If you have a question about airmanship, flying a tailwheel airplane , emergency maneuvers or spin/upset recovery, see frequently asked questions in the section below; also, Jim's Hangar Talk Videos on Rumble are another great resource.
A side slip is used to land in a crosswind. The longitudinal axis of the airplane remains aligned with the runway and the airplane is slipping sideways perpendicular to the runway. A forward slip is used to land in a crosswind. The nose points into the wind (crab) and the airplane slips forward on the flight path.
See Artistry of the Great Flyer page 27 for a full discussion.
This is an important element of airmanship, using the flight controls. When an airplane is in a wing low attitude, the rudder peddle on the pilots high side is the “top rudder”. The term is used to describe the rudder peddle used by a pilot to complete a turn, roll out of an overbank or recover an inverted attitude.
I have a great YouTube Video about this life saving maneuver: https://youtu.be/F7tMgOPEtyQ
Many pilots believe that the Dutch Roll is the definitive maneuver to develop stick and rudder skills. It is simply rocking the wings while keeping the airplane on heading and the nose on point (level with horizon). Sounds easy; however, I don’t use in my airmanship training because too many pilots make themselves sick trying to learn the maneuver. Pilots make a mistake that the maneuver is a timing or rhythm exercise. Dutch Roll is an adverse yaw control exercise using the control you need when you need it. Instead of rhythm use the sight picture.
From level flight, bank left using aileron and left rudder to control yaw. When nose starts to move, use right rudder to hold course. Stop bank with neutral aileron at about 30 degrees. Next roll right with right aileron and right rudder to control adverse yaw. You already have right rudder. Switch to left rudder before nose can move right. Stop bank with neutral aileron at about 30 degrees. Next roll left with left aileron and left rudder to control adverse yaw. You already have left rudder. And so it goes back and forth using the sight picture to see bank angle, control yaw and maintain heading.
See Artistry of the Great Flyer page 40 for a full discussion of this classic maneuver. After you master the Dutch Roll, what is next? Consider a Dutch Roll inverted!
The first fundamental of airmanship is DO NOT STALL. You should know that during upset recovery and emergency maneuvers you unload the elevator to avoid a stall. When face with a nose high attitude, pilots have another option to avoid a stall – airplanes do not stall at zero g. If you unload an airplane in a nose high attitude, it will go ballistic. Like a rock or ball, it goes up on a curving trajectory through an apex and then comes down. An airplane will not stall. Whether used for upset recovery or to fly maneuvers like a wing over, go ballistic and the airplane will not stall. My YouTube Video shows the zero g recovery in action: https://youtu.be/nrz2vqNB5tU
Also see Artistry of the Great Flyer page 9 and 58 for a full discussion.
I identify three techniques for wheel landing a taildragger; fly it on with a power-on, shallow approach to landing, check it on and the soft field. The key elements are: stable approach, establish the round out attitude, control vertical speed, pin the airplane at touch-down, roll out with tail high and finally complete landing in the 3-point attitude. For pilots learning the wheel landing, I suggest the soft field technique using power to control vertical speed. (Hint: when you think back, back, back, instead use power, power power.) When the wheels touch down you mustpin the airplane (forward stick to remove angle of attack). Pilots make the mistake to time the forward stick with touch down. Instead, roll the wheels on the runway (Hint: say “roooooooll the wheels”); then forward pressure on the stick and get the power off. This is a very large topic without simple instruction.
See Flying the Tailwheel Airplane Chapter Six, paged 61 - 74 for a full discussion.
I encourage pilots to consider spin training an essential element of pilot training, and especially important to prepare CFIs for the very real possibility of encountering loss of control. This is a scenario of current and serious concern to the FAA and flight educators; however, contemporary flight training under specific guidance from the FAA has created major deficiencies in pilot skills and pilot understanding of stalls, spins and loss of control. The situation is perpetuated with CFI training that reinforces those deficiencies.
Please take the time and effort to read and give serious consideration to my essay: A Fresh Look at CFI Spin Training, page 110, A Pilot’s Guide to Airmanship and Aerodynamics. This book should be a valued resource on the book shelf of every student pilot and CFI.
You might also enjoy my video of a spin lesson in progress: https://youtu.be/Q5LGjwCSJas
Many pilots apply elevator back pressure prior to rolling into a level turn. That is a very bad habit. In context of recovery from an unusual attitude, that habit will get you killed. Good airmanship directs a pilot to release elevator pressure and then use the ailerons to initiate a level turn (unload and roll). I consider this one of the most important skills a pilot can have.
Please read Unload the Elevator Prior to Bank, page 206, A Pilot’s Guide to Airmanship and Aerodynamics for more discussion.
The subject is complex in its entirety, and is the basis for my three part video titled Airmanship and Aerodynamics. You can watch all three parts on YouTube:
Should you learn to fly a taildragger? Maybe yes, or maybe no. Flying tailwheel aircraft demands airmanship skills on the approach to landing. With proper training you can learn airmanship skills in a tricycle gear airplane, but that requires a training regimen that far exceeds the offering of a typical pilot school.
Key Point: Tailwheel aircraft demand airmanship skills. On the other hand, tricycle gear aircraft are forgiving of weak airmanship skills. A perfectly stable approach and touch down to landing is not required, so many pilots flying tricycle geared airplanes don’t master use of stick and rudder.
A Pilot’s Guide to Airmanship and Aerodynamics page 152 offers an essay on this question.
The purpose of an airplane’s rudder is to aid in making a cross wind landing and to control yaw in flight. Yaw is an airplane’s rotation on its vertical axis. Yaw is caused by:
1. using ailerons (adverse yaw),
2. propeller P factor during climbing or descending flight,
3. gyroscopic force typically experienced when rotating an airplane on its pitch axis (push or pull on the stick),
4. Pilot over-control
With reference to the question when to use the rudder, a pilot should use the rudder anytime he needs it to control yaw. The challenge for a pilot is to recognize yaw when it is happening. Do you know what yaw looks like? Does adverse yaw look like P-factor yaw? Does yaw vary between different airplanes? Is yaw common to all airplanes, and does it only happen during certain maneuvers? If a pilot is not clear on the answers to these questions, a good resource is my book A Pilot’s Guide to Airmanship and Aerodynamics page 210. The title of the essay is Get off that Rudder. Also watch my YouTube Video, Controlling Yaw, Rudder Coordination https://youtu.be/0c0ca4SgJA4
Exiting a base to final turn wide (misaligned) the runway is common, even with great sticks. In those instances, the best response for pilots with low time and/or weak stick and rudder skills is frequently a go- around.
Pilots choosing to realign should do so after completing the turn. Pilots with basic stick and rudder skills might choose a side slip to achieve runway realignment, a maneuver far superior to a dreaded series of low altitude "S" turns.
Slipping to realign with the runway is just one of many airmanship skills that involves cross control. Master slips. Begin with learning the difference between a side slip and a forward slip. Pilot’s Guide to Airmanship and Aerodynamics, page 124, offers a definitive explanation. Also watch my YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/QhV3BqPA1II