Top Letters And Comments, November 15, 2019


How to Look Less Worse When Tailwheel Flying

I got a tailwheel endorsement in the 1980s in a Champ, and as I recall, the instructor told me, “You land a conventional gear exactly like a tricycle gear. Just keep the damn thing straight – which you ought to be doing anyway.”

I’ve never changed a thing. Landings are a non-event, and the only difference between wheel and stall landing is that with the full-stall landing, you try your very hardest to keep it from touching the runway, and with the wheel landing, you carry a few knots extra speed, fly it onto the runway, and then nudge the stick forward a little to hold it in the same attitude, adding more forward stick to keep it there as the speed bleeds off. Eventually you CAN’T KEEP the tailwheel from dropping. Don’t be fiddling around trying to convert it to a full-stall landing or something like that, or you will balloon and run out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas, as they say.

I built a Kitfox in the ‘nineties, and it was a handful on landing. Scary at times. Then I noticed I could taxi it better on one wheel than I could on two or three. A quick call to the factory revealed that they had inadvertently sent out some main gears that were warped toed-in. I checked it per their instructions, and My God! I didn’t bother getting new ones or bending the old; I had coveted a Grove spring gear for a while; the wider gear, not toed-in, with goodly spring travel, and it was like having Autoland.

Don’t fear the conventional gear. Just stay alert and don’t let the tail start around, and you’ll be fine.

James W.

I did most of my training for my private in Aeroncas (pre-solo was in a Cessna 140). This was 1957. The policy of the school at that time was three-point landings only until consistently proficient. Then, some additional dual time was required to be signed off for wheel landings.

No doubt, both of these options should be in the pilot’s “taildragger” tool box.

And, yes, most of our air knockers didn’t have radios (no electrical system either). But, we had two 90 HP versions that did have electric systems and radios. Those two were used for the solo x-country into a towered airport. (we received dual at a towered airport before the solo x-country. This was in the days when two-way radios weren’t mandatory for take-off or landing at a towered airport.)

Wally R.

FlightSafety Brings AI To Training

Sorry, not all that excited here. There is already far too much automation in the aviation training world. Reliance on CBT over classrooms with a live instructor gains momentum leaving fairly large holes in the gamut of training. I do not at all contest CBT and automation for many routine or repetitive tasks like, say, how to run a new FMC, or adding CPDLC, or some system changes crews need to know about. Items that can be clearly and readily taught via a computer screen. I do feel that the kind of automation addressed in this article is nothing much more than the beginning of taking the instructor out of the cockpit.

A machine cannot do anything more than evaluate and report based upon a series of statements in lines of code. It cannot evaluate the response of the actual student only the results of the student’s inputs to the machine. It cannot see that, for example, the student remained focused on an event that is past and was no longer following the current event(s). It will accurately report what parameters were not met or exceeded but it surely won’t have any clue as to why. In the Instruction arena, I have found that “why” can often be a far more relevant question than “what.” A machine cannot evaluate and work on adjusting a mindset. No one can write enough statements to ever cover all of the occurrences or non-occurrences in flight training. This is the same as not being able to ask a CBT device “why,” or “how,” or “what.”

David C.

Poll: Do You Think Drone Delivery Will Become a Thing?

  • Drone delivery is a little like using goats for weed control: A great idea, but it has to be carefully managed. I know how to manage goats, but I’m at a loss to know how to fit drones into the airspace.
  • I expect initial enthusiasm followed by social backlash and rejection.
  • This is a bad idea, all because Bezos and others want to make a few more dollars by putting delivery drivers out of work. – John M.
  • In 25 years.
  • Probably, however, on limited offering.
  • Energy cost versus profit margin will answer that.
  • It depends on the noise level of the drones.
  • Will depend on reliability and safety. Weather will have big impact.
  • If the SAFETY measures are standardized and adhered to and DEFINITELY ENFORCED, then yes.
  • Do I think 10 lb. drones will replace 2-ton cars for home prescription delivery? Yup. Everything else is just a matter of time and tech.
  • Yes, but only for more remote areas and for smaller packages such as medicine.
  • I think it will work well for small packages in rural areas.
  • Only for specialized shipments.
  • Yes in urban areas.
  • It will never be cost competitive.
  • Autonomous delivery will happen be it in the air or on ground.
  • It probably will, but I am concerned about all the buzzing around of all the drones from all the different companies that will deploy them. It will start sounding alike a bunch of misquotes buzzing around.
  • Yes, but then watch out for noise complaints right after like airports have suffered with.
  • In special circumstances, emergency remote delivery, not dense urban.
  • Could be extremely useful in rural areas.
  • Yes, until the lawsuits start.
  • I think the potential scope is much smaller than predicted.
  • It will be niche market for extra pay.
  • Maybe in large cities for businesses.
  • It will only be allowed in rural areas.
  • If businesses can replace expensive people with drones, then yes.
  • Drone delivery will be gift for “front porch thieves”! I will not accept drone delivery from any merchant.
  • In rural areas and small cities, not in large major metropolitan areas.
  • Eventually, but not as soon or as widespread as some would have us believe.
  • In rural areas it makes sense, trucks and robots will handle the urban landscape.
  • A Bad Thing.
  • In very limited numbers.
  • I certainly hope any drone that I order will be delivered!

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