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What is a "ground loop"?

Pro Member First Officer
oldsamer First Officer

Installed CH rudder pedals this week and selected custom weather for an 8 knot crosswind and put settings to HARDEST, I've read the "how to" for landing tail draggers.

After dozens of touch-an-gos, I still crash when landing the cub. I may have to go back to landing on the FBO's lawn when the wind blows that way! And those pedals cost $108us!!!

7 Responses

Pro Member First Officer
Duncan (Razgr1z912) First Officer

I'd need more information, are you touching down hard? Is the wind pushing you down? What is the problem? I don't see how the CH Pedals would do that.

Pro Member First Officer
oldsamer First Officer

In a perfect 8 knot crosswind 😞 , the cub "crabs" about 15 degrees INTO the wind on final approach. I align the cub to the center markers using a LOT of rudder pedal while keeping wings level with ailerons. After touchdown, during rollout I steer down the runway using differential brakes, waiting for the tail to settle. When it does the cub immediately swerves off away from the wind in the direction the rudder wants us to go and flips over sideways. Is that a ground loop?

Hmm, talking about it, I bet the tail wheel is causing the swerve. That's why I can do 2 point touch-an-go's OK. I wonder if the cub's tail wheel can be uncoupled from the rudder? What does "tail wheel (lock/unlock) = Shift + G" do? I wish there were some indication of that (lock/unlock) in the virtual cockpit.

I'll keep learning by doing, over coming 2 years of practice Always landing into the wind irrespective of the direction the runway was paved!

Pro Member First Officer
Jim Lapinsky (7ECA-Captain) First Officer

Groundloop: The annoying habit of a tailwheel aircraft trying to change ends on or shortly after touchdown. Usually caused by an inexperienced pilot with impression that the rudder pedals are a place to rest your feet on.

Inherant in the design of a tail wheel is the element of gyroscopic effect which contributes to the natural tendency to ground loop. This is why cessna is so fond of the more stable tricycle gear. Ground looping is generally the result of high speeds and overcontrolling the aircraft.

Pro Member First Officer
Jim Lapinsky (7ECA-Captain) First Officer

Just a thought, the CH pedals might need some calibrating to suit.
I've found them to be way to sensitive not at all like the rudders on most real aircraft. I'd experiement with rudder sensitivity and null settings. In my real world Citabira the rudder has a lot of authority and requires only a gentle touch. When you get the tailwheel down it is essential you hold the stick full back to hold the tailwheel onto the runway. This is common to any ground maneuvers with a tailwheel. Don't forget to account for wind on the ground and remember the old maxim, "climb into the wind, and dive away from the wind." A Groundloops is the swift and unexpected rotation of the aircraft, it is like a skid in a car, the aircraft does not usually turn over, although in a severe ground loop the aircraft can brush a wingtip.

Pro Member First Officer
Jim Lapinsky (7ECA-Captain) First Officer

Sorry to keep going on, but on your approach with a crosswind you might want to bank your wings into the wind to hold centre instead of crabbing. It looks cool for a 747, but they're designed for it. Taildraggers will groundloop if they touchdown crabbed...Most aircraft will bank into the wind and gradualy level of with decreasing inputs as the aircraft slows on touch down. At least that's how it's done in the real world.

cheers

Pro Member First Officer
oldsamer First Officer

Thanks, so it is a ground loop.
I'm getting adjusted to the CH pedals. Had hoped they'd be a magic bullet for cross winding the cub, but they aren't.

My best technique seems to be to fly sock footed, chop throttle and stall onto the end of the runway, haul the stick back and stomp on both brakes! What I was doing before.

Low time LSA pilots (like me) should only fly tail draggers early in the morning, when it's calm.

Pro Member First Officer
Jim Lapinsky (7ECA-Captain) First Officer

Given a little more thought, if the aircraft is flipping over, it is because you are not accounting for the wind as the aircraft slows. you need to keep the controls set for the wind and gradually reduce the input as you slow. It is a fine balancing act. There are some good example on you tube of a citabria landing in extreme crosswinds. Sometime in a stiff crosswind you will land on one wheel and the tail wheel and hold this until the aircraft stopps flying. A rule of thumb with tailgraggers is to hold the inputs and never relax until you have parked the airplane. They are tricky to fly and there is nothing better to prove your flying skills than to be able to handle a taildragger. We've lost a lot with the advent of a tricycle gear and non existant rudder inputs ala Cessna 172. I tried several approaches after seeing your post, and have no problem with the Cub land straight on the centre line with carefull correct control inputs. I'm thinking you may be approaching too fast if you have to jam it down. I'd also go with a full stall three point landing. In the real world wheel landings are not recomended for most tail draggers and are rarely taught due to the increased risk of damage. A full stall is far and away the best method, unless you are flying something larger like a DC3, although I recall from the manual the Douglas also recomended a full stall. However given thet the DC3 has forward visability issues that make a wheel landing more practical. BTW exellent reading, "Taming the tailgragger" lots of good advice.

Cheers and Happy Flying....

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