Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013, 10:59 a.m.
Skid used for tail support, to stop
The FHC's Curtiss JN-4D Jenny still has a tailskid; a tough, durable wooden protrusion fitted with a metal shoe. Back in the old days, airfields were just that — fields. You didn't radio, taxi and wait for your turn on the hollowed strip of pavement between the big white numbers. You pointed the plane into the wind and gave it the gun. The skid also worked wonders on helping the plane stop, too, considering it had no brakes. We can fly the Jenny off the grass adjoining the surfaced runway at Paine Field, though it is best when the conditions are just right — not too wet or muddy, not too windy, and only after making sure the ground doesn't have any hidden surprises!