Practicing on a Narrow Runway by Dan Wilkins

Taildragger 101

I asked site visitors and LLT members to help mentor new and inexperienced tailwheel pilots by writing an article and several have responded. Thank you to those who submitted content. Your articles will be posted in the next few days. I’d love to hear from more of you so please use this Upload Link to send in your own content for publication.

First in this series of articles submitted by members and friends of LadiesLoveTaildraggers:

Practicing on a Narrow Runway

by Dan Wilkins who flies a Waco UPF7 and a Champ out of 50PA, Pegasus Air Park, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

To help me focus on staying on a narrow runway I took 16 oz plastic party cups (beer pong style) and ran them in two parallel lines down the runway. The two lines were 36′ apart with each cup about 35 paces (~100′) from the next. I used a dozen cups for each line. I pushed a 16 penny nail down through the base of each cup and into the ground. 1″ x 1″ cardboard squares made good washers against the nail heads. White cardboard stuffed into each cup made the lines more visible.

Practicing on a narrow runway

This exercise helped me gain confidence and skill during take-off, landing and taxi practice. The cups weathered some direct hits with the main wheels. The tailwheel dislodged one cup. The dislodged cup did not create a nail hazard.



I am fortunate to have a private grass strip at my disposal. The forward view from my pilot seat is very poor. This activity is great for developing peripheral vision.  I’ve run over cups. I’ve run over runway lights too. I prefer cups. So does my airplane. 😉

Practicing on a narrow runway

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