What’s the right airplane to get your taildragger endorsement in?

Hi Judy,

I want to get my taildragger endorsement so that I can get involved with flying warbirds. However, this was my second attempt in the Legend Cub.  I am not comfortable with the seating arrangement of the Legend. I am too far away from the rudders and I don’t like using cushions.  I am thinking the Citabria or the Decathalon would be a better choice. Do you have any recommendations for airplanes to get the taildragger endorsement?

Look forward to hearing from you. I hope when I do get my taildragger endorsement that I will be able to join your group.

Fair Skies,
Carol

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To Carol,

My Champ has an adjustable front seat and about half of the Citabrias have adjustable seats.  I completely understand where you’re coming from because I’ve had similar issues in the past, even though I’m 5′-8″.  You wouldn’t think it would be a problem but I’ve had to deal with extra seat cushions behind my back and even under my rear occasionally.  If you can find a Cessna 120 or 140 to get checked out in, the seat back moves back and forth in them also.   I doubt you have the luxury of picking the perfect taildragger though and will probably have to make due with what’s available to you.  I will say, the Cub is going to be the easiest taildragger of all to learn in; everything happens at a slower speed so you’ve got time to get it right.

One word of advice in your tailwheel training – NEVER stop flying the airplane once your wheels are on the ground.  Keep the stick back with lots of pressure, always pay attention to the direction the wind is coming from because in surprisingly little wind they want to weathervane into the wind.  You’re not done till it’s back in the hangar – no such thing as driving it around like a tricycle gear!

Do you have an opinion?  Comments welcome!!


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