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RC Model Tip – Tame your Tail-Dragger

RC Model Tip – Tame your Tail-Dragger

From sport planes and classic civilian aircraft to warbirds and fighters, where the little “steering” wheel is in back behind the main landing gear, the tail-dragger configuration remains very popular. Though the tailwheel has very little effect on the model’s flight performance, the landing gear configuration does make takeoffs and landings much different from planes with tricycle (trike) landing gear. Here are some of the basics to help tame your tail-draggers and improve your takeoffs and landings.

Depending on the wind, you can land a tail-dragger in two different ways: a tail-down, 3-point attitude (stall landing) ...

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  1. Nice article, but it does not address heavier taildraggers. I have a Top Flite Giant scale P-40 that is a bugger to keep from bouncing badly on landing. It weighs 22#, and loves to bounce! I have tried both types of landing approaches with limited success. I think airspeed is extremely critical on this model, even with flaps deployed. I’ve been told that full flaps are necessary, but have only tried half flaps so far.
    I also have a CARF Extra 300 88″ that likes to bounce if 2 wheel landings are attempted. It likes a full 3 wheel landing, which makes it smooth. I have other similar aerobatic models that are OK with either type of landing . Any thoughts would be appreciated. FYI, I have been flying RC for 40 some years, so I am not a novice. I am also fairly sure the CGs on these 2 aircraft are in acceptable ranges. Thanks.

  2. Good article , except for toe in . I used to think toe in was correct . I have changed my mind . Let me explain ! Toe in would work only if you use very hard tire so that the tire would slide . I prefer to use a softer tire for less of a bounce and as such the tire would roll under causing the plane to turn the direction the tire is turned . If you land in wing low , the wheel that touches first , toe out levels plane , toe in wheel go’s into and under plane . Still your choice !

  3. GREAT article!!!! VERY encouraging!!!!! I’ve gotten pretty good at landing with my Ares-RC Taylorcraft 130, so once I obtain a trike, I should be OK. Thanks Again for the great article.

  4. Thank you for addressing the differences between cub type tail draggers and warbird tail draggers. I battle trying to land an older P-40 model which is famous for its “pitchiness” throughout flight, and it just came to my attention recently that the throttle configuration isn’t helping. In one click there isn’t enough throttle to fly the bird in, and in just the very next throttle click there is more juice than necessary to land. Throttle set-ups for landing are more crucial than most pilots ever give credit to. Thanks again for the article.

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