Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By TrishP
I have been thinking about my last lesson and I taxied the plane out to the beginning of the runway. Not very well unfortunately. I couldn’t get the rudder control right and it was a bit embarrassing. :oops: Is it just me or has anyone had this problem on first go and do you have any tips.
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By David Wood
Steering with your feet takes a bit of getting used to, but it will come with a little practice.

The other thing that early-stage students struggle with is the use of the throttle. Since the engine isn't connected to the wheels there is always a time-lag/mis-match between the power you apply and the speed with which you move. You'll have noticed, I expect, that you need more power to get moving than you need to keep moving. And that if you taxi uphill, or across a step in tarmac, or round a tight corner then you need more power, sometimes quite a lot of more power. You have to learn to apply the power for as long as you need it, and then back it off as soon as you don't need it any more.

The most common mistakes that students make are:
    Taxing too fast (on grass, never taxi faster than you can run).
    Not keeping an eye on the wing-tips. They stick out a long way each side.
    Taxiing with the brakes partially applied.
    And not protecting the nosewheel/propeller when you taxi over rough ground or taxi from grass to concrete or vice versa. Keep the stick fully back and go carefully.
Last edited by David Wood on Wed May 22, 2019 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TrishP wrote:
A le Ron wrote:Conventional or tricycle?

Tricycle its a C152

One thing with these sort of nosewheel Cessnas, the nosewheel is connected to the rudder pedals via some springs, so there's a bit of lag when it comes to pressing the pedal and the wheel moving, it sort of follows on gradually.

The way to taxi these is to forget you have nosewheel steering and just try to keep to the path using the rudder...the nosewheel will help you but it'll feel like you're just using the rudder. Use fairly quick movements to try and maintain an absolutely straight path.

Don't look at the ground in front of the aeroplane, look into the distance and try and keep the nose pointed at what it's pointed at when it's straight.
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By riverrock
It does take a while for you to get the knack and for it to become second nature, and different aircraft behave differently on the ground.
Depending on how long it takes to taxi - expect it to take a few lessons.

Some aircraft have direct connections between pedals and nose wheel, some have springs which suggest to a nose or tail wheel which way to turn, some have no connection to the nose wheel (which simply castors), some are attached to differential brakes, either at the end of their travel or with separate foot pedals, some (mainly larger jets) only let you turn the nose wheel a few degrees, with a separate "tiller" to allow you to turn it further...

Don't worry about it - its normal!
TrishP liked this
Me too. First lessons had the a/c wobbling about all over the place, now barely think about it.

It's all very well reading about things, but these are learned motor skills that your body has to repeat until it gets the hang of it.

A few more goes and you should be fine.
Last edited by Charles Hunt on Wed May 22, 2019 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By TrishP
Thank you for all the replies and detailed information. Really helpful. I feel much better now and will hopefully do the taxi every lesson and fingers crossed I will get it asap.
By Johnny.b
I struggled the first couple of times too, I felt like a right plumb!

I'm also flying the C152. My flying school has 3 and each one will taxi different than the other!

I realized that taking it a bit slower and putting in rudder input a little earlier and a bit of practice when turning corners with tiny big toe dabs of differential breaking to keep on the yellow line, I'm starting to manage the a/c on the ground a lot better!

(Not to mention wearing the right pair of shoes made the biggest difference!)

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By Gentoo
As mentioned above it's a learned motor skill so it comes with practice.

It just seems unnatural at first but after a while it will be something you don't think about. At which point you probably need to be careful you don't forget about the wings and leave space.
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By TrishP
Thank you for the additional advise. It was a bit worrying to think that the challenge on the ground was going to greater than the challenge in the sky. Lots of practice, proper shoes ! :D
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By Rob P
On my second lesson we 'did' taxiing. The instructor retained control of the yoke whilst I placed both hands on the coaming and tacked consistently all the way to the threshold with no contact with the aircraft other than the balls of my feet (and my bum, of course) . I have no idea if this is common practice, but it did instantly make the mental disconnect between driving and taxiing.

Now I still tack all the way to the threshold, but deliberately, since the view over the nose of the taildragger is fairly limited.

Rob P
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