Tailwheel Flight Instruction
Brian Lansburgh is the founder of The Tailwheeler’s Journal. He was previously Sunriver Soaring’s manager and pilot and ran the Sunriver Airport for a while.
Brian was raised in the film business with a screenwriter mother and a director father. His experience in both aviation and film production have served him well, not only with an Academy Award Nomination for his film, “Dawn Flight”, but most recently with video projects that serve the Tailwheeler’s Journal as well as a small group of clients.
Before coming to central Oregon, Brian was a pilot for L3 Wescam, a job that kept him flying camera planes all over the US and Canada. His duties for Wescam ranged from providing aerial coverage of Monday Night Football to serving as a surrogate Predator UAV during war games at the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nevada. He honed his flying skill during fourteen years as a comedy stunt pilot in the air show business. It was comedy flying which launched him into precision airmanship flight instruction. Local pilots would often ask for some help after seeing him fly his comedy routine. Eventually those sessions became formalized into what are now the Tailwheel Endorsement course and the Stick and Rudder Master Class.
The flight instruction at Tailwheel town works because of how Brian teaches the maneuvers. Maneuvers like Slaloms and Landing in a Turn require that the pilot really control the airplane when it’s both flying and touching the ground. Most pilots are just going for a ride during the landing experience. Tailwheel Town pilots are placing the aircraft exactly where they want it and are maintaining precise control during this phase of flight. At altitude, maneuvers like Alternating Sideslips, Sky Doodles and Dead Stick flight help the pilot advance far beyond simple coordination of the airplane. And, very importantly, Brian’s philosophy that a flight instructor must teach and protect frees pilots to practice these unusual, challenging and fun maneuvers without once placing themselves in jeopardy. Besides flight instruction, Brian currently produces flying videos and writes an article every week for The Tailwheeler’s Journal.
We sometimes use different aircraft, but our main plane is our 1948 Cessna 140.
It has an 85HP Continental engine and is equipped with Intercom, Radio and Transponder, not to mention the comfort of Oregon Aero seats.
The tailwheel endorsement course is primarily aimed at both satisfying the requirement that a pilot have a tailwheel endorsement in order to act as pilot in command of a tailwheel aircraft and at equipping that pilot with flying skills that will surpass that learned in a standard flying course. The Tailwheel Endorsement course starts out with fundamentals of coordination and proper handling of a tailwheel airplane. Then, with the time left over, it includes more advanced maneuvers. We strive to give every student the benefit of overhead 360 accuracy approaches, landings in a turn and dead stick landings. Spin training is available for those who would like to include it.
Our stick and rudder master class is designed to take the student beyond the tailwheel endorsement and to pursue mastery of more advanced maneuvers. In addition to the overhead 360 and dead stick landings, the student will be familiarized with the techniques of multiple landings, slaloms and lots of landings in a turn. There are also other maneuvers included according to each pilot’s individual needs and desires.
Tweakin’ up your skills
A lot of fliers come to us simply to polish up their flying skills. It’s not limited to tailwheel flying, either. Sometimes the course is to satisfy the Biennial Flight Review, which can be included. More often, it is simply to learn some of the more advanced maneuvers taught at Tailwheel Town or to prepare a pilot for a particular type of flying which he’ll be pursuing. We even fly with folks in their own tricycle gear airplanes. There’s no reason we can’t perform a lot of our advanced maneuvers in a tricycle gear airplane. Some of our greatest successes come from our flights in trikes!
We charge $175/hour in our Cessna 140 and $65/hour in customer aircraft. Both the Stick and Rudder Master Class and the Tailwheel Endorsement course are flat-rated at $995 for six hours of flight time. We don’t charge for ground instruction. Payment must be made in advance, but we refund the unused portion in the event of cancellation of the remainder of the course for any reason. We do not accept credit cards, so bring a check or cash.
Prices are subject to change with fuel cost fluctuations.
Although there are a lot of great books on flying, we recommend that everyone be familiar with “Stick and Rudder” by Wolfgang Langewiesche and, of course, “Brian’s Flying Book” by Brian Lansburgh. Brian is a believer in Langewiesche’s method of comparing an airplane to a horse. He teaches that every airplane has specific gaits and familiarizes the student with the power and pitch that put the airplane in that gait.
About Tailwheel Town
The name, “Tailwheel Town”, was arrived at after our first move. It stood to reason that wherever we taught our courses would become Tailwheel Town. We are currently located in Sisters, Oregon. It’s a great airport. It is a privately owned airport which is open to the public. It has several hangar homes on either side of the runway. Benny and Julie Benson purchased the airport a short time ago and have wasted no time in making huge improvements. It now has a newly built and wider runway, fuel and tiedowns as well as free loaner bicycles and a loaner car. For more information about airport facilities, call 541 719 0602. You can also check it out online at www.sistersairport.com
Many of our California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho students simply drive to Sisters, which sits on Highway 20 just 18 miles northwest of Bend, Oregon. International fliers and those from more distant parts of the U.S. find it convenient to fly into Redmond (KRDM), rent a car and drive the short distance to Sisters.
Lodging and Dining
There is plenty of lodging in Sisters. We’re currently recommending the Best Western Ponderosa Lodge (541) 549-1234. It’s at 505 U.S. 20, Sisters, OR 97759. If you tell them that you are meeting with Benny and Julie Benson’s Energyneering Solutions at the Sisters Airport, they will give you a discount. There are great places to dine in Sisters. We may also have the chance to lunch during your course at the airport café at the Bend Airport.
If you have any other questions or concerns about tailwheel flight instruction, feel free to contact us. Our preferred method of communication is email at email@example.com. But you can also give us a call at (541) 948-9873. You may have to leave a message and wait for us to get back to you. Our mailing address is 160 South Oak Street, No. 430, Sisters, Oregon 97759. And, above all else, HAPPY SWOOPING! Brian Lansburgh