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LAPL/PPL in a taildragger? Is it extinct?

Taildraggers don’t like hard runways much

This is the conventional wisdom but I think it is overstated. It’s really not that tricky, and at least the surface is smooth and flat. Grass fields can be tricky because they often have undulations and bumps which means that a perfectly good touchdown can still turn into a “bounce” and you have to fly it some more until it’s down again.

More footwork required once you are down on tarmac and decelerating (unstable condition), but otherwise no big deal.

The fact that tarmac runways are typically a single runway rather than a group of three at a lot of grass fields, is probably the true problem is many cases – less options for avoiding the crosswind.

Aircraft like the Cub also have a low wing loading, so they can be bumpy and hard work even in the approach phase.

Last Edited by dnj at 21 May 20:44

Of my hundreds of tail wheel landings, one has been on grass and one on dirt. The rest on paved surfaces. Except for those with tail skids, most tail wheel aircraft were designed with the expectation of operation off pavement, starting in about 1935. It’s not an issue.

So where does this “conventional wisdom” come from? There are schools that won’t even let you land away if the airfield in question is a hard surface.

Sounds to me like another one of those UK things. People learn on grass runways because that’s what they have, then are surprised by different characteristics on paved runways. The paved runway takes a little more attention.

So where does this “conventional wisdom” come from? There are schools that won’t even let you land away if the airfield in question is a hard surface.

Are these restrictions on taildraggers, or tailwheel aircraft? If people are surprised by the behaviour of tailwheel aircraft on tarmac, then the behaviour of taildraggers will leave them astonished. I was quite dejected after running off the runway on my first two tarmac landings… The addition of a wheel has made it much easier on tarmac, though still less easy than flying from grass with a tailskid. Also, some taildraggers don’t have brakes, which you need on a hard surface.

Last Edited by kwlf at 22 May 07:42

Why would getting your PPL cost 10K in your own plane?

Good point. You should pay just the instructor rate, plus landings, plus some fee to the school for putting the plane on their fleet (which most will refuse to do, as I found out for the IR).

Propellerhead is a funny book. I think it dates to the 1980s when a freelance instructor could teach a PPL – like is possible in the USA right up to a CPL. I thought the funniest bits were where the author thought that flying a Thruster would help him get a shag, and it didn’t work

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The school local to me charges their instructor out at 30 quid an hour for PPL/imc/aerobatic/microlight/sep/ssea/tailwheel/tmg in your own aircraft.

The reason so few flying schools offer any tailwheel aircraft these days is its simply not commercially viable.

The above local school used to have a chipmunk on their fleet but the engine was getting close to the number of years before it needed overhauling and the quote to overhaul the gipsy was 24 thousand pounds. So the aircraft was put on a permit and then promptly went up in value!

Posts specific to ab initio PPL training in a UK LAA type were moved here

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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