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Scaring myself – Tail Wheel Flying – Strong Gusting Cross Wind – Ground Loop Risk


Finding your limit as a Pilot can be Scary… But it’s the best way to Learn…
Proud to be associated with ForeFlight: http://www.foreflight.com/flightchops/

The Ground Loop is one of our biggest fears as tail wheel pilots.
I am constantly trying to stretch my limits and get better as a pilot…
For this flight, I’m working hard to improve as a Tail Wheel Pilot; I’d been flying a fair bit so I was “in the zone” and felt ready for a strong cross wind!
But it is a fine line, and I scared myself on this flight; I had a close call nearly Ground Looping, and am happy to share the experience through the analysis provided in this video!
The flip side is that if you’re “not feelin’ it” even if it is a beautiful day, don’t hesitate to cancel a flight.
That would fall under the “I.M.S.A.F.E. check list.

Big thanks to “planesounds” for sharing the footage of a very well captured ground loop in a Stearman.
Please visit their channel here:

NOTE: regarding letting passengers (pilot or not) take the controls:
It would have been an ugly insurance claim if Mehran’s taxi troubles put us in the ditch…
A prop strike would have been likely – and expensive.
And it would have been my problem as I was PIC; and regardless of Mehran being pilot, he was not signed off on the aircraft.

Big thanks to Dennis for the awesome training, and for consulting on the technical stuff regarding this edit, and the ground loop animation. (Jared, Dave, and Aaron helped with that as well!)

Here are the direct links to some other Tail Wheel Flying videos that I’ve done,
but please also check my channel in case I forget to update the links here in this description:

1st solo in the Super Cub
(Great illustration of trim usage, and my WORST landing is also in this video)


Wheel Landing on pavement


Ski Flying:


Upset Recovery and Spin Training – Bellanca Citabria


Flying a Tail Dragger – Tip #3 – Taxi + Run-up + Take-Off – Shoes Matter!


Super Cub – Finding Zen – Grass Strip – Tail Wheel Flying – Short Field Landing practice


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I’m a Private Pilot, doing my best to stay current and learn. I fly for fun and might just be the least cocky pilot on the internet! My self analysis videos can seem self deprecating at times, but I am trying to learn from the small mistakes to avoid making a big one; I’m happy to share and find it rewarding to help other pilots or aspiring aviators in any way that I can. How does the saying go? “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards”. And in aviation, not all tests are survivable.

My virtual “ride-along” flying videos are aimed and sharing my experiences and giving back to the aviation community which has been so helpful to me. I shoot multi-camera angles, get detailed real time instrument panel shots, and have radio intercom audio. I respect people’s time, so I put a fair bit of work into editing to keep the videos concise and engaging; I add animations and further graphics and voice overs where needed to add context and explanations.

My hope is to continue to grow and evolve the “Flight Chops” project with input and support from the aviation community!

Steve Thorne, aka "Flight Chops"

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Flight Chops Disclaimer

I am a “weekend warrior” private pilot, I fly for fun with no intentions of going commercial. I have had my PPL for over 15 years, but still consider each flight a learning experience – I generally take detailed notes after each flight to remind myself what went well or what I could do to improve…. Having the GoPro cameras to record flights like this is invaluable. I find these self analysis videos very helpful in my constant quest to improve, and am happy to share.

Feedback is invited; however, please keep it positive.

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