I flew a tailwheel airplane yesterday!

I FINALLY found a tailwheel instructor. They’re few and far between these days. And even better, he teaches in a J-3 Piper Cub! I’ve always wanted to fly one of those.

This was a very different animal than the nosewheel planes I’m used to. I was in the front seat, which is set quite far forward and is not adjustable. I’m not a big guy, and I found it cramped. My knees were up near my chest. Felt like I was sitting in a go-cart.

It was very disconcerting to not be able to see where I was going while on the ground. I knew about doing S-turns while taxiing, but I kept getting this fear that I might chew up some unseen plane/person on the taxiway with the prop.

Takeoff’s are amazing in one of these things! There was a pretty good headwind, and bystanders later told me we came unstuck at under 200 feet. It flies like any other plane, I guess. But landing it is something else entirely.

That first touchdown was the most “exciting” I’ve experienced since I first had an instructor shut down the left engine in a twin. We did a few full stall landings, then some wheel landings. The instructor claimed to not be touching the controls and said I was doing well, but for a lot of the time I felt like a passenger. At one point I remarked to him, “It’s amazing that a plane this slow can get ahead of you so fast.”

It felt like I was all over the runway. When I finally did execute a nice full stall landing I had about two seconds to feel good about it. Then a gust started picking up the right wing and the plane began to ground loop. The instructor did something with the stick and brakes to check it. I had no idea what to do.

Can’t wait to do some more of this. I’m a CFI myself, and it’s good to go back to the beginning again so one doesn’t forget how new student pilots feel.

Any taildragger folks here that would care to share their experiences or advice?

I’m not a pilot, but I do occasionally ride around with my cousin in his Socata Trinidad – not a taildragger, I just meant to indicate I have some idea of the jollies inherent in flying around in a very small airplane. It sounds like you had a very keen day.

Does anybody manufacture tail-draggers these days? I seem to remember that the original prototype of the ME-262 was such.

Oh yeah. They are alive and well.

I fly a 150HP Super Cub myself, and manage to occasionally get some time in a DHC-2 Beaver. Beaver is down for an AD right now, but hopefully not for long.

The Cub is a refreshing break from the DA-40 and Piper Arrow I normally fly. Given a choice between a plane with a tailwheel and one with dual 430’s, I’ll take the tailwheel anyday.

Congratulations, Mach Tuck! I got a ride in a J-3 Cub when I was about 13. The pilot and his g/f were stranded by the high winds in the Mojave Desert, and dad took them in. I got the ride after the winds died down.

It’s been a while since I’ve been flying. Just never seemed to have time. Now I have loads of time; but being unemployed, I need to watch the funds. ($190/hour for a helicopter is a rather sizeable lump of simoleons.)

Ringo: I don’t know if Piper is still making the Super Cub that Berkut mentions (I don’t know if they’re not making them either), but Maule and Aviat are alive and well.

Oh, I am so jealous!!!

The fact that finances have temporarially grounded me is not helping…

Cub Crafters makes new Super Cubs.

There are also many tailwheel kit aircraft for sale.

Swift GC-1A (85 HP), Swift GC-1B (145 HP ) I owned the two Swifts in the late 60’s, Champ, Chief, T-craft, Cub, Stinson 108, Stinson 10A, Cessna 120, 140, 170, 180, 185, AT-6 Texan, Beech-18, Pitts S2B-260HP, Pt-22 (Kinner radial 165 HP), Otter (once) Bever (once) as PIC so I do not claim to be checked out, and maybe a few more, would have to go through the log books.

Point is that tailwheeel time is Great and makes a person a much better pilot of aircraft when they are on the ground. Like the OP said, in the air it is all the same but …

Glad you are getting the chance to learn it and I recomend most pilots should.

Way to go…