So a thought came to my mind which covers not only Cessna planes but all others.

The Taildraggers need a little bit less runway becayse AOA on takeoff is good and that AOA eliminates the need of flaps on takeoff. This isnt so important anymore because most people live near to an airstrip unless they live in remote places.

They operate better in pale dirt runways because taildragger landing gear gets pressure from the weight of the engines etc. This is again not much needed because decently sized airstrips arent that rare and Cessna's dont need much landing distance anyway plus nobody lands on top of an mountain.

So why buy an inferior tricycle plane? Comfort? Because its so hard to operate and tractor tyred plane?

Thats exactly why I hate C172. Make an short range prop plane and add a tricycle gear? Which crazy person got that idea?

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    $\begingroup$ Strongly disagree with your statements re decently-sized airstrips, landing on top of mountains, &c. (OK, not actually on top of them, but often on rather small strips within them :-)) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 6 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ I would have to ask: If a tricycle gear plane is "inferior", why are all modern commercial airliners built on tricycle gear? Additionally, you list benefits for tail-draggers, then state that those benefits aren't really necessary for "most" people, which contradicts your assertion that tricycle gear are "inferior". I'm quite confused, maybe you could reword this to make it more clear. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Mar 6 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan the airliners these days dont need rough field capacities and preventing the ground loops etc in a multiton airliner on a strong crosswind conditions would be impossible with the airline forcing the pilots to keep the schedule. Please edit my question. $\endgroup$ – Delta Oscar Uniform Mar 7 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan by listing the pros and telling the not so needed I wanted to say why buy an M9 Bayonet which is easy to use and more recent instead of buying an old Swiss Knife that is more of an multitool that has more functions that arent much needed but can become handy which makes it an all around good and better knife. $\endgroup$ – Delta Oscar Uniform Mar 7 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – Delta Oscar Uniform Mar 7 at 15:41

So why buy an inferior tricycle plane?

  • Because the center of gravity is in front of the main gear, not behind.
  • Because you have better vision out the front while taxiing—no S-taxiing.
  • Because if you touch down with your heading not aligned with your direction of travel, the natural tendency of the airplane will be to straighten out, not to swap ends.
  • Because taxiing in a substantial crosswind is much easier.
  • Because when you go to sell the airplane, the pool of potential buyers is far larger than the pool that has a tail-wheel endorsement.
  • $\begingroup$ And it's much harder to flip it up on its nose and have a prop strike, compared to a tail dragger. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Mar 6 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads: Though it can be done. One of my partners managed to bend the prop on our Cherokee. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 7 at 1:21

Steering a taildragger on the ground in the speed range between touchdown and ~10MPH or so is a skill that has to be learned, because in that speed range a taildragger is strongly yaw-divergent and has to be actively managed with the rudder and tailwheel, and/or the wheel brakes, at every moment.

The landing accident that occurs when the pilot fails to keep the plane under control in that speed range is called a ground loop (see youtube for videos) and is one of the most common ways that taildraggers get wrecked. Tricycle-geared planes are far easier to control on the ground because they are not yaw-divergent.

  • $\begingroup$ So the only reason is because the nose down landings and ground loops which becomes a typical thing on wind landings? I would love to see an plane with tyres on wingtips. $\endgroup$ – Delta Oscar Uniform Mar 6 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ check out the rutan Quickie and Quickie II! $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Mar 6 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ If you control a taildragger with brakes alone you will wear out a lot of brakes. Steering with brakes at low speed is only required on larger taildraggers with locking/free castering tailwheels (like a Beech 18 or DC-3) that is free to caster while taxiing at low speed. With a steerable tailwheel like most light ac have, you steer the tailwheel and only use brakes to help with the steering occasionally, and to stop. $\endgroup$ – John K Mar 6 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ With the main gear down in a 2-point (wheel) landing, do you steer a C170 or 180 with the brakes or the rudder until you put the tail down? $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Mar 6 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ Rudder, unless the crosswind is so severe or you swing so badly that you're starting to run out of rudder travel and you're not stopping the swing, then you give shot of brake. On a Beech 18 or similar, you do use brakes to taxi with the wheel castering, and on takeoff lock the wheel straight and only use little shots of brake if necessary until the rudder starts to bite. If you fly something like a Champ with mechanical heel brakes, you only use them to stop and to hold the plane during runup. $\endgroup$ – John K Mar 6 at 21:25

Taildraggers can't take off shorter than tri-gears. A tri-gear airplane can actually achieve high AOA at rotation than a tail dragger because they can actually reach a higher pitch angle before the tail skid touches the surface.

The only real advantage a taildragger has over a tri-gear is prop clearance and somewhat better rough field capability by not having a nose wheel (ski operations make this really apparent; they are brutal on nose gears), so it's definitely a preferred configuration operating from snow or gravel.

Also tailwheel airplanes are slightly faster, all else being equal, without the drag of a nosewheel.

In virtually every other way, tri-gears are superior. Controlability while rolling and landing, level floor on the ground, visibility over the nose, etc.

This is the reason that the huge majority of airplanes are tricycle.

  • $\begingroup$ Nose gear pants can reduce a lot of the drag from the front wheel hanging down. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Mar 6 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yes but you'll still be slightly slower than the identical airplane with a tailwheel. $\endgroup$ – John K Mar 6 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ My plane was never made with a tailwheel tho. Just fixed gear with a nosewheel, or a retractable version, with a nosewheel. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Mar 7 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ I had a '68 Cardinal for a few years in the late 80s. Fabulous airplane, pretty much a baby Centurion. $\endgroup$ – John K Mar 7 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ I have a '73. Love it. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Mar 7 at 1:58

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