Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub

Managing Editor Connie Sue White gets back to her roots.

Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
CFI Clay Hammond and I started my tailwheel endorsement training in the CubCrafters' Sport Cub bright and early. The airplane, owned by the southern region CubCrafters dealer SWT Aviation, was based out of the private grass strip we were flying out of, Grass Roots Airpark in Groveland, Florida.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Preflight — oil check. A small door atop the cowling allows access to the Sport Cub's oil stick. Recommended oil amount is 5 quarts.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
When the elevator's leading edge "fits" within the parameters of the graphic, the trim is in takeoff position. Trim in the Sport Cub is controlled electrically by a switch located on top of the front control stick.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Several instrument panel configurations are available (from steam gauges to full glass). This Sport Cub panel's gauges were laid out in an easy-to-view configuration, allowing for a Garmin GPS, transponder and comm stack in the middle. Transitioning from the Remo’s Dynon glass panel back to the gauges was easier then I thought it would be.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
With this placement of the CubCrafters Sport Cub flap handle, I could easily reach it and keep my eyes out the window — and the runway in sight — at all times.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Even though I soloed an Aeronca Champ on my 16th birthday and the time I logged in the Champ as PIC some 30 years ago could be grandfathered in since it was prior to April 15, 1991 (when the endorsement became an FAA requirement), it was a lifetime ago. I felt like I would be starting from the beginning, especially after the last 2 years of flying the tri-geared Remos.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
As part of our hour's worth of taxiing and ground work the evening before, we practiced realignment of the Sport Cub’s full swivel tailwheel after turns. Full, quick back-and-forth rudder inputs while the airplane is moving return the tailwheel to its detents, and, thus, the straight position.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Aligned for takeoff with stick full aft, I smoothly applied full throttle, employing all of the Teledyne Continental 0-200-A’s 100 horses, and off we went down Runway 36. All was not lost from my Champ days: Making lots of small rudder inputs and adjusting the frequency as needed to counteract all those left-turning tendencies amplified in a taildragger as we gained speed and through rotation came naturally.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
"A three-point landing can be 'plopped' on in a full stall and be perfectly okay, but the best landing will be the one where you minimize the sink as much as possible at the instant of touchdown, in any landing configuration," says Clay.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Slips are fun in the Sport Cub. "Slip early and slip often," is Clay's advice. For this no-flap landing, I employed the trim via the button on the stick to help me keep a stable approach at 60 mph and initiated a forward slip.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Grass Roots Airpark in Groveland, Florida, is a private airport community, with residential lots and hangar space available.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
My first wheel landing as part of my taildragger endorsement in the Sport Cub. “Okay, now flick the stick forward and hold it there until you feel the tail start to come down on its own, then full stick back,” Clay calmly instructed me when we felt the right wheel (to address a right crosswind) touch the grass.
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Tailwheel Endorsement in a Sport Cub
Bonnier Staff Photographer Jon Whittle gets a ride with Clay — and took this shot on final for Grass Roots Airpark's Runway 36.