One thing I ask of all LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ scholarship winners is to write a short article about their experience. It’s great feedback for me and it’s a thank you to everyone who donates to our scholarship program. It’s also validation of the positive effects of additional flight training and confirmation we’re making a difference.
The following article is from Danielle Maniere, based at Missoula, Montana who was the winner of the 2018 International Stinson Clubâ€™s Tailwheel Endorsement Scholarship. The scholarship provided $1000 in flight training from a CFI of winnerâ€™s choice. Danielle chose Jeanne MacPherson based at Helena, MT as her instructor, and Jeanne was kind enough to donate $150 in additional training. Danielle is a CFI and herÂ goal is to be a back-country charter pilot in the mountains of Idaho and Montana.
Humbled and Grateful: My Tailwheel Endorsement Experience
I knew it would be a challenge. I knew I only had two days. I knew the weather might pose a problem. I knew no matter how confident I felt flying a trike, this wouldÂ make me feel like a beginner all over again. With a positive attitude, I woke up early to get to Helena, Montana by 9 am to finally meet the legend, Jeanne MacPherson, in person. I had spent the previous week reading, watching videos and chair flying in preparation for my tailwheel training.
We started with some ground school and got right down to business. The first flight would be taxi, three point take off and land, slow flight, stalls, dutch rolls, spins, and spins. It was a great introduction to the airplane as well as an exercise in improving my coordination and precision with each maneuver. The spin turned from a ‘let go of everything and let the plane right itself’ to a stable maneuver where I, as the pilot, manipulated the controls to perform the spin on my command, although we were still working out the wobbles. The first landing was a bit of a botch but the next two were slightly more acceptable, although the instabilities of the aircraft while on the ground were very apparent. I couldn’t let my guard down for a second. After lunch, some squalls came through making for strong, variable and gusty winds. It was a great opportunity to practice go-arounds. I did even manage to get it on the ground a few times.
With a little window in the weather we went out and I nailed two 3 point landings and called it a night.
The next day we were on to wheel landings. The wind was strong and gusty. After an hour and a half of practicing all the landings I was finally keeping it on centerline, minimizing landing roll and getting closer to hitting my spot. We took a last landing on a short grass strip and I flared too high but got it down. With my new tailwheel endorsement, I am ready to start practicing for those beautiful and intimidating back country strips.
Thank you. It was so much fun. I feel I learned some very important skills that I will bring back to all my flying, not just flying Taildraggers.
Danielle Maniere, CFI