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Pat asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 10 years ago

How do you tow a taildragger?

I worked at an FBO one summer, and occasionally had to move some planes around - King Air, Diamondjet, and the like, so I'm well familiar with tow bars and tug carts, but I've never had to move a taildragger, and was wondering how it's done. I mean, I imagine you could just push smaller planes around by the struts, like a Cub, as long as you have one person pushing on each side, but what about bigger planes, like a DC-3? Would you have to taxi around every time you wanted to move it somewhere?

Also, is there a short field landing procedure for a taildragger, since they generally outperform tricycle gears in STOL anyway? If there is, is it much different? I imagine they don't encourage maximum braking, unless you'd like to do a nosedive right into the pavement.

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are special tow bars made for that purpose Patrick, but often the only practical way is taxiing if the right tow bar isn't available. It depends on the aircraft, but some are towed nosr first (typical with the larger ones) and others are towed tail first.

    The short field landing takeoff and landing techniques are similar, but you lift off and touch down in a 3-point attitude. It's a bit like doing a combined short and soft field landing or takeoff in a nosedragger. And no, braking is something to be used judiciously. In most tailwheel airplanes brakes are only necessary in crosswinds and during taxi.

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  • 10 years ago

    Drag it by the tail wheel. There's an example at the following link. You can buy yourself a little one at the second link. For very light ones you can just drag or push it around by hand.

    For the very shortest landings the bush pilots in Alaska will drag the tail wheel then drop the main gear when they are at a virtual standstill. But mostly it's conventional, main gear first then drop the tail, even in very short bush landings. Well, what's maximum braking anyway. In a tail dragger you are limited by the aircraft rotating around the main gear under braking, so braking is 'judicious'.

    The third link illustrates what goes wrong in ultimate STOL conditions, as well as extreme short takeoffs and landings.

    The 2010 Valdiz STOL contest shows a few tail first landings, see the fourth link.

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  • 10 years ago

    Some, like the -3 are towed by the tail. Smaller ones, i.e. T-6, Mustang, Beech 18 are towed by a forked bar that attaches to both main gear.

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