Looking for a challenge?
Learn to fly tail wheel aircraft at Green-Castle.
One way to do this is to get checked out in the Club’s Aeronca Chief. Another way is to join Tail Draggers, Inc. a separate “club within a club” based at Green-Castle whose members own and fly a J-3 Piper Cub and a Cessna 140. We will tell you more about both options below.
Harvey S. Plourde in, The Compleat Taildragger Pilot (worth reading if you are serious), suggests several common reasons people give for learning to fly a taildragger (more formally known as a “conventional geared airplane” because the first airplanes were nearly all tail wheel planes.) Some of them that might be relevant for members of our club are as follows:
1. Father (or relative or friend) owns a taildragger which the pilot wants to fly.
2. Pilot has developed an interest in antique or warbird aircraft, and he has learned that the
majority are taildraggers.
3. Pilot needs the taildragger experience for a job field which he wants to enter. This could be
Agricultural flying, banner towing, glider towing, or bush flying.
4. Pilot may be shopping for a Homebuilt and plans to buy one of the taildragging variety. Or, our
pilot has built a taildragger and is tired of watching his partner fly it.
5. Pilot has heard of the taildragger “challenge”, and wants the feeling of accomplishment which
accompanies good taildragger skills.
There is renewed interest in flying tail draggers (see AOPA Pilot, May 2006) and there are many reasons for choosing to fly one: Low and slow flight allows us to appreciate a bird’s eye view of the world, which may have motivated our early interest in flying. Back-to-basics control by stick and rudder represents flying at its purest with an almost intuitive connection between pilot and machine.
Whatever the reason, mastering the techniques of operating a tail wheel aircraft will make you a better pilot. The location of the center of gravity behind the main wheels requires constant attention to keeping the nose straight during the takeoff run and while taxiing. Cross wind take offs and landings provide an additional challenge. Learning and applying these principles will result in more precise and safer operations whether you are flying a conventional landing geared or tricycle geared plane.
To fly a taildragger legally (and safely) you must first of all earn your “tail wheel endorsement,” a logbook endorsement from a Certified Flight Instructor. Usually, this is achieved after you have already earned your private pilot license. To fly a taildragger and be covered by insurance (a requirement of both Green Castle Aeroclub and Tail Draggers, Inc.) you must receive enough training to satisfy the insurance company involved.
Checking out in the Club’s Aeronca Chief
As is the case for all airplanes owned by Green Castle Aeroclub, to fly the Chief, you must be a club member in good standing, which means you are covered by club insurance. Current requirements to fly the Chief set by Green Castle Aeroclub’s insurance company for pilots with no previous taildragger experience include a minimum of fifteen hours of dual instruction by one of the club CFI’s qualified to instruct in a taildragger. Currently, Don Nelson, Brian Rohr and Terry Koehn are our CFI’s qualified to give training in the Chief. Once a member has received a tailwheel endorsement in their logbook, satisfied the minimum number of hours set by the insurance company and, most importantly, satisfied the instructor, he or she may rent the Chief just as they would any other club airplane.
Joining Taildraggers, Inc. and flying the Cessna 140 or the Piper J-3 Cub
by Charles (Chello) Wendt (deceased)
Since Taildraggers, Inc. is based at Nelson Field, all members of Tail Draggers are also members of Green Castle Aeroclub and have full club privileges. However, only members of Tail Draggers, Inc. own shares of and fly the Taildraggers’ J3 Piper Cub and a Cessna 140. All Tail Dragger members must be checked out by Dale Yoder the Tail Dragger CFI, to satisfy Tail Dragger insurance requirements.
Tail Draggers was an outgrowth of individual owners and a few of the present members are still with us as a part of the incorporation. As early as 1980 I was approached to share in the ownership of a Cessna 150. A few years passed whereupon the 150 was sold and the J-3 Cub (at one time Don Nelson owned it) and a fine Cessna 120 was purchased through the collective efforts of the original 10 members that began out at Bartlett Field south east of Solon Iowa. When this field closed operations in the middle ’80s we moved to Green Castle. About 1993 we added another Cessna, this time a C140 that we still have today . We took on two more members (12) and the sale of our trusty 120 enabled us to better afford the costs of maintaining just two aircraft. This is essentially where we are at today. Flying time is coordinated by using the same online scheduler that Green Castle uses.
Both aircraft are in super condition for flight. Members have flown to Oshkosh many times over the years. One round trip flight to McAllen Texas in the C140 took two of our members on a round trip time of 31 hours. Your writer (Chello Wendt) has flown to Denver, Pittsburgh, and Lansing in the 140. It is a great airplane to take to flight breakfasts. Those landing sites (sometimes called airports) are mostly turf, an environment a taildragger airplane just loves to land on. Should you be interested in taking the Cub your flight time enroute will take considerably longer. We like to say that every thing in our Cub takes time, as an example…….”lands at 60, takes off at 60, cruises at 60.” These speeds are, of course, approximate and meant to give you an idea of how much you will enjoy punching holes in the sky all at 60mph!! And, at 4-5 gallons per hour-what joy at the pump! We have also the advantage of having our own CFI as a member. (Dale Yoder) As a corporation we share in all annuals, rent, flight-time (wet), and insurance. Your 1/12th ownership is your ticket to flying with a smile. Should you be interested, we have a share(s) for sale.
Contact : Dale Yoder at 319-337-7071 or at Airyoder@aol.com