I guess it is relative. The Maule I was in could not land with a crosswind of about 15kt, but it was a narrow strip (maybe 15m) on top of a hill. The pilot tried a few times but kept going off to one side and then diverted. Not much later the plane got written off by another pilot.
Where I am based, the taildragger pilots much prefer the wide grass runway, and are almost nonexistent in 15kt+ crosswinds. They have always said to me that the crosswind capability is the reason why. You have little steering authority when moving slowly but you can’t jump on the brakes otherwise it might tip over.
OTOH the movie posted above shows a probably exceptional pilot who does this all day long…
Obviously I know nothing about taildraggers from own experience The impression I get is that to fly one well you need a lot more skill than with a normal plane like mine.
This beautiful old timer is more typical – antique brakes, small fin/rudder, tarmac (less forgiving).
Light GA tailwheel aircraft don’t require superior skills (some of us are proof of this statement), just a bit more patience and care while taxiing, and the basic skill of landing and keeping the aircraft straight.
The larger tailwheel types (Cessna 195, Harvard, Warbirds), historic types and some where the undercarriage was only for occasional use (Grumman Goose), do require good knowledge of their foibles.
The impression I get is that to fly one well you need a lot more skill than with a normal plane like mine.
Thats the impression we like to give as tailwheel men alright! Reality is some are almost idiot proof, and some have very quirky habits. The Cessna 180K I used to own (and miss dearly) could fly on days when it would be unsafe to open the hangar doors. You see RV’s out in some really stonking winds, so in that regard there are very capable and practical. I’ve flown with a real Alaskan bush pilot and his family owned Pen Air flying Grumman Gooses. He has landed in winds gusting in excess of 70kts in the Goose, but then again he is the worlds leading authority on their operation and maintenance.
The MX7 is a very capable airplane and everyone who has them seems to love what they can do. There is a 180K here in Ireland that flies with a full garmin stack in as rough IMC days as you would ever dare go out in. The owner took a weekend trip to Tangier and yet came home to land in his garden. The tailwheel life :-)
Sparing William’s blushes his book on all of Ireland’s airports, airfields and farm strips (including a couple of secret ones), with photos and notes has to be one of the most encyclopaedic and entertaining airport guides ever written. In his 180 (yes William once you own one you don’t sell them), he was truly in the spirit of one of Laurence Sterne’s best characters.
yes William once you own one you don’t sell them
Its like the the girl that got away. Haunts you forever! Going to jump in the Pacer here and make Cessna Skywagon noises :-(