Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Taildraggers land with noses in air: Shelbyville Municipal Airport (KSYI), Bedford County, Tennessee

Charlie Niles talks with Shelbyville Airport Operations Tech Jason Armstrong about fueling up his 1999 RV-6.

A face only a mother could love?

In the small aircraft universe there are some pilots who are judged as haughty because of the configuration of landing gear on the planes they fly. The haughty ones, according Joe Roberts, are the pilots who fly taildraggers. It seems this group has a tendency to look down their noses at the aviators who fly planes that sit level on tricycle (or nosedragger) landing gear.

For the unitiated, taildraggers have two wheels forward and a single wheel on the back end. The taildragger landing gear configuration does result in their nose pointing upward when they're on the ground. Tricycle planes have a wheel on the nose and two set back around the wings.

Quiet landings

According to Roberts, who is with Chapter 1326 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, if there are taildraggers in the Shelbyville Airport terminal and a tricycle pilot comes in they may not speak to one another.

The snootiness associated with taildragger aviators is rooted in the fact that taildragger aircraft are more difficult to handle on landings and takeoffs. It takes a little more finesse.

"Modern trainers such as the Cessna 150, Cherokee and Cessna 172 are all too easy to fly and they do not penalize the pilot who does not fly them well," writes Anandeep Pannu in "Why You Must Fly A Taildragger." "...The characteristics that make them easy to fly include nosewheel gear ...'"


Roberts, whose day job is with the Shelbyville Flight Academy, his wife, Linda, and the Nashville based FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) sponsored a fly-in for taildraggers last Saturday (June 17) at Shelbyville Airport. Bob Hill, the Nashville Safety Team program manager was on-hand to conduct a safety workshop. Local aircraft mechanic Charles McGaughy of Mack Air Aviation Services, based in Shelbyville, conducted a session on the safety aspects of properly maintaining an aircraft.

As the taildraggers flew in Saturday, flight instructor Jonathan Lundberg (not Lindbergh) showed one of his student pilots, Ryan Hurt, the finer points of a red, white and blue American Champion Explorer. Lundberg flies a Decathlon, a craft built to stand the stresses of aerobatic flying.

Robby Meadows rolled up in his sun yellow 2015 Carbon Cub after a 45-minute flight from Springfield. The Carbon Cub has a top speed of 141 mph. (By road it takes about an hour and half.) Meadows loves his Cub, that weighs just 980 pounds and is pulled with a 180 hp motor. The Carbon Cub has equivalent performance to a the famous P-51 Mustang, a high performance WWII fighter plane. Meadows calls it his "dirt bike." The Carbon Cub is designed for backcountry use, it can takeoff and land in extremely short distances allowing it to get in and out of places normally suitable only for helicopters.

Charlie Niles' occupation is piloting a corporate plane. He lives in Franklin. Most of his time off is also spent in the air in his RV6 that he keeps in Shelbyville. The RV6 is considered something of a hot rod in the air. Niles was planning to attend the workshops but he was getting his plane fueled Saturday morning ready for an afternoon flight.

Frank Stephenson from Murfreesboro flew in for the Saturday morning sessions in his 1956 Cessna 172TD. 1956 was the first year the 172 was built. He's had the plane for nearly three decades. In that time, he said, he's done one engine overhaul and given the craft a new paint job.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.t-g.com

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