Tailwheel Endorsement

There is widespread consensus that getting a tailwheel endorsement makes you a better pilot. You will get an appreciation for the use of rudder in an airplane, and you will discover the background for successful landings (also when you fly tri-cycle airplanes).

Tail wheel of Decathlon "taildragger" acrobatic airplane

Tailwheel of Super Decathlon aerobatic airplane

There are no specific FAA tailwheel endorsement requirements when it comes to the minimum number of hours. It is common that people spend 7-12 hours on it. In the process of working on the endorsement, you will probably make 50 or more landings.

The specific requirements from the FAA per Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) section 61.31(i) regarding tailwheel is that “The flight training must include at least the following maneuvers and procedures:
 (i) Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings;
 (ii) Wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings); and
 (iii) Go-around procedures.”

Upon completion of the training, you will receive an endorsement in your logbook that states that “I have determined that he/she is proficient in the operation of a tailwheel airplane.”

Typical Tailwheel Endorsement Syllabus

You can get your Tailwheel Endorsement in Super Decathlon N878AC at Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO), Virginia. We typically follow a syllabus as described here.

Flight 1: Getting Familiar with the Super Decathlon

  • Ground lesson on Super Decathlon
  • Preflight
  • Start-up
  • Taxi and ground handling
  • Take-off
  • Flight to practice area to get familiar with the airplane
  • Emergency procedures
  • Normal landing
  • Debriefing

Flight 2: Maneuvers and Normal Take-off and Landings

  • Recap from previous lesson
  • Adverse yaw
  • Stalls
  • Steep turns
  • Ground reference maneuvers
  • Normal take-offs
  • Normal landings
  • Debriefing

Flight 3: Practice Normal Take-off and Landings

  • Recap from previous lessons
  • Practice normal take-offs
  • Slips to a landing
  • Practice normal landings
  • Soft/short field take-off
  • Soft/short field landing
  • Debriefing

Flight 4: Normal and X-wind Take-off and Landings

  • Recap from previous lessons
  • Normal take-offs
  • Normal landings
  • X-wind take-offs
  • X-wind landings
  • Debriefing

Flight 5: Wheel landings

  • Recap from previous lessons
  • Normal take-offs
  • Normal landings
  • Wheel landings
  • Debriefing

Flight 6: “Check Ride”

  • Recap from previous lessons
  • Stalls
  • Steep turns
  • Normal take-off/landing
  • Slips to a landing
  • X-wind take-off/landing
  • Wheel landing
  • Emergency procedures
  • Tailwheel Endorsement in Logbook