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Nose wheel steering ... talk about challenging...


Guest adamneat
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Guest adamneat

hi all,

 

I'm a newbie a few hours into my PPL and I've got a question regarding taxi steering. I went for a 45 minute flight today and during both pre-take off and post landing, trying to steer the plane through taxi was near on impossible. The aircraft was a C150 ... in the end the only way I could get to steer properly was to use the brakes (jam down left one to turn left, etc).

 

I doubt this is the right thing to do (???) but even after letting it roll a good few meters with me stomping down hard on left or right pedal would only marginally make it turn (where as the instructor seemed to be able to turn it quite easily).

 

I noted to said instructor that I think something is wrong with my pedals as even with full depression she wouldnt turn. In my previous two flights is always been a fair lag between stomping your foot and the plane turning but today was fairly extreme. So my question is, was this me or does this sound mechanical? I get the sense that the turning mechanism from pedal to nose wheel is spring or rubber activated in a C-150 ?

 

Any thoughts appreciated,

 

cheers

 

Adam

 

 

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Steering in C150's

 

There are several 'must' checks here:

 

(1) make sure the nosewheel tyre is inflated to correct pressure

 

(2) make sure the nose strut is blown up to leave at least 50mm of shiny strut showing

 

(3) make sure that your brake resavoirs are full,and the pedals aren't spongy

 

After that, I think you'll find that holding 'back elevator' control to take weight off the nosewheel might help. Using brake to initiate a turn isn't good practice - try full rudder, plus a little power, then a 'dab' on the appropriate brake pedal.

 

Remember that it's easier to steer an already moving vehicle or aircraft. Avoid trying to turn the aircraft immediately from stop, or at 'crawl' speed, eg, out of the tiedown position onto a taxiway.

 

Don't despair - millions of pilots have learned on the C150 - it's a safe and simple little ship.

 

happy days,

 

 

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You'll get used to it! Quite a few nosewheel aircraft are a bit clumsy to steer on the ground, which is something that makes them stable when you are rolling down the runway - they want to stay straight. Tailwheel aircraft are trying to swap ends all the time, so they are nimble to turn when taxiing but much more "exciting" when rolling down the runway.

 

You will probably have to use differential braking to make a tight turn in your 150. For gentle turns, try to think a bit in advance because it will lag a bit. If it still doesn't turn enough you could try a little jab of differential braking if required.

 

 

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Guest adamneat

I went flying again today in a different 150 aircraft and it was definately much more responsive - I do think something was a little orf with the one I was in on Saturday. That said, I used the differential breaking a lot more today and whilst I wouldnt say I've mastered it yet, it definitely made a *big* difference.

 

Thanks all for the responses - its fantastic to bounce these sorts of questions off people who have forgotten more about all this than I know!

 

 

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If you don't mind me asking, is it possible you were unknowingly putting a little pressure on the toe brakes when pressing the rudder pedals for steering? Unintentionally 'resting' your feet on the top of the pedals is quite a common thing for low time students to do, especially if they are not yet relaxed about what they are doing. Maybe todays better experience was because you were a bit more relaxed, rather than a difference between aircraft? A 150 should steer reasonably ok on the rudder alone except for 'tightish' turns and at very low speed, (see 'Chris' post above).

 

 

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Guest adamneat

Actually I had to use the brakes in order to turn (but it looks as though this is ok in a 150/152). It was definately a sluggish (or near non-responsive) set of pedals for nose wheel steering

 

(which is not to say that I wasn't stuffing something up - the difference between Saturdays flight in one aircraft vs Sunday's flight in another was very obvious)

 

 

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I can comment this way. Checking the plane will never hurt at all, but I believe it is the ground speed and the pilot input to be put in question.

 

If one goes fast enough the pedals are steering the 172R just fine.

 

On the take off very little pedal is needed, but it IS still needed.

 

When on ground the un-experienced pilots and this includes me will find the nose wheel of 172R suddenly sluggish in turns on ground below the fair pacing speed if a rather sharp turn is needed on the ground.

 

In contrast to the traditional undercaridge like T500 Thruster I am flying at the moment - this one WILL SWING FOR SURE !!

 

For the 172R a burp of gentle power and a few taps on the top part of the pedal while you are actually holding IN FULLY and steady the bottom part of the pedal with your heel should do the move.

 

The quick tap on brake will set turning inertia to work for you, but would/should not slow the plane much.

 

It appears to me if you hold the top part of the pedal too long with the bottom part as well as you are actually overcontroling the whole thing and in particular the top part of the pedal if you put the pressure there for too long.

 

It is only normal you are too careful thus going a bit below the required speed and power as a student.

 

It could be your instructor letting you to explore and think about something on your own.......

 

My instructor, representing Him said to me:

 

Pedals are everything and the speed is the God !

 

Hope this helps, now I can taxi over a narrow bridge up and down, or on un-even terrain and surfaces and slopes.

 

Do practice the pedals on ground, put more than few minutes on it, a student with 20 hours should have at least 1 hour on ground practice I believe.

 

 

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