Rudder, Rudder, Rudder!

By Robert Mark on January 7th, 2008

I was having a luncheon chat a few weeks ago with a lady pilot from Wichita when she mentioned she owned a Cessna 170 – cessna 170that’s an airplane with the extra wheel on the wrong end of the airplane to some. When I realized she was a serious taildragger pilot, I also told her that to a lot of us old instructors, a pilot who knows how to kick the rudders these days is a rare and valued individual.

To me, I’d have to say that some of my best days as an instructor came when I was working with students in Cessna 120s, 140s and 170s, as well as the Citabrias and Decathalons. In the DC-3 though, I was definitely the student, although the ability to handle a crosswind in that bird just required more leg muscles.

(Thanks to Terry Shepard for this excellent Cessna 170 photo)

Pilots any good at kicking rudders in a taildragger will find their skills quickly transfer to almost any kind other kind of airplane when the wind is howling.

So, with a 100 percent confidence level of knowing that taildragger pilots are better dealing with crosswinds than most pilots trained in traditional nosewheel airplanes, I offer you this great YouTube video about pilots trying to cope with crosswinds the easy way – in airplanes with nosewheels. It comes to us through a new aviation blog – Kicking Tin – with a little excellent French rock and roll from a group that should have called themselves the Crosswinds, but actually answer to the name Lambe an dro.

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