Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Tailwheel Endorsement Information

The average student completes a tailwheel endorsement in 8-10 hours with approximately 25 to 50 circuits.  Skills that are taught include:
  • Airwork:  slow flight, stalls, steep turns.
  • Wheel Landings:  Wheel landings are those which touchdown on the mains first.  These kind of landings give great visibility and good crosswind control.  The drawback is the higher speed upon landing and use up more available runway.  They also require a very shallow sink rate to the runway.  Some aircraft require a forward stick stab to keep it glued on touchdown.  Aft elevator on touchdown will cause an immediate go-around.  Also practiced is a go-around wheel landing.
  • Tailwheel Landings (3 point):  Tailwheel landings or 3 point landings are full stall landings which are very useful for grass or short runways. 
  • Normal, Crosswind, and Shortfield experience.  Crosswind technique is extremely important for tailwheel aircraft because the aircraft needs every bit of your attention and can get out of your skill range easily.
  • Grass strips:  this is the best part of tailwheel training, the getting into and out of short grass strips.
  • Taxi skills.  Regular taxi:  stick always back.  Taxiing into a headwind: "climb into" the headwind.  It means stick back, left aileron for a left quartering headwind, right aileron for a right quartering headwind.  Taxiing downwind: "dive away from the wind.  Stick forward in a strong downwind condition and right aileron for a left quartering tailwind or left aileron for a right quartering tailwind
  • Groundloop (the intended kind, not the uncontrolled type)
  • Takeoff skills: stick forward to bring the tail up as soon as possible, good rudder control to prevent weathervaning.  Effects of aft CG (reduced moment arm).
  • Slips to landing.
  • Spin entry and recovery.
Why should you invest the time and effort to get a tailwheel endorsement?
  • It really improves your stick and rudder skills.
  • It really improves your landing and pattern work.
  • Your crosswind technique improves dramatically.
  • Grass strips!
  • Cheap to buy, cheap to own, cheap to operate.
  • No checkride, just 8-10 hours of a whole lot of fun.

Example Syllabus

Session 1

Ground Training

  • POH & Limitations
  • Weight and balance
  • Takeoff and landing techniques
  • Emergencies and malfunctions
  • Preflight
  • Stalls
  • FAR review
Flight Training
  • Starting procedures
  • Taxi & flight control position
  • Normal takeoff
  • Normal climb
  • Coordination exercises
  • Slow flight, stalls, & steep turns
  • Emergency procedures
  • Pattern work
  • Normal landings (power off approach to a full stop)

Session 2

Ground Training
  • Directional control
  • Gyroscopic precession
  • Left turning tendencies
  • Takeoff and landing techniques
Flight Training
  • Normal (3-point) takeoff and full-stop landing
  • Bounce recoveries
  • Slips
  • Pattern Work
  • Normal (3-point) landing to a full stop

Session 3

Ground Training

  • Stalls 
  • Spins, spin entries and recoveries
  • Short field takeoffs and landings
  • Soft field takeoffs and landings
  • Grass field landings
  • Crosswind takeoffs and landings
  • Touch-and-goes

Flight Training
  • Grass landing and takeoff practice
  • Crosswind landing (3-point) full stop
Session 4

Ground Training
  • Aircraft systems
  • Weight and balance
  • Performance problems
  • Fuel consumption
  • Wheel Landings
Flight Training
  • Normal takeoff and landing
  • Touch & go
  • Crosswind takeoff and landing to a full stop
  • Short field takeoff and landing
  • Soft field takeoff and landing
  • Wheel landings to a full stop

Special Emphasis Areas

  • Proper radio phraseology
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Proper patterns, entries, departures.
  • Situational Awareness

Pilot Requirements

  • Sport or Private Pilot Certificate.
  • No FAA written test.
  • Medical: None


PIC in a tailwheel airplane: § 61.31(i)
I certify that (First name, MI, Last name), (pilot certificate), (certificate number), has received the required
training of § 61.31(i) in a (make and model of tailwheel airplane). I have determined that he/she is proficient
in the operation of a tailwheel airplane.   CFI Signature [date] 987654321CFI Exp. 12-31-00


Taildragger Checkout
Wheel Landings
Flight Reviews - BFR


8E (1946)
8F (1949)
8A (1939)
Horsepower 85
Top Speed, kts 91
Cruise Speed, kts 83
Stall Speed (dirty), kts
Gross Weight, lbs
Empty Weight, lbs
Fuel Capacity, US Gals
Range, NM
Takeoff  Ground Roll 850
Takeoff  Over 50 ft obstacle 1850
Landing  Ground Roll 450
Landing  Over 50 ft obstacle 1540
Rate Of Climb, FPM
Service Ceiling 15500 16000

Piper Cub

Horsepower, Continental A-65 65
Top Speed, kts 92
Cruise Speed, kts 82
Stall Speed (landing), kts
Gross Weight, lbs
Empty Weight, lbs
Useful Load, lbs
Fuel Capacity, US Gals
Payload, full fuel
210 lbs
20 lbs
Range, NM at 4gal/hr
Takeoff  Ground Roll 600
Rate Of Climb, FPM
Service Ceiling 12000
Other Information:
Overall length 23' 3"   Overall height 6' 8"
Wingspan 35' 3"   Wing cord 63"
Total wing area 178 sq. ft.
75 horsepower engine conversion common, edo floats, and skies.

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