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Posted: 9/28/2011 6:32:02 AM EST
I've heard pilots talk about "dancing on the rudder pedals" when landing.

Is this comparable to the tiny, constant corrections you make with your steering wheel when driving a car?

I remember when I learned to drive I had to think about keep the car going down a fairly straight path, and now those corrections are subconscious and automatic.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 11:55:44 AM EST
Yep. You don't stop flying a conventional airplane until its tied down.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 12:10:38 PM EST
I would equate it to being like close finger tip formation. It's a series of constant minute changes so a large input isn't needed, leading to scrapping the other jet or in this case, ground looping.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 2:28:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 2:29:37 PM EST by Shadowhawk]
Try to balance a yardstick on your hand. You constantly have to keep moving your hand to correct whenever the center of gravity shifts to prevent the yardstick from falling. If the yardstick shifts to far, you literally cannot move your hand fast enough to catch and recenter the center of gravity.

Same concept in a taildragger. Depending on where the wheels are in relation to the engine placement etc, the center of gravity is actually BEHIND the center of directional rotation. You need to constantly work the rudder to maintain the placement of CG directly aft of the center of rotation. If it gets displaced to far, it will exceed the available rudder power and the CG will continue to displace sideways resulting in the dreaded ground loop.

I don't like the term "dancing" on the rudder pedals because it insiunates rythmic and distinct moves - I prefer to use the more sterile description of "constant pressure/counter-pressure inputs". Its very much a seat of the pants technique.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 4:35:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 4:39:51 PM EST by a555]
Yup. I'm getting my cherry popped in a squirrelly super decathlon right now. Think of it as driving a car with the wheels that steer in the back. You've got to put input in before you need it. If you bring it out when you think you're supposed to, it's too late.

As far as "seat of the pants" flying is concerned, the guy teaching me literally says to use how your ass feels in the seat to know what you need to do. I've been working on aileron work –– slow rolls, knife edges and inverted flight. I cannot stress the value of this type of training and it really makes me wonder how many lives could have been saved if pilots were proficient this type of work.

I've flown a lot of single engine airplanes. I never sent a tricycle gear all over the runway on takeoff; I've had to be "saved" by my instructor in the taildragger in my first two lessons. At least I got the second landing down myself.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 10:19:07 PM EST
Another famous aircraft requiring good rudder work on landing is the U2.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 7:52:32 AM EST
There's a video of a U2 landing where it's all over the runway. My first taildragger take-off looked about like that. Go to about 3:30:

Link Posted: 9/29/2011 2:08:24 PM EST
Remember the steer tire is in the back...

So imagine driving backwards down the road at 50 miles per hour and all the corrections you would have to do to the wheel to keep it in a straight line.

But.... since you have so much less rudder authority, more movement is needed to get the same outcome, so the rudder pedal movements are larger than the tiny wheel corrections you would make in a car.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 6:18:29 AM EST
Thanks for the info, guys.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 6:47:51 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 8:14:13 PM EST
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