How much Tail Wheel Currency do you need?
Every pilot needs to retain currency and refine their flying skills. How often do you need to fly to be at your best? As a biplane tour pilot, I find that my landing are much better after recent TG (tail wheel touch and go) sessions. Refining your pitch, crosswind, airspeed, alignment skills without distractions are important to keeping you safe.
With tail wheel students, I find a stunning difference with each pilots regression rate. Not all skills come quickly to people, and some lose it quick. Many pilots need to fly every week for the first 100 hours or so. This pilot 'regression rate' varies from a couple days to 4-5 weeks. Personally, I see my landings get worse after about 3 - 4 weeks of JUST doing biplane rides. YES, These landings are with passengers but somehow, the landings just start to decay in quality. I like to do TG's every 2 weeks.
In our biplane group, we routinely talk about 'regression'. Some people need to fly every week to stay at their best while others can go months and always bring that plane home without a scratch. Maybe that exception is based on situation awareness, diligence, confidence, flying talent or luck, I don't know exactly but it is real. It is REALLY important for each of us to identify our limitations.
"Those that have had a Ground Loop and those that will".
The common statement is that we all will have ground loops in our flying career. We don't have to accept that! Why would an insurer insure us if everyone had a $10k+ ground loop coming up in their future. The truth is that we try to make pilots feel better after that ground loop. Take each landing seriously, fly your best. You need to be at the top of your game and ready to do a 'Go Around' if things aren't looking good. Don't hop in the plane if you feel you aren't current and ready to give it your best. GOAL: get each passenger to compliment you on your landing!
What is your Regression Rate?
Ask your instructor and don't let it hurt your ego. This rate changes in your life, depending on age, health, life stresses and so many other distractors. As a tail-wheel pilot, as shown in previous blogs, we need to be at the top of our game on every landing. Lets be honest about the FAA currency requirement for taking up tail wheel passengers; it is very generous. Don't risk your airplane and wait 30 days between hops. Own up to your regression, we all have it! Keep TGs and currency fun, and make it a habit to continually improve your landings. Call up that friend instructor and ask him to teach you how to fly his Super D or Super Cruiser.
***PRO TIP**** Go flying early in the morning or on holidays when no one is flying! Usually the winds are calm in the morning too. Ask the tower if you can get different runways and maybe even teardrop turns. Example: take off RWY (Runway) 28R and get cleared for a TG on RWY 23, then do a TG on 28L. You can knock out a lot of TGs and have a blast doing it.