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Thanks Dan Baxter!!

 
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mktrv6



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

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:07 pm    Post subject: Thanks Dan Baxter!! Reply with quote

Hi everyone.

Wanted to share that last summer I changed my normal "everyday" landing technique in N34AJ. I've had to rebend the tailspring three times since I got this plane, virtually every year. And yes, I know Dave Baxter will be chuckling when he hears that I've been using my flight instructor's direction to taxi and land with the stick all the way back. This puts a lot of weight on the tail.

Now, every Starduster Too is different, we all know that. Mine is pretty heavy back there especially with big 'ol me in the driver's seat.

When I read Dan's explanation of landing his big engine Too by three pointing it then bringing the tail up, I thought it sounded dangerous. Actually, my fear was a side gust at the wrong time would send me over to farmer Brown's pasture.

Then..............I tried it on a calm day. Miraculous! Total control and I just gently set the tailwheel down on rollout. Next, on a moderate wind day. Whadya know, no problem at all. Rudder the size of a barn door and lots of control.

Finally, on a day I would normally consider my maximum cross wind and gusty day. Still, plenty of control, but I used some brake to supplement the rudder.

Now, a year later, guess what?

The tailwheel spring is still perfect, and my landings seem much more gentle.

This morning I flew from my base at Harvey (S43) to Crest (S36) and made one of those landings to always remember. Perfect three pointer, only hearing the wheels rolling, not really feeling it, then raised the tail and taxied back to the approach end with admiring glances and I finally figured it out..............for now. Also note I've made some horrendous landings in my day!

One thing Lou Stolp got right was having LOTS of rudder authority.

But, just wanted to say.

Thank you Dan Baxter!!!


Mark K. Tose
N34AJ
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Dan Baxter



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 131
Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks Dan Baxter!! Reply with quote

Mark, you're very welcome. If anything I have ever said to you has helped improve your landing experience. That's more than enough thanks. Like my Dad, all I really want is for people who own these beautiful airplanes. Is to use them, go places and most of all enjoy them. Because they really are not worth owning if you don't fly them.

But sadly there seems to be fewer and fewer of them at the various shows we attend. There are lot's of reasons for this, work, fuel costs, time, family commitments. The list is long, the reasons are many. But the one that tops my list has to be the people who own them, that seem to be afraid of them. There are many reasons for this.

Perhaps not enough tail wheel time or experience. I know my biggest fear when starting out was the fear of wrecking my dad's plane. Fortunately for me, I had one of the highest time Starduster Too pilots as my mentor. Having a knowledgeable mentor to help you get over the hump, is essential. If you are ever going to get to the point, where you feel comfortable landing your plane. I don't think that it's hard to land a Starduster. But it does require a different skill set, than say flying a 172. The picture you see is very different. And when you flare you can't see straight ahead. To many people who have flown several types of aircraft with good to very good forward visibility. This can be very distressing. This is why I say it requires a different skill set. You can't and shouldn't fly a Starduster like a 172.

My example:
When landing my airplane, I enter the pattern at 80-90 MPH and stay at traffic pattern altitude downwind to base and I don't give up any altitude till I turn final. Remember airspeed and altitude are your friends, they equal more time to do something if you have a problem. Once on final I roll the plane into a slip, this puts the nose off to the side giving me a clear view of the runway all the way down. It also allows me to regulate altitude and airspeed, all the way down till I flare. Then it's just a matter of making sure the plane is going to go on straight and switching to my peripheral vision. The things that I'm usually watching for with my peripheral vision. Is keeping the plane straight and watching the sink rate.

I usually make sure the plane is lined up with the runway, right after I finish the slip. Right before switching to my peripheral vision. Then using my peripheral vision, I'm watching the sink rate and how close I am to the ground. Controlling both by slowly pulling the stick back more and more as needed. Once on, I'm a big believer in the less is more technique. It is so easy to over correct and make more work for yourself. Also it never hurts for the airplane to be somewhere close to the ground, when it quits flying. ^_^

Sometimes it's not a matter of learning what it takes to land your plane. If you didn't build your plane and it has had several owners with only a couple hundred hours on it over 30-40 years. BEWARE!

The plane most likely has issues, mostly gear geometry problems. These gear issues can quite literally make them a holy terror. And for some makes the landing of their airplane something they dread. A lot of people buy these airplanes because they are very attractive. After buying one, if they are having trouble landing and taking off. They are more likely to think that they are the problem. When quite possibly, there is a problem with the gear alignment. Making it more difficult to land than it should be.

But even these problems can be fixed, with help. I don't know of anyone who has moved the gear back or put a longer engine mount on their plane who regretted doing it. It's nice to see and hear about a person who takes a Starduster that is a holy terror and converts it into a pussy-cat.

mktrv6 wrote:
When I read Dan's explanation of landing his big engine Too by three pointing it then bringing the tail up, I thought it sounded dangerous. Actually, my fear was a side gust at the wrong time would send me over to farmer Brown's pasture.

You said you 'READ' my explanation? Where exactly did you read this? Was it somewhere here on the bulletin board? I'd like to see what I said. I haven't been all that active lately. But I still read what's going on here and will reply if I'm addressed or have something worth while to say. ^_^
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Dan Baxter
Starduster Too
N96558
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