Are you happy with your take off and landing skills?
The two areas that pose the most risk to pilots on the flight line are take offs and landings. That is why club safety rules require that your aircraft is not airborne before it passes the flight line on the take off run.
Equally important is landing on the runway with out deviating towards those on the flight line. (Work on widening out your awareness of what is going on around you and stay ahead of your plane.)(Lead it in don’t follow it)
Before starting your aircraft and with your radio and plane on, rudder centred with zero trim. Push your plane on a flat smooth surface.
Adjust nose wheel or tail wheel (not the rudder) till the plane tracks true.
On tail draggers it is always advisable to give the main wheels a bit of toe in.
This helps them track true by forcing the forward moving wheel to act as a brake when they get off line.
The natural tendency of a tail dragger is to go tail first on the ground.
If a plane tracks well, you don’t have to fight it down the runway.
Start off slowly. Adjust your track with rudder.
When happy with the track smoothly increase power to take off speed and gently apply elevator for a smooth lift off.
Basic Trimming Of Your Aircraft
Once at a comfortable height and directly into the wind, trim your aircraft to fly straight and level with hands off. (Don’t accept close enough) This should be done at the speed you like to fly at, otherwise you will always be increasing or decreasing height. (Most trainer aircraft you can trim nicely at about half throttle.)
Trimming The Loop
Now fly straight into wind, increase power and smoothly pull up into a loop.
Note any deviation. (Be careful not to apply rudder as you apply elevator)
If the plane rolls left in the loop give a few clicks of right rudder trim and vice versa. Try the manoeuvre again and adjust the rudder trim until the plane tracks true through the loop. (It is wise to recheck your aircraft for straight and level trim after trimming the rudder) Adjust aileron trim for straight and level and check the loop again. If you found that you had to put in a lot of right rudder trim to loop true then you should check that you have sufficient right and down thrust.
After landing (note the position of the rudder) re check the ground tracking and adjust the nose wheel or tail wheel to track true. (Make sure rudder is in the noted position)
Please note that this is a very basic trimming procedure and if followed it will really change how your plane flies and feels. (You won’t be fighting it in the air and you won’t be fighting it on landing approaches.) Most trainers and sports models fly very well with a C of G at 25% and a motor thrust of 1 to 2 degrees down thrust and 1 to 2 degrees right thrust. There is no substitute for a well-trimmed aircraft that flies straight and level with hands off. Take the little extra time to make it right and enjoy the difference. We will deal with landing technique next time.