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An Aviator's Field Guide to Tailwheel Flying

by Jason Blair

Practical skills and tips for flying a Taildragger.

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In An Aviator’s Field Guide to Tailwheel Flying, author Jason Blair shares his experience in a variety of tailwheel-equipped aircraft. This book describes each of the major phases of flight and important considerations that will be useful for current or transitioning tailwheel pilots as they look to increase their proficiency. The discussion goes beyond physical flying skills into other aspects of tailwheels, such as operations in different makes and models or ages of aircraft, aircraft modifications, finding the right instructor, and challenges unique to tailwheels.

Pilots of aircraft such as Cessna 180s, Cubs, Champs, Maules or other aircraft of similar type and size will find relevant and practical tips to improve their tailwheel flying. The result of many years taking notes previously passed on to his own students as an instructor, as well as serving as a designated pilot examiner for aircraft checkouts and checkrides, Blair’s book compiles and shares this knowledge with the broader aviation community.


Part Number ASATAILDRAG
ISBN 9781619545892

AuthorsJason Blair
ISBN978-1-61954-589-2
Page Count96
Dimensions5.25" x 8.25"
Weight0.30 lbs

Find out more about Jason Blair and his books at AnAviatorsFieldGuide.com.

Resources from An Aviator's Field Guide to Tailwheel Flying

This is the Reader Resource page for Jason Blair's An Aviator's Field Guide to Tailwheel Flying. You will find the Reader Resource references throughout the book. When you come across them, refer back to this page for the resource indicated.

Hand Propping

A helpful first step is to check out the AVweb article, "Hand-Propping Demystified" by Mike Hart.


Carburetor Icing

The following are especially helpful for review


FAA-Approved Preventive Maintenance Items

In 14 CFR Part 43 Appendix A (c), the FAA lists all of the preventive maintenance tasks that pilots are allowed to complete on their own aircraft.


Conventional Gear: Flying a Taildragger
by David Robson

David Robson's book, published by ASA, describes the general tailwheel flying process and actions and also includes more detailed discussion of some commonly recognized tailwheel aircraft. These include popular aircraft such as the Cessna 185 and Citabria, as well as some less common but visible aircraft such as the DC3 and the Tiger Moth.


Notes on the Tailwheel Checkout and an Introduction to Ski Flying
by Burke Mees

Published by ASA, Burke Mees's book explains the general tailwheel flying process but also goes into specific discussion about ski flying, which is most commonly accomplished in aircraft that are tailwheel-equipped.


Tailwheel: 101 and Tailwheel: 201-Beyond the Basics
by Damian DelGaizo

This is a great video series if you want to dive deeper into tailwheel training, including both Tailwheel: 101 and Tailwheel: 201 for those who want to learn more. The video is available in both digital and DVD formats.


The Complete Taildragger Pilot
by Harvey S. Plourde

This book was originally published in 1991 but remains a great resource for pilots when attempting to learn more about tailwheel flying or transitioning. It details in depth the fundamentals of aerodynamics related to tailwheel aircraft. This book is one I consider almost required reading for my own tailwheel students.


Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying
by Wolfgang Langewiesche

This is a classic book that should be on the reading list of all good taildragger pilots. While the book does not specifically focus on just tailwheel flying, much of the content is written from the perspective of a taildragger pilot. Originally published in 1944 and updated in 1972, the fundamentals in the book remain ever pertinent to modern tailwheel flying.


Taming the Taildragger: A Flight Manual for Classic Tailwheel Aircraft
by John Ball

A well-written book on tailwheel flying that focuses more on older types of tailwheel aircraft. It is one of the few books that details such things as preheating smaller engines, hand propping procedures, and flying aircraft without electrical systems. I am not sure if it is in current print anymore, but many used copies can be found. Originally published in 1977 and updated in 1987, its content still holds value, especially in regards to flying older aircraft of the era.


"Flying the Tailwheel: The Checkout"
by Rick Durden, published on AvWeb

This is a helpful article that discusses the tailwheel checkout process and some additional tips on tailwheel flying.


"Tailwheel Pilot: What's a Ground Loop?"
by Thomas P. Turner, published by AVEMCO

A good article describing a ground loop in detail; worth the read.


Tailwheel Airplanes Study Material

Material provided by Tailwheels Etc. based in Lakeland, Florida, this particular webpage is used by their instructors when introducing students to transitioning to tailwheel flying. If you like their material, you would definitely like their instruction also.