One of the most difficult parts of learning to land a tailwheel aircraft is keeping the tail from passing the nose. Insert chuckle here. Some of the most common mistakes I see are: people freezing on the controls, driving it down the runway without remembering what their feet are for and not being aware of what the wind is doing (poor situational awareness).
Tip Number 1 - When using the rudder, make quick little jabs, don't push and hold (think HAPPY FEET). If you push and hold the airplane will move too far in that direction, making recovery increasingly difficult, and often resulting in a ground loop.
Tip Number 2 - Use adverse yaw to your advantage. When landing with a crosswind, keep the stick into the wind. Having aileron into the wind will assist in using the rudder to keep the aileron straight.
Tip Number 3 - Unlike a nose wheel airplane you have to fly a tailwheel airplane until it comes to a complete stop. Often students will let go of the controls after touchdown. As long as the airplane is moving, treat it like it's in the air.
Tip Number 4 - Don't let the tail bounce (3 point landings), full stall landing, the stick should be in your gut. As soon as the airplane touches down stick the tail, keep the stick back.
Tip Number 5 - Just because everyone else is landing with a tail wind doesn't mean you need to as well. Know your comfortability on wind component, don't be afraid to do a go-around or find an alternate airport. Talking to the insurance company sucks.
About the Author
Andy Bibber (CFI, CFI-I, Tailwheel instructor, Aerobatics) has over 35 years of flying experience and about 27,000 hours, he's taught the likes of Kevin Quinn and many others. Having grown up in Maine, Andy spent summers flying floats and winters on skis, hoping frozen lakes. Andy flew for 20 years in Alaska, hauling people, freight and whatever else they could stuff through the door of an airplane.
He’s passionate about what he does and loves to share his knowledge with those who want to learn. In his spare time he and his family take trips in a Twin Beech 18 to fun destinations like the High Sierra Fly In and STOL competition at Dead Cow Lake.