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Peteohms
01-08-2014, 10:29 AM
I joined to get a few tips on landing a friends Vagabond. I have about 700 hrs recent tail dragger time, mostly in my Kitfox. He wants me to familiarize myself with his Vagabond so I can help him get more comfortable in it.

Any tips would be welcome.

Pete

4870H
01-09-2014, 02:38 AM
Hi Pete,

I own a 1949 PA-17 with a Cont. 75 hp. Here is how I land her normally.

Abeam the numbers I pull carb. heat and power back to 1500-1300 rpm. I set trim for 70 mph approach speed. I fly a tight pattern since the plane has a very high sink rate at idle. I adjust power through the approach to maintain proper glide slope angle and carry 1200-1300 rpm right down to touchdown. Once the wheels touch I pull power to idle. Once all three wheels are on the ground I maintain enough stick back pressure to keep the tail-wheel down, but avoid full back pressure. I find if I pull back hard on the stick when she is on the ground, she gets "twitchy". Avoid large rudder movement when she is on the ground; she is short-coupled and the rudder is huge for her size. You can land with power at idle, but beware of ground rush. You must flair at the proper instant or you will be bouncing for days!

Hope this helps.

Joseph

Peteohms
01-09-2014, 10:31 AM
Thanks Joseph, I'd heard that a 3 point landing is the best way to land. What speed do you carry over the fence?

Pete

4870H
01-09-2014, 11:04 AM
Pete,

I approach at 70 mph, then as I pass over the threshold, I begin to decrease my decent angle and the speed bleeds off to about 55-60 at touchdown. To be honest, I don't watch the airspeed at that point; I am too busy keeping her going straight down the runway. I do about a 50-50 mix of 3 pt. and wheel landings. With cross-wind I tend to do a version of a wheel landing called a "transport" landing. You come in and flair slightly, but not into the 3 pt. position and land on the mains with the tail-wheel just off the runway. Then as you slow down, you lower the tail-wheel. My plane is happy doing 3 pt., wheel landings, or transport landings. The Vagabond is easier to wheel land than a J-3 due to the side-by-side seating; the CG is not effected by weight as much, so it is easier to be consistent.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier; tire air pressure is really important to a smooth landing in a Vagabond. The PA-15 has no bungees and relies solely on tires for shock absorbing. The PA-17 has bungees, but they tend to be stiff, so tire pressure is also important. I found if I kept my tires at 20-22 lbs, I would bounce like a basketball down the runway if I did not flair perfectly. By lowering the pressure to 10-12 lbs, I am able to have some forgiveness.

Let me know how it goes.

Joseph

Peteohms
01-12-2014, 08:08 PM
Thanks Joseph. I successfully flew my friends Vagabond to his new home. Once trimmed it lands much like my Kitfox. Climb out was a bit anemic with the 2 of us.

Pete

4870H
01-13-2014, 10:49 PM
That is great! Yeah, with two on board my girl climbs a little slow. But with only me on board, she does pretty good. I have seen how J-3s climb with 6 feet more wing and I think the Vagabond is equal or better. The real difference between the two is on landing; a J-3 will float, the PA-17 will not. What model Vagabond is your friend's plane?

Joseph

Peteohms
01-17-2014, 09:55 PM
I think it's a PA-15. Has 0-200. Dual controls.

Kurts
01-18-2014, 09:41 PM
Joseph,

We missed you at Vacaville today.

Kurt

4870H
01-18-2014, 10:19 PM
Sorry Kurt, I wanted to come, but the visibility here sucks in the morning and I decided I should stay close to home. I am going to fly her to Sonoma County on Wednesday for business and then come back on Thursday, but I am leaving late morning on Wednesday and coming back late on Thursday so I can have the best conditions. On the plus side, I took a couple of non-flyers up for rides today late in the afternoon and they were really impressed. Short wings rule!! At one point this afternoon I was parked next to a 1946 Luscombe 8A and a 1946 Cessna 120; it looked like a scene from 1950 at Chandler!

See you soon.

Joseph

4870H
01-18-2014, 10:24 PM
Hi Pete,

If she has dual controls, it may be a PA-17 unless it was updated at some point. The PA-15 only came with single controls on the left side. The O-200 is an upgrade since the original engine for the PA-15 was the Lycoming 65 and the PA-17 was the Continental 65. Glad everything worked out. Vagabonds are great airplanes!!

Joseph