On take off in the Maule I tend to be rather firm with forward yoke to "force" the tail up right after i put the power in, when flying a friends 235hp Maule the tail comes up itself due to the extra power and heavier engine out front, Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
I hold the stick back in the initial roll on the Chipmunk to keep it tracking straight, then relax the back pressure, then ease the stick gently forwards when it feels 'right'. Usually the tail immediately starts to rise, but if it doesn't, or feels 'sluggish' to rise, I let the stick remain neutral while we gain a bit more speed, then ease it forward again whereupon the tail will rise readily and we can accelerate in the tail-up configuration.
It doesn't feel 'right' to sit there with the stick hard forward waiting for enough airspeed to lift the tail.
On our Jodel DR1050, with the correct trim setting, and no rear passenger, I just open the throttle. After the tail comes up, the aircraft soon starts to float, and a very gentle back pressure lifts off into the climb.
When I fly a Cessna 180/185, I fly them as VinceC has described. I found that it worked for me on the Tiger Moth, and Citabrias too. The taildragger I own is rather different, as the engine is up top, and the main wheels are well ahead of the C of G. Nosing over is very difficult to do, and generally harmless if you manage to. Therefore, I start every takeoff in the Teal with the stick full forward, and hold it there, until the tail is well up, then fly it like any other plane. Similarly, after touchdown, I hold the tail wheel off with full forward stick as long as it will stay up. I find this results in much smoother landings.
I struggled with poor three point landings for my first two seasons in the Teal (as there had been no landplane type training available for me ). Then came the flight when I suspected that I had a failed tailwheel down lock, so upon touch down I moved the stick fully forward to keep the tail light, so it would not collapse the tailwheel. I got a great landing out if it, and had found the secret. Now I always wheel land it, and my results are consistently better.
When I was flying the SM 1019, I found that full stick back was required at the start of the takeoff, because of the power available, and the ineffective tailwheel steering. But before you go to a speed where lifting the tail seemed like a good idea, the whole plane would be in the air, having flown off the tailwheel. I was never comfortable wheeling that plane, as with such a large, and I suspect expensive, propeller, I wanted to keep it well away from the ground. That plane was very challenging to steer on the runway, and had odd pitch control at low speed.
I have come to understand that each tailwheel type seems to have it's "sweet" technique, and either you figure it out while being observant, or a type experienced pilot tells or shows you. I have found Maules to be an excellent combination of well balanced over that mains, but still responsive, and easy to control. I have never tried wheeling one, but I would think it would work nicely.
While there is no one size fits all technique, I would generalize that in light low powered tail draggers like Cubs, Champs, Chippies etc I get the tail up earlier as they accelerate faster in a level attitude and keeping straight is generally easy. The only time I would keep the tail down is with a strong left crosswind.
On higher powered heavier taildraggers like Cessna 185 Beech 18 etc I leave the tail down so that I can use the tailwheel lock to help keep the airplane straight in the early part of the takeoff.
Indeed. Chippies of course have no tailwheel lock, or even rudder/tailwheel interconnect. The tailwheel is free-castoring which I love. Makes for lovely manoverability on the ground compared to say, a Citabria. And sooo much easier to manhandle in and out the hangar!
Free castoring nosewheels, however... the one on the Yak was a pain when it locked over at an angle. Big heaves on the tail handle were needed to get it straight; that or prodigious amounts of power that would blow parked Cessnas into the next county!