Bush League Alaska

This is truly amazing. 43 seconds.

I trained myself in tail draggers, three different Citabrias. Did all the short-field and soft-field drills, but never anything remotely close to this.

I’ve done similar in hang gliders—but their stall speed is on the order of 13 mph.

Do note very closely on the landing, the rudder action. What he’s doing is flying basically in a total mush. Half of his wings are stalled or very “dirty” and inefficient due extreme angle of attack. But tail draggers have huge rudder authority by design, allowing to fly deep into stall space and use the rudder to keep it from developing into a spin on either side, like balancing on the head of a pin.

A spin at that low altitude means you’re going to crash. No possible way to recover.

We used to practice this very thing in the Citabria, but at altitude, where accidental spin entry is easily recovered.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, lifestyle...to philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. Tim Steele on October 14, 2016 at 12:17

    And it does not even look very windy. Imagine that with a strong headwind…or crosswind, lol.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 14, 2016 at 12:47

      Oh indeed.

      Many times in hang gliders, with stiff wind, it’s a zero step takeoff. Just gently increase angle of attack, lean in, and elevator. Sometimes 1,000 feet and more in the first minute, if doing a cliff launch.

  2. Redwine on October 17, 2016 at 09:42

    I once saw an old WW2 veteran fly his Citabria backwards, in high winds, just off the runway. Took off backwards and landed backwards. It was in Carson City, Nevada during the seventies.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 17, 2016 at 09:58

      Yep, airspeed and angle of attack is all that counts. The ground is irrelevant once a millimeter off its surface.

      In this case, though, judging by spectators, vegetation, etc., not particularly high wind.

      I grew up in Reno. It sure can howl there sometimes.

  3. Redwine on October 17, 2016 at 11:11

    Yes….very impressive. The plane in your video … is it a Maule?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 17, 2016 at 11:38

      Not sure. Some comments I’ve seen out and about suggest it’s a derivative design of a German tail dragger designed in 1936

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