THREE POINT LANDINGS IN A SWIFT...
In 40 years of Swift flying I can only remembering hitting the tailwheel on the runway before the mains once! I was returning from the Swift fly-in on 5-30-83. I got held up by headwinds and found it necessary to deviate to Winona, MN for fuel. A thunderstorm lay directly ahead. The approach was over the Mississippi River. On short final, but over the runway thank goodness, I ran into a wind shear. From about 30 feet up I sensed the airplane was plummeting. I applied full power and pulled back on the yoke to the stop. Unbelievably, it greased on tailwheel first with full power! Getting the power off, the roll out couldn't have been over 2 or 300 feet! (Not a recommended procedure, and I probably couldn't do it again for a million bucks!) -- Jim
THREE POINT LANDINGS IN A SWIFT...
The following was my reply to the
question by Alan Dicker regarding three point landings in a Swift.
"You only wheel landing that Swift? Here, let me take you out and show you how to three point it. No, I've never flown a Swift before but all taildraggers are the same..."
Many Swifts have been wrecked by so called "expert" CFIs who insisted that ALL taildraggers MUST be 3 pointed. This is a very narrow minded attitude and does not respect the fact that all taildraggers are not designed the same. How much flying time does this CFI have in a Swift? If he has never flown a Swift then it is unfortunate that he would make a determination like that without the experience to back it up. This is why we are so concerned when non-Swift experienced CFIs attempt to do Swift checkouts. Like I said, we've lost a lot of Swifts that way and it was an important reason for me to start listing the names of Swift qualified CFIs on my web page. I'd tell you to let him try to 3 point your Swift so he could learn for himself but I don't want to risk your airplane just to educate him.
Now, a stock Swift CAN be three pointed but it is not easy and everything must be done just right. In other words, no margin like you get in more docile taildraggers. Wheel landings or slightly tail low consistently work best. An attempted three point that is just the least bit off can lead to a very sudden arrival to say the least.
A stock Swift is very difficult to 3 point for two basic reasons. The stall strip on the leading edge causes the airplane to stall before it can be easily put in a 3 point attitude for touchdown and, the airflow over the elevator is not as effective as it could be in the 3 point attitude. If the stall strip is cut in half, that lowers the stall speed 5 mph. Then, if a modified trailing edge fairing is installed (many Swifts have them) the airflow over the tail is improved to a point where three point landings are consistently possible.
When we bought Erin's Swift back in 1986 it had stock stall strips and the stock trailing edge fairings. I couldn't get it to three point to save my life. (And neither could anyone else...) I had Buzz Winslow cut the stall strip in half and add the extended trailing edge fairing. After that Erin's Swift would three point like a Cub. Still does in fact...
All pilots, including CFIs, should always consider each type of aircraft they encounter as a "new experience" until they learn what characteristics they have in common with other similar types, and what characteristics they don't. I don't assume my flying technique in the Swift would work with a Luscombe (a taildragger I've never flown...) so I would not advise someone on how to land a Luscombe based on what I do in a Swift. I also fly a King Air but would not give advice to someone flying a Cessna Conquest based soley on my King Air experience.
THREE POINT LANDINGS I ...
THREE POINT LANDINGS II ...
Perhaps someone would like to comment on our assessment of what we thought was the physics of what participated this condition. -- Larry Simms
I remember providing an orientation flight in Rod Miles Swift (N 3214K) back in the late 70's. He was an Air Force Colonel (ret. and CFII) and flew the Twin P-51 configuration (P-82) in the service. After he completed seven very good wheel landings at Tracy (and no brakes on the right), we were returning to SJC and entered the pattern when he said how about 3 pointing this landing. He wanted to see how it was done. I explained that it was not easy but would give it a try. Just before turning base to 30R, the tower advised me that they would be turning the runway around after I land and that the wind was turning into a left quartering tailwind @ about 15 kts (for those using 30R). What a feeling as I turned final and being the last a/c for this runway, felt like it was a mistake (the doubts) to even try a 3 point though I had about 50 hrs in Rod's plane (and over a 1000 hrs in my own a/c) but decided to go ahead. It amazed me, the touch down was so smooth and clean without a bounce that the Col. looked at me and really complimented me. That left quartering tailwind probably helped but I was aware that the tires did squeal a little louder than normal. Talk about pressure when a professional is on board. :-)
Anyway Denis, I can't agree with
you more. Thanks for the memories. Keep up the GREAT work on the Swift