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Thread: Tailwheel Trainers

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Tailwheel Trainers

    Hi!

    I'm planning on starting my flight lessons this spring, not long after I get my Sonex inspected. Yup, I'll have an airplane ready to fly, but won't be able to fly it. Since it's a taildragger, I plan to take all, or nearly all of my lessons in taildraggers to get my Sport Pilot ticket. I found out today that Falcon insurance would want at least 25 hours of taildragger time before insuring me in my plane, which would work out just fine. So below is my short list of airplanes, instructors, and airports.

    PA11
    This plane is owned by a father/son CFI team that operates out of their own grass strip, 20 miles north of me. They come fairly well recommended. I'll find out more later, but at one point, the plane had no electrical system. I know that's permissible, but it wouldn't allow me to get any radio training or complete my sport pilot in it. Hopefully it'll have had that added by now. Otherwise it may be good for the first few hours only.

    C150 Texas TD
    This is at the local towered airport, 7 miles away, run by a flight school. I've had a couple people recommend the CFI who would teach in this. The 150 is not an LSA, so I'd have to find one to solo and take my check ride in.

    Luscombe 8A-F
    This is at a non-towered airport 30 miles south of me. The CFI is the owner of what I think is a one-man flight school and rental service.

    Thoughts
    I'm gonna assume the Cub has a radio, otherwise it's a not a contender. With a radio in the Cub, the 150 goes to the bottom of this list, cuz I'd have to find an LSA and another CFI to finish the Sport Pilot program. And the airport is towered, so I'd think that might cut down on how fast I'd be able to run through the pattern. Especially compared to the non-towered airport to the south and grass strip to the north.

    My plan is to meet with the CFI's for the PA11 and Luscombe. As long as they aren't Yankee fans, I'll talk things over with them and maybe take an intro flight before negotiating terms.

    I'll appreciate your feedback.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  2. #2

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    Jul 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by messydeer View Post
    I'm gonna assume the Cub has a radio, otherwise it's a not a contender. With a radio in the Cub, the 150 goes to the bottom of this lis

    What about using a handheld radio?

  3. #3
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    Lots of non-electrical system aircraft use radios, and they are very easily added. A handheld radio mounted inside the airplane with coax cable to an external whip antennae works as well as any other setup as long as you have a shielded ignition harness. Mount an intercom in the plane so you can hear the radio through your headset and also talk to your passengers, or first, your instructor. Everything runs on batteries. If the spark plugs don't have a shielded harness, reception and transmission quality will be diminished, but it will still work. Lack of existing radio should not be a determining factor in the plane you buy.

  4. #4

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    "Radio training" is a very small part of learning to fly. What radio did Lindberg talk on when he went to Paris? You can learn what to say and hear on the radio very easily, get a av band scanner or small handheld and listen to nearby tower and pilots. Just be logical, tell whoever you call your type and N number, where you are, and what you want to do( ie taxi, land, etc.), and expect some logic in the reply. It can also help to get a short tape from King schools, etc on radio use. It is not a big deal.
    You can easily use a handheld, (Sportys sells a good one) in a Cub if there is an external antanea.

    I'd much rather learn in the Cub than any C-150, I have not flown a Luscomb. And you will be learning to actually fly , even if you can't get the Oprah show on your glass panel.By the way, the Cub can do some basic acro too, when and if you get to that point.
    The quality of the instructor is the big thing and how he treats you. Are you just a $ sign to him or does he really care if you learn to fly?

    Good luck, go do it and enjoy it.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 02-24-2012 at 12:14 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    One of the advantages of the Sport Pilot certificate is that no radio training is required. You will be better off to learn to fly first. Get the sport pilot certificate first then go for the radio endorsement. You will get more flight experiance, T.O. and Landings or air work, per hour at the uncontroled field. The exception would be if you expect to base your craft at a high trafic controled field. Even then that training can be accomplished after the Sport Pilot certificate and the airplane does not need to be a Light Sport. That would be a good opertunity to expand your horrizon by getting some time in the "Heavy Metal". Have fun and be safe. All your options listed are reasonable.

  6. #6

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    Feb 2012
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    Why cant you use your plane you built to train in once its certified? is there some regulation against it? If not, that would be your best bet because you get to learn in what you fly, not have to re-adequate your self to your plane once you get your license.

  7. #7
    RetroAcro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rturiak View Post
    Why cant you use your plane you built to train in once its certified? is there some regulation against it? If not, that would be your best bet because you get to learn in what you fly, not have to re-adequate your self to your plane once you get your license.
    Perfectly fine to receive flight instruction and learn to fly in your own experimental, but the 40 hour Phase 1 time would need to be flown off before the airplane can legally carry a second occupant (CFI). You'll never convince the FAA that a Sonex requires a "crewmember". :-) Since the builder would not be qualified to fly off the Phase 1 time, he would have to find someone else willing to do it, or pay someone. 40 hrs is a good chunk of time. That's probably the biggest ostacle, but it could be done. He'd also need to find a CFI willing to work with him in the Sonex, which is a fairly uncommon airplane, even though their handling is very straightforward. Another question would be how suitable the Sonex would be for primary flight training. I can't comment much about that. But trainers tend to take some abuse, and some folks may want to get past that stage in an airplane they don't have so much sweat equity in.
    Last edited by RetroAcro; 02-24-2012 at 02:22 PM.

  8. #8

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    Oct 2011
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    Bellingham, WA
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    Thanks for the input, guys :-)

    I had originally built my plane with a handheld and external antenna. It worked fine, but I boogered up the used intercom, so decided to plunk down some change and get a brand new com radio with integral intercom. Even the stub portable antenna would prolly work fine. So I can see ,as has been pointed out, that I shouldn't worry about the radio part.

    Yes, my Sonex needs to be soloed for 40 hours. I plan to have others do this for me. Even if it's ready for dual (after 40 hours), I wouldn't go up in it as a student pilot until I've gotten my hard landings and ground loops out of my system. I'm guessing 15 hours or so in a rental, then possibly the rest in the Sonex.
    Last edited by messydeer; 02-24-2012 at 09:16 PM.

  9. #9

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    Nov 2011
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    Luscombe 8F isn't LSA. Something to consider.Dave

  10. #10

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    Yes, but the CFI said it was definitely LSA. He called it an 8A-F. But you make a good point, namely that I otta make sure it is an LSA.

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