We are proud to announce that you are now able to earn your tailwheel endorsement with us in our ACA Super Decathlon.
Taildraggers harken back to an earlier era of aviation when fabric and wood were the dominate materials used to make airplanes. It wasn’t until Cessna announced their tricycle gear (marketed as “Land-o-Matic”) equipped 172 in the 1950’s that taildraggers began to be outnumbered by “nose draggers.” The two largest suppliers of piston powered aircraft, Cessna and Piper, both quietly ceased production of the taildraggers that had sustained their businesses and the entire general aviation community in favor of tricycle gear airplanes.
Since then, tailwheel airplanes have become somewhat of a superlative in aviation. They still dominate niche areas of aviation; backcountry and STOL flying, aerobatics and certainly vintage aircraft but they are rarely found in primary training environments.
So, why learn how to fly a tailwheel?
- It refines your skills: taildraggers are not more difficult to fly and land, but they are less tolerant of mistakes. You will become more skilled at handling the airplane when it matters most; takeoff and landing.
- You will “see” more: much of your tailwheel training will focus on perfecting your landings. Things like drift and yaw are much more important to manage in a tailwheel airplane. With practice your ability to sense these two aspects of a landing is going to increase more than you may think possible.
- These skills carry over: everything you learn in a tailwheel airplane will make your regular flying better. You’ll become smoother, more confident and capable regardless of which airplane you are flying.
- It opens up a world of airplanes to you: if you’ve ever wanted to explore aerobatics, STOL flying, vintage or warbird aircraft you need to have tailwheel experience.
- IT IS FUN – Maybe the most important reason to fly tailwheel airplanes. Just like you’ll never forget your first ever solo, you’ll never forget your first wheel landing.
Flying an airplane is so much more than plotting routes on a sectional chart, studying for exams, or calculating a weight and balance. Strip all of that away and you are left with the challenge of perfecting minute, mechanical inputs to an unfeeling machine that only asks that you be thoughtful, deliberate, and correct. When that happens, when the conversation between you and that machine is in heightened and in harmony, the act of flying takes on a new meaning. There is no better way to experience this than by learning how to fly a tailwheel airplane.