Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
I have acquired a share in an RV-8 at Shoreham. Before going up in the front seat of the RV, due to the lack of many of the controls in the rear seat, the group has made the very reasonable request that I be current in a somewhat equivalent taildragger.

Unfortunately this excludes things like a Super Cub, which I can hire at Shoreham and have a reasonable amount of time on.

Some of the possible options so far include
- CAP 10 at Damyns Hall
- Possibly another CAP 10 at Headcorn
- Pitts S2-A at White Waltham
- Extra 200 at Cambridge
- Super Decathlon (if I can find one)

I am trying to find something as nearby Shoreham as possible, so that I can put in any extra time as needed. So if anyone knows of any other reasonably priced options, this would be very much appreciated.
Last edited by ccm on Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Would one of the group, or another FI/CRI, not be able to dual with you in the front seat? A pilot familiar with the machine should be able to fly it from the back, even without the full set of controls?

The only controls in the back are the stick, throttle and strange rear seat rudder pedals. There are no brakes. This is why they'd like me to be more up to speed with a similar type.
There is a Super Decathlon at Shoreham. Not sure it’s for general hire these days and it’s not cheap, but I can find out if you wish. Drop me a PM with your details.
Last edited by AndyR on Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
ccm liked this
Adrian / British aerobatic Academy at Fowlmere would be worth a look.

Think he’s reasonably priced, I did some spin recovery training there recently.

They have various aircraft and plenty of experience in all directions.

One of the instructors at Rougham has an RV, I’m not sure if he does lessons with it though.

Aware that both are a jaunt for you, but I’d recommend either.
So in practice, it's the lack of brakes which should be the issue. Purists will of course say that you don't need the brakes, but that is a bit extreme, but even so, if you can find a suitably long grass strip to practice on that should be feasible?
I get the cautious approach, but it does make things a bit difficult for new members... Wrt 'similar' aircraft, if it is the brakes which are an issue, then I'd have thought any taildragger with brakes would be similar enough?
Anyway, I'm probably not helping, so I'll go back in my box ;)
Flyin'Dutch' liked this

I own an RV 8 and am an FI. There are quite a few reasons why I would not convert folks directly on to the RV8 without some high performance tailwheel time. Obviously each aircraft Is different, but the rudder controls in the rear are not direct enough. No brakes is an issue, when on bumpy grass they are helpful. As an instructor you must be able to correct a student mistake, I would not have the confidence I would be able to do this. The best trainer would be an RV7 but I don’t think many owners (quite rightly) would allow there fine machines to be used.
Morten, chipmeisterc liked this
Hi @ccm

I generally lurk here these days however I feel this warrants a post!

I was in a very similar (although likely 'worse') situation to yourself.

I came to our RV8 with a freshly minted tailwheel sign off and only 2.5 hours of tailwheel time in the supercub + no wobbly prop.

My strategy was to have a group member ferry the aircraft over to a grass airfield where I flew with an instructor with RV time who was happy to sit in the back and let me get on with it.

I was very conscious of the feeling that the instructor was putting his trust/life in my hands so was sure to read up thoroughly on all of the speeds/systems/procedures etc and made a few trips to the strip to go through cockpit drills and get a feel for where everything was so I knew how to fly the systems of the aircraft before our first flight.

The first flight was a bit of an eye opener - my instructor wanted to take off and land from the rear seat to be confident he had a good feel for the aircraft which he did an excellent job of, until the landing roll out where he ran out of rudder authority from the rear rudder 'pedals' to catch a swing to the right. I had to quite literally think on my feet and catch it with a bit of left brake and some rapid foot dancing from the front. A learning experience for us both. A quick rethink and a smaller pair of shoes for my instructor later and we alleviated that risk although although I had got a feel for the rudder dance quite quickly which also helped.

The initial few flights were a bit of an assault on the senses. I actually never really felt behind the aircraft or found the 160kts to be a problem as the aircraft is so lovely to fly but the sound/vibration/performance was a huge step up and took a while to accept from an auditory/visual point of view.

Landings are what took the most time, I just couldn't three point it nicely - they were never unsafe but always turned into a bit of a bounce fest or landing tailwheel first. Talking to one of my fellow group members he pointed out what I was struggling with which was taking all the power out before the flare. The cs prop quickly gobbled up any remaining energy which gave me little time to finesse the landing attitude before we touched down and bounced. Carrying a trickle of power through the round out until I was happy with the landing attitude made a huge difference. Secondly, ditching three pointers and going for 'tail low wheelers' was a massive game changer. It all suddenly clicked and my landings have been for the most part consistently smooth ever since.

Once signed off however I haven't looked back. The 8 is a gorgeous aeroplane to fly and still feel thoroughly lucky after each flight to be able to tick that inner fighter pilot box.

I think you / your group probably has the right idea for you to get some time in a high performance aircraft first but not sure what to suggest with regards to the type. I recently flew the Pitts, performance wise it will tick the boxes, but landing (attitude) wise it is very different.

You mention White Waltham - I highly recommend Mike Collett there at Ultimate Aeros in the Pitts or James Cooling of the flying school there, both of whom have RV4 time also and can probably help with the checkout once you've ticked the high performance box.

Enjoy the process - My check out was pretty thorough, over 4-5 flights but enjoyed every minute of it and gave me the confidence needed to be able to get out and enjoy it ever since.

I hope that helps - happy to answer any questions/chat offline!

Edit - Having just seen @Wide-Body 's replies I thoroughly agree!
ccm, Morten, Charles Hunt liked this
+1 for Mike Collet. He's an excellent instructor and a top bloke. Also James Cooling of WLAC is a great instructor. Get an existing group member to fly you to White Waltham and buy him tea and a bun while you get checked out by either of the above. Within two or three trips up there you should be signed off.

I'm in the same RV-8 group as Chip and although I had no high performance tailwheel time when I joined the group, I had a decent amount of lower performance TW time. The checkout consisted of me having to get to a standard where I could take off and land from the back seat before I was allowed into the front. (this was with a different instructor than those mentioned above) It was mostly done at White Waltham where runway excursions aren't a problem due to the all grass field. It was very tricky indeed, and took about 3-4 hours. I was then allowed into the front seat and it was a breeze to fly from there.

I would recommend getting up to WW as Mike or James will get you into the front seat within a flight or two and then you can really learn the aeroplane the easy way. I don't think paying for hundreds of pounds worth of time in an Extra will help all that much. Neither Chip nor I did this and I don't think it's warranted, though this heavily depends on your skills and ability to learn, and also how honest with yourself you can be about these factors.

Good luck, it's a great aeroplane, as Chip says, it flies like a fighter.
ccm, chipmeisterc, Morten liked this