Wheel landing versus 3 point.

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 6352 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:21 pm

This is a fun thread, it could go on for weeks since most tailwheel drivers have a distinct preference. I agree that it is worthwhile getting proficient in both techniques.

But I am interested in what 8359 said (names would be better, sorry) that they thought extensions made wheel and 3-points harder. My plane doesn’t have extensions but the 120 I used to fly did. I thought that plane was easier to land, but that was years back so I haven’t done a side by side comparison recently. I am not advocating for extensions but I do think they served a purpose in making the plane a bit easier to land, at least 3-pts. I am skeptical that extensions were added primarily to stop nose overs (as I have read) since even without extensions and with good Cleveland brakes you have to really mash the brakes hard to pick up the tail. They do add lots of weight to the tail and probably cause more tailwheel and main gear cracking. A knowledgeable A&P (not me) would have a more informed opinion on that. The most offensive thing about extensions is they are an engineering kludge, add weight, and look ugly. I think it takes a bit more practice to land them well without extensions. Not a lot, but a bit. Too fast or too much sink and they will bounce or dribble. There was a reason Cessna changed to forward swept gear in the later 140s and 140A.
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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 8434 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:38 pm

My 1947 C-140 had swept forward gear AND wheel extender. It had some very odd characteristics when it was on just the mains, it would shimmy side to side almost like it was walking down the runway. This of course made afraid of wheel landings. Once I removed the extenders it handles marvelously. I also worked with my A&P to get my wheels aligned properly, which according to C-170 forum can be the cause of alot of problems. I think working on both styles of landings are important because they can highlight both technical and mechanical deficiencies.

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 8272 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:57 pm

I wheel land it about 90% of the time. The other 10% are bounce recoveries and the occasional practice three-point landings. Coming from a J3 Cub background, the 140 is way more tricky to get correct attitude for the three point with. If you over-flare by the tiniest margin, you land tailwheel first and risk landing too hard on the tailwheel. Generally, all of my flying is off of paved fields, so it saves the tailwheel from being the primary point of contact on the hard surface and allows you for a more manageable bounce recovery into a three-pointer if needed. A greased wheel landing is also a really nice way to make a first impression to another airport full of tailwheel pilots.

Definitely valuable to practice both, but a lot of it goes down to personal opinion.

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 2066 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:16 pm

Already an "experienced" Champ flyer, I started learning to land my '46 140 on August 11, 1984 -- haven't quite mastered it yet! With more flight reviews over the years than I can recall, I've had a number of very good instructors suggest best methods for consistently good landings and none of them work "all of the time". The 120/140 "spring" gear tends to demonstrate to seasoned "taildragger pilots" that their vast experience in other tailwheel aircraft just may not transfer well...at least, not "all of the time". I tend to go through periods of wheel landings and, then, of 3-pointers -- some are really great and some not so great :( . When your passenger starts grabbing for places to "hold on", it's probably a sign that the landing may not be going well (...don't ask how I know) :o . As already suggested, I believe it's important to practice both to make us better, improving 120/140 pilots. One piece of advice I've heard many times and find valuable and true -- a really good approach usually results in a reasonably good landing...even in a 140. Mac

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by V529 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:16 pm

Either is fine, whichever works for you. I've watched skilled pilots land in gusty crosswinds in a variety of aircraft using both methods and they both seem to do the job.

One item of note, after working our local airshow for years and years, I watched all the big name airshow performers land and take off for their performances.

As you can imagine they are forced to use whatever runway is available and the wind can be coming from any one of the 360 degrees. Almost to a person(men and women) they all wheel land. That being said, if you've every flown a Pitts or just about any aerobatic airplane, they can handle a lot more crosswind than your average bug smasher.

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 7263 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:52 pm

I like both, but do more wheel landings because of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBaQoNFutMk

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 2066 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:44 pm

7263 wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:52 pm
I like both, but do more wheel landings because of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBaQoNFutMk
Gotta agree with that being a good reason to consider doing (more?) wheel landings than 3-pointers? Walking down the flight line at a number of conventions, I've watched David Lowe point out a LOT of bent (and, some cracked) TW brackets. They may have resulted from other bumps & hops, certainly, but i's all too easy for some of us (...speaking for self only ;-)) to come in a bit tail low and whack a bit hard in that area. Good vid -- thanks for sharing. Mac

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 8452 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:19 pm

I used to fly in to a pretty short field and found that three pointing in gave me a comfortable amount of extra runway and wheeling in didn’t leave much. After that I started three pointing most all the time.

From looking at the tail section pictures above, I think someone doesn’t three point, but they tailwheel land. I also think the right tailspring is important.

That said, for the most part I think it’s six of one and a half dozen of the other.
Larry Bible

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1948 Cessna 140, O200A, Ragwing, Custom IFR Panel
1966 Mooney M20F/J

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 6643 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:54 pm

8452 wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:19 pm
I used to fly in to a pretty short field and found that three pointing in gave me a comfortable amount of extra runway and wheeling in didn’t leave much.
The trick is to get the mains down at about the same place you'd be starting to hold your flare, waiting for airspeed to bleed off for your three pointer. Once the mains are planted you can apply the brakes, more heavily than you would imagine, and slow much faster than in a flare.

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Re: Wheel landing versus 3 point.

Post by 4004 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:21 am

Biggest problem I've seen with the tail wheel bracket, that was designed for the original smaller, lighter weight Scott 3-24B tail wheel assembly, was installing the larger Maule and the Scott 3200. Larger assemblies when not installed or maintained properly were subject to severe flutter - shimmy- vibration or whatever one wants to call it. Seen it so bad that one would think the empennage is coming off!!

The bracket needs to be a "closed" assembly rather that the "open" folded "U" design which allows the flutter to apply torsion to the bracket causing cracking at the upper 'corners' of the "U" where it attaches to the vertical tail post. IIRC some brackets were a "box" design and some made of steel - as a prolific responder here may comment about. As a minor repair, I have installed a 4130 plate doubler in this area and "closed" the section with a small square 4130 tube welded across the bottom of the doubler, thus "closing" the section to a box configuration . Preventing the flutter takes that stress off the tail post and posssible damage as seen in the You Tube photos.

To keep the comment on thread, wheel landings, as discussed above, permits one to lower the tail wheel at a much slower speed to prevent flutter initiation. 2c

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