I used to own a Tailorcraft and had the same problem after learning to fly on a 150c with it's huge barn door flaps. The secret is to get used to flying slower. Approaching at 70 mph is going to give you lots of time to get in trouble close to the ground.
Practise slow flight, I had an instructor who told me "any damn fool can fly an airplane fast, to fly it slow takes some skill"
A tailorcraft is like most ultralites, very easy to "unstall".
Speed brake? If you have a passenger, the best speed brake is as soon as you touch down, both open your doors to 90Degrees. Works like a charm.
VG's for Taylorcraft
For anyone that would like to fly slower and have better control I have a set of VG's for sale. Made by Candian Aero Manufacturing and
Originally Posted by raytoews
can only be used on owner maintenance or experimental , but will work on nicely on certified too just not approved as I understand.
Sure makes the 50mph approach much safer and controlable.
$450 + freight.
There's another, probably larger question here. Aircraft of that configuration and power loading tend to need quite a bit more room to take off than to land. If the runway is too short to land comfortably, how will you get out, much less with any margin?
gmatejcek, In most cases you would be correct. Most airplanes DO need more room to takeoff than to land. But this is a Taylorcraft. I regularly takeoff from a grass runway at gross weight after a ground run of only 300 to 400 feet, depending on the temperature that day. As an experienced Taylorcraft pilot, I can also quite easily land in that same distance. The problem with the Taylorcraft comes from pilots who are not familiar with it's unique attributes and landing techniques. The Taylorcraft wing is more of a laminar flow design than the common Clark Y found on Cubs and other popular small planes. Because of this, the Taylorcraft has developed a reputation of being a floater, or needing a long runway for landing. When, in fact, it is simply a matter of technique. As several have posted on this thread, some dual instruction with an instructor familiar with a Taylorcraft can show any competent pilot how to land in just a few hundred feet without flaps, spoilers, or speed brakes. The upside of this unique airfoil design is that the Taylorcraft is a few knots faster than most of the other 65 HP aircraft of it's vintage. Another quirk of the Taylorcraft's wing design is that the ailerons are located way out on the wing. The induced drag caused from large aileron inputs requires good rudder coordination skills. Perfect for teaching new pilots the use of the rudders. But don't try to pick up a dropped wing in a stall. That induce drag will put you into a spin in a blink of an eye. Overall the Taylorcraft will make a great pilot out of anyone willing to put the effort into learning all the little pearls of wisdom required to master the art of flying.
Originally Posted by gmatejcek
Stick and rudder skills
Rod Machado's commentary in the last AOPA struck a chord with me.
We recently built an Avid, one of the older ones with the small rudder.
The owner is a recently minted private pilot and I have been "trying" to teach him to fly it.
He has very little "stick &rudder" skill.
I was lucky to learn from an instructor in the early 70's who had those skills and have never found any taildragger more than normal challenge.
We are going back to basics, the way, I was taught, first to be able to drive the airplane at any speed and then to learn how the ailerons and rudder are both needed to fly an airplane.
As an ultralite instructor I have checked out numerous pilots in taildraggers, most once airborne fly like any other airplane, it is in the takeoff and especially the landing where the difference shows up.
What I do is spend an hour or two driving up and down the runway at increasing speed, left side, right side tail up and then set it down. That is when the fun begins!
You don't need to log an hour to check out in a taildragger, if you were not intending to fly.
Ray, I agree with some of what you wrote. I bought a tailwheel plane before I was checked out in it. My instructor would fly with me, then he'd go back to his normal weekday job flying a Falcon jet for the phone co. I spent several hours just taxing the plane around solo, so that I was pretty comfortable with the ground handling before I flew it solo. Some pilots just taxi pretty much straight ahead, but what helped me most was to do circles and semi-circles so that I knew how much rudder it took to get the nose to swing and then how much it took in the opposite way to stop the swing and go straight again. It does not have taliwheel steering.
I got my first tailwheel training in a J-3 CUB and I was fortunate to start in the back seat of the Cub, then the back seat of a Stearman, then the back seat of a T-6, so that I was able to get used to being able to handle the plane on the ground without being able to see directly over the nose. You can get tailwheel training in a Super Cub, or Citabria or Decathalon, but since you fly in the front seat you don't get used to having the nose block your forward view.
To this day, my sense of where the nose is pointing is pretty good, it is a strong point for me. When I make a bad landing , it is almost always related to pitch control, that is flaring too high or too low or coming in too fast, rather than any problem with yaw. I think that is because of the early practice on the ground.
One thing that can make your yaw and tailwheel skills rusty is to fly a completely different type of plane for a lot of hours. I use to fly a T-34 for 10 years, about 500 hours, and it is so easy to land that it was a contra trainer for other planes. You sit in the front seat of a 34, right on the centerline, and have great views out the front, you can pracitlcally see the nosewheel touch the ground,and of course it handles well and can land slow. I'd lose some of my tailwheel and yaw skills and have to reorient the next time I flew a tailwheel plane.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 05-06-2012 at 12:24 PM.
"T"craft seed control!!!!
I had the same problem you did when I first started flying a Taylorcraft. When you flair a "T" the wing takes a new bite (angle of attack) and starts flying again if you don't have your speed exactly right in the flair. Get that figured out and you will be OK. If the wind is gusty do a wheel landing so you can nail it on.
Hope this helps.
The best speed brake I could find for my '46 BC12D was to bring along a passenger. When you get the mains down, open both doors to 90 degrees! Takes some practice, but effective.
Wow, dunno how I missed this thread at first. I used to own a '41 T-Craft, hundreds of hours in it. Yes, they float. No, they don't need any modifications.
As others have pointed out, speed control on final is critical. I looked at it as starting my flare before even getting to the runway threshold, so that by the time you get to your intended touchdown point you've dissipated enough energy to settle down.
Use a slip for glide angle control. The T-Craft has lots of rudder and you can really stand it up on a wingtip and drop like a rock.
In cross or gusty winds I always used a wheel landing.
Another thing that worked for me is to always leave the elevator trim set for cruise (something I like to do in any plane where the stick force isn't too heavy). This way you have a good feel for the aircraft's speed/AOA just from the stick forces.