Chapter 13 Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Table of Contents
Normal Takeoff Roll
Crosswind After-Landing Roll
A ground loop is an uncontrolled turn during ground operation that may occur while taxiing or taking off, but especially during the after-landing roll. It is not always caused by drift or weathervaning, although these things may cause the initial swerve. Careless use of the rudder, an uneven ground surface, or a soft spot that retards one main wheel of the airplane may also cause a swerve. In any case, the initial swerve tends to cause the airplane to ground loop.
Due to the characteristics of an airplane equipped with a tailwheel, the forces that cause a ground loop increase as the swerve increases. The initial swerve develops inertia and this, acting at the CG (which is located behind the main wheels), swerves the airplane even more. If allowed to develop, the force produced may become great enough to tip the airplane until one wing strikes the ground.
If the airplane touches down while drifting or in a crab, the pilot should apply aileron toward the high wing and stop the swerve with the rudder. Brakes should be used to correct for turns or swerves only when the rudder is inadequate. The pilot must exercise caution when applying corrective brake action because it is very easy to overcontrol and aggravate the situation. If brakes are used, sufficient brake should be applied on the low-wing wheel (outside of the turn) to stop the swerve. When the wings are approximately level, the new direction must be maintained until the airplane has slowed to taxi speed or has stopped.