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September 28, 2010

With all the planes I’ve been lucky enough to fly over the years, the list has not included one with a tail wheel.  For those who don’t know, that’s an aircraft with a little wheel below the tail.  They’re called tail-draggers by many but the real name is conventional landing gear.  That’s because it was the “conventional” way aircraft were built in the early years of aviation.

Most aircraft today have tricycle gear meaning all three wheels are in the front. They are easier to land and taxi, particularly in windy conditions.

Detailing the advantages and disadvantages of each would make this post longer than I intend but this link will cover that.

Tail wheel aircraft basically fly the same once in the air but because they demand more attention on landing and taxiing, the FAA requires a special endorsement from a certified flight instructor before you can fly one as pilot in command.  The time necessary to get the endorsement depends how well the “student” gets it.

I received mine last weekend flying this beautiful Citabria and it took longer than I expected.  There are other requirements that apply before you can fly with a passenger which is the next step.

Because of the higher insurance costs it is rare to find one to rent so if I want to continue to fly them I’ll need to buy my own.  I’m looking now and will blog about that process along the way.

I don’t maintain a bucket list but this is something I’ve wanted to do for some time and it was fun and exciting to achieve another flying milestone.

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