View Full Version : For all you taildragger pilots RL

05-06-2004, 10:30 AM
Can you give me a definition for groundlooping? What is it, and what causes it and how do you avoid it.

05-06-2004, 10:30 AM
Can you give me a definition for groundlooping? What is it, and what causes it and how do you avoid it.

05-06-2004, 11:05 AM
Groundlooping an airplane
loss of lateral control on the ground at medium to high speeds causing a wingtip to drag on the ground and the aircraft to spin in that direction.. usually occurring on landing, sometimes related to crosswinds.. It was a washout offense for cadets in WWII.
In WWI it could be caused by slack bungee cords on the landing gear, bungees were used as shock absorbers wrapped around the axles like straps... if they were not checked for tension (a ground crewman would sit on the wingtip which then could sag no more than one inch).. the resultant sagging upon landing would cause a groundloop

05-06-2004, 12:23 PM
Cool thanks for the input. From what you described is sounds like what I do in the I153 all the time on takeoff!

05-06-2004, 02:38 PM
Yep ...

Me too - in the I16 its like that as well..

I found that takeoff without flaps is better, also the Hurricane.. no flaps on takeoff is much less squirrely.

this only pertains to the lighter planes BtW

[This message was edited by heywooood on Thu May 06 2004 at 07:41 PM.]

05-06-2004, 08:24 PM

On landing it actually is most likely to happen at medium to slow speed as the air rudder looses effectiveness and the plane looses its natural direction stability (like an arrow). In a taildragger, since the CG is BEHIND the wheels, it wants to swap ends if it starts to get out of line. It is a bit like trying to ballance a pencil on te end of your finger.

Use of brakes, and differential braking helps.

On takeoff it is a matter of losing directional control from (most likely) insufficent rudder trim or just being a Klutz.

05-07-2004, 12:02 AM
Groundloops on takeoff are very possible, at least for me, in both the 109 and the Buffalo. You can reproduce the effect by gunning the engine on takeoff instead of easing in the throttle.

The first of the many things that grabbed about the (2nd) IL-2 demo was how the 109s flipped. It took me a dozen takeoffs before I got the feel of the controls and figured out what to do about it.

Veteran - Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force. 1993-1951.

05-07-2004, 06:39 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AcesHigh_AVG:
Cool thanks for the input. From what you described is sounds like what I do in the I153 all the time on takeoff!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When you start your takeoff roll, push the stick all the way forward. Once the tail comes off the ground and the aircraft is level, ease the stick back as airspeed increases to keep it level. This will dramatically reduce the ground looping tendancy of the I-16 & I-153 in the game (and any other a/c that gives this sort of trouble).



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05-07-2004, 08:15 AM
Tully -

Thats right - I forgot to say that..you need good rudder authority on takeoff - the sooner the better.. I read a pilot report from a guy that wrote in Flight Journal.. He was flying a restored ME109 -Black 2 and said it was crucial in 109's because they are so tail-heavy on the ground ( one thing you really notice when watching a 109 takeoff was the rudder flashing around as the pilot works to keep her pointed in the right direction). But that if you did the same in Spitfire, it would nose over...

[This message was edited by heywooood on Fri May 07 2004 at 08:51 AM.]

05-08-2004, 03:18 AM
Locking the tailwheel can also keep you pointed straight on takeoff and landing at slow speeds. The tail will have to be down, obviously. Differential braking will also help at slow speed, but is pretty tough to moderate, and could lead to a PIO (Pilot Induced Occilation.)

Like Fliger747 said, sideloading the main gear (either by a crosswind, improper rudder use, brake use, or a combination of the three) will cause a ground loop by putting a side force on the fuselage ahead of the aircraft's CG. It should probably more accruately be called a "ground spin", but no one asked me what to call in when the phenomena was first observed (probably sometime around 1910.)

The only time I've actually seen one, a pilot getting checkout instruction in his new Starduster II got it wrong on a touch and go (our best guess was he got on the brakes inadvertently while using the rudder to correct the tail swinging.) He got it sidways far enough where the right wheel hub dug into the runway. When that happened the wheel stopped sliding sideways, dug in and spun the tail around. His new aircraft quickly became a Starduster II, Banana fuselage configuration.


"Speed is life." - Anon
"Sight is life. Speed is merely groovy." - "Junior"