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CFI BFR Landing Conflict
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Don Gutridge



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 39
Location: Oakdale, CA

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:16 am    Post subject: CFI BFR Landing Conflict Reply with quote

Dear Duster Friends:

Working to complete my BFR conflicting opinions surfaced with my instructor, so Id love to do an opinion poll to get your take on it. Of, course I know when asking for opinions it is likely no two responses will be the same but thats ok.

Ill give full details after receiving your responses, if anyone wants to hear them, so as not to induce any bias one way or the other. Objective: the safest way to land.

The issue has to do with having access to brakes during tail wheel landing in a cross wind. There is no issue with using them. We both agree landing and roll out should ideally be done with no brakes applied.

My airplane is a Starduster Two with no brakes in the front cockpit where the instructor sits. To access brakes in rear cockpit feet must be raised to enable control movement for use of the brakes.

Instructor view: Feet up is unacceptable. I am adamant about that.

My view: I dont plan to use brakes during landing or roll out, and feel it is unsafe not having access to them for that time when the cross wind is too strong after loss of rudder authority during roll out or a strong gust of wind (between hangars and after trees) hits the plane at slow speed. The jerking motion that inevitably happens as feet are being raised could ruin my day while trying to save it.

So, feet up with access or feet down without access? Whats the safest method?

Thoughts?

Happy Landings,

Don Gutridge


P.S. A footnote on my concern comes from the fact there have been 3 crashes at my home runway caused by turbulent crosswinds between hangars and after trees.
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BFALCON



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 32
Location: ELKHORN, WI

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I land my SA-750 with my heels on the floorboards and then raise them up slightly to access the brakes as soon as I feel I may need them. I only have to lift my feet up about 1.5" to get my toes on the upper part of the pedal. I'm not too sure what the objection is to having feet up as long as you don't need to strain or essentially "stand" on the pedals to keep them up there. There have been plenty of times I've used the brakes to keep it out of the bean field on roll out. My fear is not being able to get to the brakes because my feet might get hung up on the passenger's thighs or parachute straps. I always test my access to the brakes on short final to make sure nothing is in my way. I'm looking forward to finding out what his beef is.

Bill Falcon
SA-750
N37966
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mktrv6



Joined: 01 Jul 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Everett, Washington

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG

You have to have access to all the airplanes controls during landing. Putting yourself in a position where you can't add a jab of brake is............................unwise.

The Starduster Too has LOTS of rudder authority, but personally, I like to have all the tools available on my workbench, thankyou.


Happy Landings All,


Mark K. Tose
Starduster N34AJ
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frank



Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 456
Location: Lynn Haven, FL

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short final check:

Tricycle gear - heels on the floorboards (student pilots tend to apply inadvertent brakes = hard on tires!), brakes for directional control on landing rarely required.

Starduster, Acroduster, Skybolt - (some braking often required on landing) toes on the brakes for immediate assistance when things get squirelly (sp?). When you have full rudder correction applied and still need more directional control, if feet are on the floor you must momentarily release all of that rudder to get your toes up to the brakes. That is NOT good for staying on the runway! Without all the boring details I have had this situation twice, once each in our Acroduster and in a Skybolt.

Having said this, I can understand your CFI's concerns, probably about inadvertent brake application. (The reason we remove the front brake ppedals so the pax does not stand us on the prop.) But this danger should pass after a pilot is thoroughly familiar with his ride.

AND, I have mentioned this before - if you are up front in a Duster w/o brake pedals you can still get braking by simply reaching down and using your hands on the rear pilot's pedals/brakes (grab his/her toes as needed).
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Starduster History



Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 735
Location: St. Helens, Oregon

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Brake & Rudder Pedal use in a Starduster Too Reply with quote

Don, My goal for being on this board is to help those who have one of these airplanes to enjoy them and not get hurt!

I will offer my opinion. First of all you are both right. I think your instructor has based his opinion on cubs champs and to some degree a C-140 these airplanes are "for a tail wheel" fairly docile and predictable as they have very low tail weights 30# to 60# and good gear geometry along with low touchdown speeds and again for a tail wheel, are for the most part well behaved and if the airplane goes on straight one has little to do in keeping it there.

In contrast we have a Starduster Too that in many cases have heavy tail weights anywhere from 100# to over 200# with the tail down! and many of these airplanes have poor gear geometry. IE: old style forward gear along with incorrect gear alignment to much toe in or out! or my all time favorite new bungee cords installed on one side and the old ones on the other!. That's why there are still quite a number of airplanes built in the 1970s that have the early gear geometry that are now over 35 years old and have less than 300 hrs! As many of these airplanes are the ones that you have heard about in the local coffee shop as being a holy terror! and many of these stories are indeed true!

I am not a flight instructor and do not claim to be one, however I have over 2300 hrs in my airplane alone and about 50 hrs in my son Dans IO-540 powered Starduster Too. Furthermore I have approximately 100 hrs in various Starduster Toos well over 25 different airplanes and many of the people on this site I have flown with. Again as the old saying goes I have been doing it this way for over 25 yrs and the mans retort is well you have been doing it wrong for 25 yrs!

So what I mean is I am willing to change and consider all opinions if I think they are valid! I do not mean to imply that my way is the only way it is just one way.

Most Stardusters have the plans built rudder pedals and as built are installed and end up mounted straight up and down in the airplane along with the brake pedal being in the same vertical plane and even with the pedals moved as far forward as possible, for some long legged pilots it cramps them up to where they are unable to place there feet on the pedals with out getting on the brakes or consciously making an effort to stay off them! some people have added a short 4130 link to their rudder cables so as to tilt the pedals forward and make them at a more comfortable angle, which helps with a long legged pilot!

So now skip forward to a Biannual and with an instructor who is adamant about leaving ones heels on the floor during take off or landing has never flown a Starduster that has the problems I have described above and I assure you if you have flown one of these airplanes you feet will not be far from the brakes!!!..

So in my opinion and experience I have my feet up on the brake so that they were there and ready and this I do in preparation for take off and landing. I would like to qualify this statement in that I am not on the brakes I am just up there and ready in case and if I was landing at an airport with gusty winds and especially gusty cross winds I would be even more vigilant and I, like Frank would not have them very far away from the brakes anytime during takeoff and landing! I just could not bring my self to leave my heels on the floor even during a normal landing! let alone a challenging one! But hey that's just me!

Also are airplanes in my opinion have a distinct advantage over others in that we have adapted Cessna rudder brake pedals to our airplanes and this gives one an easier way to be ready and still stay off the brakes as they are angled forward at the top.

There is also one other thing that can effect directional control on roll out and that is braking power and how effective they are. As brakes wheels and tire size along with master cylinder plus the arm and moment in how they are installed can help or hinder and whether the brake calipers and master cylinders are compatible with each other can easily make a big difference! I have flown airplanes that have the braking power to easily put the airplane on its back and others that were wimpy and ineffective!

My airplane is a little more sensitive than son Dan's, but if it goes on straight and the wind is minimal and straight down the runway the airplane needs little attention! However in a direct cross wind one needs to have instant access to the brakes and in a gusting cross wind one might want to go elsewhere and land into the wind! I have successfully landed in winds up to and in excess of 10 kts ! The gusting ones are the most deadly and of course a down gusting cross wind landing is about the quickest way I know to wreck your airplane besides self taught low altitude aerobatics!

So I vote for the feet up method !!!... Dave
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Dave Baxter
Starduster History
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frank



Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 456
Location: Lynn Haven, FL

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,
You remind me of the iterations we had to go thru on our rudder pedals and brakes to find a comfortable geometry for operation. If you are a fair sized guy and have flown the back seat in an Acroduster you know that it takes a shoe horn getting in and strong arms getting out.

So you need to modify the few things available to get a comfortable fit. And I use comfortable advisedly. First thing we discovered was the rudder pedals were too close, jamming my knees against the throttle quadrant on one side and the master electric box on the other. Besides the pain of contact I knocked the master switch off with my right knee several times in the first two flights. Solution? - lengthen both rudder cables by adding approx 2" spacers at the rudder post connections.

OK, knees lowered, comfort improved, but with the pedals further away it became almost impossible to get effective braking with crosswind, or taxiing rudder deflections as it required full extension of the applicable leg with the toes way up on top of the rudder post. Solution? - change the pin location on the brake attachment to move them back towards the pilot.

BTW, on our very first AD2 landing, at almost full rudder deflection we had the heel of our walking shoe get stuck between the rudder pedal and the square tube spar, needing instant help from the owner to free it and prevent an off-runway excursion. The Solution? heel sliders over the spar bar AND never-ever wear those shoes again! In fact we bought some nike wrestling shoes as our standard afterwards.

Later we modified the front seatback framing and radio rack to allow a little more room for our calfs and added hand grips to the upper longerons to assist in ingress/egress from the rear pit. In addition we built a new rear instrument panel incorporating the master switch, circuit breakers, ignition switch etc, thereby eliminating the still-irritating electrical box. By "we" I mean mostly Kevin.
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RT



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 58
Location: Lambert MT

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deffinetly have your feet up on the brakes
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WaltS



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
Posts: 112
Location: North Alabama

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don,

Not using everything at your disposal to control the airplane would be irrisponsible. What reason does this guy give for "Staying off diferental braking"?

Before I soloed (working on my ticket) I put in about 6 hrs. taxing my SA900; slow at first then working up to tail up blast down the entire runway. Wore out a set of brakes... but it was well worth it.

The first thing I noticed was that the differental brake system was the best way to steer the airplane at low speed. Asking my instructor, other pilots, and A&Ps.. they all said I'd wear out the brakes. Price of brake pads.... cheap. Price of wingtip and undercarrage repairs...expensive.

Having gotten used to using the brakes to steer the airplane, I naturally use them when landing and taking off (only when needed to augment the rudder input, but pretty often for the first 100 landings or so).

I now have about 250 wheels only landings/TOs and I find that I don't use them as often as I did. However, If the brakes were taken off the airplane..I would NOT fly it. They have kept me running straight too many times to do without them.

In addition, I use the brakes (together) to keep the tail up as long as I can when landing because my SA900 looses MUCH rudder authority when the tail goes down. Don't know how other Stardusters behave when the tail drops, but mine gets squirly. It could be because I am 6'3" and the top of my helment sticks up above the windsheld blanking the rudder...?
BTW: I have only "squealed" one tire on one ocassion... The plane did not offer to nose over at all.... If you locked both....?? I don't know what would happen??

I have talked to airline pilots about this and they tell me they must use the brakes to steer during landings. And that many big planes have automatic controls in the brake system to keep the airplane going straight by "differentialy" applying the brakes.

Pick a calm day to fly with the CFI..... :-)

WaltS
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Starduster History



Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 735
Location: St. Helens, Oregon

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 5:25 pm    Post subject: To Use Brake or not on Take Off and Landing Reply with quote

More on this most interesting subject! Walt brings up several very important points that need some additional incite and clarification.

One year , when I was back at Oshkosh/Wautoma, a new Starduster Too pilot walked up and asked three of us just what kind of technique did we use for landings as he was having a little trouble with his? We all had to think about it for several minutes and all three of us had a somewhat different and detailed view as to just what it took! Traffic pattern, approach speeds, slips , touch down point, flair, and control during roll out, in order to be successful! But the crux was that one had to do what one had to do in order to keep the airplane straight and under control, and after several 100 hrs we usually did not give it much thought anymore!

The most common reason to use differential braking during taxi is that if the tail wheel spring angle that has positive caster. Negative caster will result in almost no brakes being needed to taxi, but can and will produce tail wheel shimmy and the more negative caster one has the easier it is for this to happen and more violent it can become!

Fast taxi tests and low time pilots are generally a bad combination. Walt was able to accomplish this successfully, but most low time tail wheel pilots can easily get in over their heads rather quickly! Example during first flights of a new airplane you have probably heard two separate comments as to which is the right way? One is, if everything is go, in the green, good oil press and temps the conventional wisdom is to go for it! On the other hand many think that a bunch of taxi tests are in order and that they should start slow and become faster and faster.

Both can be accomplished safely, but unless the latter is done by an experienced tail wheel pilot that is familiar with the particular airplane, this method can easily end up in the weeds! My sons airplane is a fine example of this, in that if you wheel it out onto the runway and put the power to it you had better be ready to fly it as you have about six seconds before it is flying and if you want to do fast taxi tests in this airplane the power has com back rather quickly to a non flying power setting! Obviously you can start with low amounts of power and work up to that nonflying point. but just on the edge can be just that, on the edge! because as the power is reduced the airplane becomes more squirrely !

I prefer to teach and instruct the feet up off the floor and on the rudder pedals not the brakes but the rudder pedals and that pressure be applied to both during take off and landings so that you use one against the other to dampen the tendencies to over control and that ones feet are ready to instantly use the brakes if needed.

Over half of the instructors I have flown with over the years have some pet peeve or experience that they want me to know about! and go to the trouble to make sure I am aware of it! There are several web sites that post the actual requirements for BFRs that can be most helpful in being informed.

Again as always this is my opinion and only my opinion Dave
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Dave Baxter
Starduster History
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dusterdan



Joined: 11 Feb 2006
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: brakes Reply with quote

I see a lot of good common sense posted on this subject which to me is a discussion on technique. Do what works best for you. You can buy a lot of brakes and tires for the probable cost of 1 runway excursion. I will add that brakes are not always the best solution to an incipient ground loop. Given enough runway and power, I would prefer to fly out of the situation rather than attempt to save a bad landing. My SDII has more than enough power to provide good rudder authority even before the tail is up. This reminds me of another old CFI adage that tells you to have the stick full back after landing. If you do this in these airplanes you will eventually put the TW negative, induce lots of shimmy, and cause rudder contact damage from the TW assembly. If your CFI has limited experience in these airplanes, he should be willing to talk with guys on this board who do prior to flying with you. If he is unwilling, find another CFI. Dan
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WaltS



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
Posts: 112
Location: North Alabama

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

You described my plane perfectly. It has a big tailwheel with a lot of positive camber. I also follow your method exactly; feet up off the floor aplying rudder first then add in just a little big toe pressure if needed.

The 6 hrs. of taxie work was done for two reasons. One, I hadn't soloed yet, and had the airplane just sitting there. The other was, I was having trouble getting used to the rudder pedals seeming "backwards" to me. I wanted to "drive" it untill pushing the left pedal to go left became intuitive.

Most of those 6 hrs. were at speeds below 30MPH, and much at 5 or 6 MPH driving around on the expanse of empty parking pads they have at our ex-military field (closed and sold to the city after WW2). I would highly reccomend anyone new to an airplane to spend a bit of time just driving around at LOW speed. You can learn a lot about an airplane that way... Just getting used to the cockpit and the layout of controls, the noises and the wind (and crosswind) sensations is worth a lot when you finally get it up in the air.

The high speed runs were worked up to very slowly, advancing the throttle a little at a time (down our 7,000 ft runway) and never taking my hand off the throttle...or my toes away from the brakes. Max RPM used for high speed was about 1,100 RPM. At that RPM the tail could be lifted and held with a little down stick to keep the plane from hopping. The airspeed indicator doesn't read untill you hit 60mph... and I never saw it come off the peg. As mentioned, the plane did become less stable when the throttle was reduced...and more so when it was chopped. I worked on that part a lot because that is what I would experience when I started flying it. That was definatly the most dangerous part of the exercise.

It's probably a testimony to the airplane's builder, Walt Luke; but, when the tail came up the airplane became MUCH more stable in direction (even with rudder blanking the difference is dramatic). For both tail up, and tail down handeling I think he did a great job of alligning the wheels, and setting up the brake pedals to give a smooth and lineier feel to the brakes. BTW, if anyone knew Walter Luke (NY State resident) I would love to hear from you.

As you say, this is technique stuff and what works for one may not work for others.

WaltS
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jimrice



Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 65
Location: Collierville, Tennessee

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Feet Up Reply with quote

I always raise my feet up on the pedals on final so I have access to the brakes, if needed. I only need brakes a few times in my Starduster, but would not want to be trying to reposition my feet to get that access when the brakes are needed immediately.

I do the same in my Swift as I did in Stearman.

In the "heat of the moment" is NOT the time to be repositioning anything.
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Don Gutridge



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 39
Location: Oakdale, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:22 pm    Post subject: Thank You Reply with quote

Thank you all so very much for all your valuable input. I'm really glad I made this post as I've learned a lot.

The instructor referenced said he wanted to talk but I haven't seen or heard from him since this original post.

Still looking for a Starduster instructor in northern California to complete this BFR.

Thanks again,

Don
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John Singer



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 131
Location: New London, NH

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:12 am    Post subject: Feet on Brake Pedals Reply with quote

Look at the vidio shots of the Stearman noseing over at Washington.
The wind is cross wind and gusty as shown by the pilots correction just before landing.
Particularly note the tire smoke immediately upon touch down (Left wheel).
This is a positive indication that the brake pedal was depressed on touchdown. Could be the pi;ot but much more likely, his passenger.
Conclusion, Best keep passenger's feet off the rudder brake, best accomplished by disconnecting the front cockpit brakes.

John Singer
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joe fisher



Joined: 10 Jun 2006
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disconnecting the front brakes on a Sterman may not be possible.About 40 years ago I helped change an engine on a Sterman. So I didn't work on the brakes but I think that I noticed the master cylinders were up front and the rear brake peddles had rods running forward.
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