There’s a fairly famous photo of a Maule taildragger lifting off and pointing uphill at about a 40-degree pitch attitude. That might be impressive all by itself, but the truly interesting part is that the aircraft is barely emerging from one of the Maule manufacturing buildings in Moultrie, Ga.
The maneuver is called a “jump takeoff,” and it’s a perfect depiction of what Maules can do that most other airplanes can’t. When I was delivering Maules from coast to coast back in the 1980s, I was determined to learn that trick. Dan Spader, Maule’s long-term demo pilot, agreed to show me the procedure, and we practiced about a dozen of the spectacular departures, though fortunately, none launching from inside a hangar. Timing is everything, and I never came close to Spader’s impeccable technique, but it was incredible fun and a great demonstration of the airplane’s truly amazing low-speed performance and handling.