power back, the down wind wheel was held up, until full aileron was reached and it touched down as we slowed. (Mistake many pilots make is they don't use full control deflection when needed.) Once the second main touched down, at this point you're going 20-30 mph ground speed max. The plane is controllable with rudder or if needed a little diff brake at that slow speed.

GO AROUND: After touch down and roll out on one wheel per above, I might just add power and take off doing a touch and go, while maintaining the SLIP the whole time. This is how you take off as well as land, a FWD SLIP. PRACTICE YOUR SLIPS
(Note: review slipping. SIDE SLIP, is where you are banked but longitudinal axis is aligned in direction of flight (aka, the side stays to the side). FORWARD SLIP: Forward slip, is where the side of the plane is forward or pointed in direction of flight, aka flying sideways and why its called a forward slip. Slips require CROSS CONTROL so many pilots are just out of practice or never learned them properly in the first place.)

All X-wind technique applies to trikes as well, but they are more forgiving due to less tendency of "weather vanning". You have more fuselage behind the mains with a tail dragger and so it wants to turn you into the wind more.

Give me your log book and I'll give you 0.20 hours of ground.
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Raleigh, NC Area
RV-4, RV-7, ATP, CFII, MEI, 737/757/767

Last edited by gmcjetpilot : 05-28-2007 at 03:16 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2007, 01:37 PM
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bsacks05 bsacks05 is offline
 
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I understand exactly how you feel. What helped me is practicing in the early evenings when temps and winds are low. I like to stay in the pattern and do 5 or 6 touch and goes at least once a week. For me, it was all about getting to know the plane and "bonding" with it. After almost 100hrs I feel like much more of a pilot than a passenger now.
The landing portion of flying my -9 was/is the most difficult but satisfying part to learn.
Here's what works for me:
I like to be at 75-80 mph on short final and avoid flaring until I am no more than a couple feet above the runway. The extra speed gives me time to ease down closer as speed bleeds off. Nose down pitch trim also helps to give a feel of resistance through the stick as you give back pressure.
I do not look to the end of the runway. My sight is to the left of the cowl and down.
When I am as low as I want to be, I start easing the tail down with more back pressure so as to land in a tail low wheel landing attitude. I always wheel land my -9 the only variable is how low I want the tail to be. If it is a short grass strip I will almost be in a three point attitude when I land.
My goal is to kiss the runway then add in a little forward pressure to keep it down. If you drop in too hard then you are going back up. In that case, a little throttle helps me settle back down, or, I go around again. You cannot hesitate or be indecisive in this situation.
Lots of practice worked for me....and patience. The -9 wing keeps flying and won't stop until it is good and ready.
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Hatz CB-1 - Fabric covering with Polyfiber.
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2007, 02:37 PM
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John Clark John Clark is offline
 
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Default "Many times cross controlled, in a coordinated way"

George,
Great graphic!

John Clark ATP CFI
RV8 N18U "Sunshine"
KSBA
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  #8  
Old 05-28-2007, 05:22 PM
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N908RV N908RV is offline
 
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Default Too Slow!

David,

George's graphic says it all - particularly about x-wind. Don't worry you will get there. Tailwheels aren't easy and take some practice. Most folks pick up very bad habits with nosewheel aircraft and have to unlearn all that with a TW. Particularly side loading. The nosewheel will straighten out that, even though it is bad for the gear, but the TW aircraft will want to come around.

But the one item that I didn't see mentioned or maybe missed was about your speed. You mentioned:

"On the next to last landing I came it at around 70KIAS over the threshold in a light crosswind"


IMHO, I think you are too slow and that increases your sink rate and makes it harder to land. 70KIAS is OK at 6" and in the flare, but not over the fence. You are flying a hotter wing than you might be used to with C-172's etc. I would recommend 80 knots on final all the way down to the numbers and you can bleed it off from there.

Keep it up, you'll do fine. Just takes time and practice.

Cheers,

Rob
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EAA Tech Counselor
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RV-8, QB completed, flown 750hrs and sold
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2007, 06:39 PM
abuura abuura is offline
 
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Thanks all for the inputs. With my previous Archer III, I learned to gradually turn the control wheel completely upwind as the plane slowed down in order to keep it on the ground, so I am in that mode. But, George is right, when you are learning (and in the middle of a bounce) it's hard to put together all the things you need to do -- and maintain a sideslip while the stick is jammed into your crotch. I'll take to heart keeping an eye down and to the side rather than craning my neck to see over the snout, setting a slight down trim, and wheel landing at a slightly higher speed. By the way, I said "around 70KIAS" advisedly, a confession to the (unacceptable) fact that I am not sure exactly how fast I was going at the time.
David
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RV7, N98DA, TMX-O360, CS, slider
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2007, 06:49 PM
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n5lp n5lp is offline
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[quote=abuura...By the way, I said "around 70KIAS" advisedly, a confession to the (unacceptable) fact that I am not sure exactly how fast I was going at the time.
David[/QUOTE]

David, like other things RV there are many different feelings about approach speed as indeed there are different pitot static systems. I certainly would not consider 70 KIAS too slow during any aspect of the approach for any RV I have flown. I fly my fixed pitch RV-6 at 65 knots approach speed normally and around 60 for short field. One friend's constant speed RV-6 likes it at 70 knots and another likes it at 65 knots with slower on short final. I doubt if speed is the problem.
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