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Tailwheel Transition
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Tailwheel Transition

There are many reasons to learn to fly a tailwheel airplane: the challenge and mystique that surrounds such craft, the opportunity to fly some of the most wonderful airplanes in the world, the option to fly some aircraft that are significantly cheaper than a comparably performing tricycle gear plane, the fact that many aerobatic airplanes have tailwheels, to tow gliders or banners, or just to improve your skills through continuing training.

Flying a tailwheel isn't really hard, but it does demand more respect and attention on the ground. Sadly, most of the practical rules govenrning who flys tailwheel airplanes are made by insurance companies. It's not impossible to get insurance to obtain your private pilot license in a tailwheel airplane, but it's much more reasonable to expect to make the transition to tailwheel after you are a rated pilot. That's sad in a way, as you are likely to find yourself "unlearning" some bad habits, but it's still better to make the transition than not.

Typically, a tailwheel transition will involve perhaps two hours of ground school and ten hours of flight time. On the ground you'll learn about the unique features of a tailwheel airplane and prepare for--and discuss--the practical experiences of flying one. During the training you'll learn to handle the takeoff, and perform both three-point and wheel landings. You'll also learn to hande crosswinds, which are the most demanding situation for a tailwheel pilot.

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