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Thread: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

  1. #1

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    Default Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    Hello,
    I have a lot of hours in a lot of different taildraggers.
    My PA-17 (85 hp) seems to be a little more skittish on landing then the J3s I've been flying for the last 5 years.
    That being said, I've had to do some re-rigging on the rudder pedals and the rudder to get things equal, even and pointing in the same direction.
    Is it the plane, or my plane?
    Any words of wisdom?
    Last edited by Shepherd; 11-02-2021 at 03:53 PM.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    All the short wing taildraggers are short coupled, so they will be a little more twitchy than a J3.

  3. #3
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    My VAG is 13 inches shorter than my Clipper, consequently it is more skittish on landing.
    Lands like a J3, every thing just happens faster.

  4. #4
    tnowak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    I have never found my PA17 Vag (65HP) skittish on landing but do have the larger Scott 3200 tailwheel which may help.
    Check your tailwheel castor angle for correct setup.
    TonyN

  5. #5
    andya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    Same comment as comment as "tnowak" and I have a small Lang tailwheel and and C-85 engine.
    My Pacer is slightly more skittish on landing than the Vag
    "Progress is our most important problem"

  6. #6
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    Cubs will spoil you in my opinion.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    I have a Maule tailwheel on mine.
    I'm also sorting out some issues with the rigging on the rudder.
    The previous custodian had the right rudder pedal set 2 inches back farther than the left pedal.
    I've adjusted that to make it as close as possible, but there is still about a 3/4 inch difference. New springs are in it's future.
    It certainly affects ground handling. Much stronger to the left than the right when working the pedals.
    But my landings weren't as twitchy on Tuesday, so things are getting better.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    I think short wings have a bad reputation that isnít totally deserved. And I think cubs have an equally underserved reputation as being easy. Poor skills will be penalized in either plane. They are different and you have to learn your plane.

    Cubs are longer comparatively, I think you need to be more deliberate in your actions in a cub. They also tend to be underpowered in my view.

    Short wings are shorter coupled, so if you over correct you will pay. When I bought mine I remember a guy I met gave me some good advice. He admitted he didnít like his at first, and thought this isnít for me. He told me to just promise myself to not sell it for a year and pick easy days to practice and just keep at it. That was good advice. Little by little you will meld with your plane and build the muscle memory of what you need to do as things happen. At some point you will look back and wonder what the fuss was about.

    Another point alluded to above, with the age of these planes, they often have been mucked with over time or wrecked, leading to sometimes dubious repairs and wonky behavior that the owner may have gotten use to or maybe lead to their decision to sell.

    When I did some transition training in short wings. The plane I was supposed to fly was down for repairs so the CFI borrowed a friends pacer. We took it out, got a cross wind while trying to three point and I started to lose it, I tried to correct and ended up standing on the opposite rudder and nothing was happening. The CFI jumped in and ended up standing on the opposite brake. We Got back to the hanger and checked the plane over assuming something must have broken leading to the loss of control. Nothing was broken. But, what we found was that the rudder cables were so lose that, like, 3/4 of the travel was just picking up slack and the tail spring chains were all muddled, the tail wheel internals were broken. The CFI called the owner to ask. The owner said, ďoh, I donít do three points I always wheel land using differential braking. Never really use that little wheel in the back other than to roll it in the hanger.Ē

    So, if it isnít going where you want it to itís either you, the conditions you are trying to fly, or the plane and you need to spend some time figuring which one it is. And remember despite what you have heard, this board is filled with folks flying these planes day in day out in a variety of conditions successfully. You can too.


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  9. #9
    tnowak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    My rudder pedals are set in the same position (no bias).
    I started off with the cables attached to the same holes on the bracket at the rudder end.
    I then slightly offset the rudder connection by selecting different cable attachment holes to get my Vag flying true instead of always needing a tiny bit of right rudder in the cruise.
    TonyN

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Where does the PA-17 fall in landing difficulty.

    Quote Originally Posted by tnowak View Post
    My rudder pedals are set in the same position (no bias).
    I started off with the cables attached to the same holes on the bracket at the rudder end.
    I then slightly offset the rudder connection by selecting different cable attachment holes to get my Vag flying true instead of always needing a tiny bit of right rudder in the cruise.
    TonyN
    Thatís not how you adjust for the ball off center. You are supposed to adjust (bend) the leading edge of the vertices stabilizer to center the ball (eliminate rudder pressure in cruise).


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