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Tri gear vs taildragger


Guest Mick T

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Hi all,

 

How robust is the nose wheel on a Gazelle?

 

Will I have problems with it on a rough dirt strip?

 

Am I better to fly a Skyfox or will the tail wheel give me grief.

 

I have a few hours in a Drifter but remember the tail wheel being a tiny little thing which would occasionally break and we would drag our tail like a tiger moth which was at worst annoying.

 

 

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Which wheel?

 

I like tailwheel aircraft, but the Skyfox is not easy to master. The Gazelle is a very similar plane with a relatively good & strong undercarriage, fitted with nosewheel which is steerable and has toe brakes as well. It will handle rough ground better than most, provided good handling techniques are used. keep an eye on the wheel spats ( or remove them) as they will deteriorate on rough ground. Nev..

 

 

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Yea, i reckon the u/c on the gazelle is tougher then the skyfox. The Gazelle will handle quite a rough strip as nev said, but the problems u'd encounter with the taildragger would outway its advantages i think. They are a difficult thing to get right in anything other then perfect wx. Thats being said they are a lovely acft and either way you'll have tonns of fun.. But for mine the gazelle is the way to go. Much less likely to bounce too..:thumb_up:

 

 

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The xwind factor alone should give you an indication. The Gazelle xwind limitation is 20 kts, the skyfox is 12 kts (from memory, havn't flown one in a while)..

 

If your contimplating flying one from a bush strip the gazelle would get ya up and back more often then the skyfox.(strictly from a xwind point of view, the taildragger can land slower and that could come in very handy if the fan stops)

 

cheers

 

 

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HORSES FOR COURSES

 

IF THE TD IS KNOW AS THE CONVENTIONAL UNDERCARRIAGE THEN WHAT IS THE ONE WITH THE LITTLE LEG AND WHEEL UP FRONT?

 

A TRAINING WHEEL OF COURSE.

 

MOST OF YOU WILL REMEMBER THOSE LITTLE TRAINING WHEELS WE HAD ON OUR FIRST PUSH BIKE, WELL THAT IS THE SAME PRICIPLE FOR THE "UNCONVENTIONAL UNDERCARRIAGE".

 

ALL JOKES ASIDE, I THINK THAT WHAT DETERMINES WHAT LANDING GEAR CONFIGURATION ONE HAS IS THE AREA IN WHICH ONE FLYS.

 

I MAINTAIN THAT IF YOU ARE UNDERTAKING A LOT OF BUSH FLYING THEN THE CONVENTIONAL GEAR CONFIGURATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO.

 

FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE I SAY THIS.

 

I DON'T THINK THAT I WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY BUT FOR THE GOOD OLD TD.

 

WE LOST ENGINE POWER AT ABOUT 1000' IN A WIRE BRACED DRIFTER WITH ONLY NIPPER HUTS AND RICE PADDY'S BENEATH US.

 

IF I HAD BEEN IN AN AIRCRAFT WITH A NOSE WHEEL THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO WAY I COULD HAVE GOT IT IN WITHOUT COMING TO GRIEF.

 

YOU ONLY HAVE ABOUT 30 METRES WALL TO WALL ON A RICE PADDY.

 

ANY OBSTACLE HANGGING OFF THE FRONT OF THE AIRCRAFT WOULD HAVE BURIED US.

 

WE WALKED AWAY WITH THE AIRCRAFT ONLY SUFFERING SOME MINOR ABRASIONS.

 

RICK-P 036_faint.gif.544c913aae3989c0f13fd9d3b82e4e2c.gif

 

 

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Hi MMerv,

 

It had the caps lock on and I was just to lazy to change it.

 

14 kts on an average day but on a good day now thats another story, not more than 25 kts and you will just scrape it in.

 

Though, watch your wing tip as it is only a few inches off the ground.

 

Got caught at Gladstone a few years ago with no where else to go so I know for a fact that it can do it with the sock straight out.

 

A little frightening but when there is no backdoor the job has to get done head on.

 

We thought about landing accross the runway but decided that the powers to be may not have liked that.

 

Regards,

 

Rick

 

 

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Guest High Plains Drifter
We thought about landing accross the runway but decided that the powers to be may not have liked that.

rick-p, I say this with respect - I'm a little mystified why you didnt land 'across' the runway if it was the safer thing to do ?

 

 

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Lol..good onya.. I was mainly asking about the qouted max xwind from the manuel.. a mutual friend of ours proved on many occasions that a flat windsock at 90 deg was doable. But, not many ive seen could fly like him.

 

cheers

 

 

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Oh by the way I'm selling the old girl, a sad day but she has to go as I really have no room now.

 

Greg was with me when I first picked her up and flew home from Mackay.

 

We flew up together in his ill fated Fox.

 

On the way up we decided to land on one of the beaches and as we were about to touch down we saw what we first thought was a log roll into our path.

 

We aborted and went around for a look.

 

It was no log but a quite large salt water croc.

 

Discretion being the order of the day we then kept going to Koumala (if thats how you spell it).

 

Jones'y put us up for the night and we did the test flying the next day.

 

The next day the strip was pretty damp but with a lot of Kitfox King antics and big tyres we made short work of the takeoffs and landings.

 

We did a few circuits in her and then Greg flew on my wing all the way to Rocky where he left to fly home to Bluff and me to Biloela.

 

There was a fair x-wind at home so I landed at Thangool and pressed Peter Loveday into flying the new toy home for me.

 

Peter is an experienced Skyfox person.

 

No drama, a couple of orientation circuits and we headed home for a perfect landing.

 

Fly safe friend.

 

Rick

 

 

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Remember mate it was that mutual friend of ours that taught me to fly and even up to now I think that he is with me from time to time especially when the going has got tough.

 

HPD it was a thought only at the time and I think in all the circumstances landing as we did was in fact the safest option.

 

I most certainly did not want to be the first to park a Skyfox in the terminal or worst still hit an RPT.

 

Regards,

 

Rick-p

 

 

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Haha.. good story rick.. Unlike greg to back out just because of a crocodile though. ;).He was a legend (rip).

 

I may be up that way after xmass.. thinking of taking the seneca for a blast up and down the coast( of australia. lol)

 

cheers mate:thumb_up:

 

 

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  • 13 years later...

Yes…I know this is an old post….but I was really interested to see this title, nose or tail wheel, didn’t seem to raise pages of heated debate! I’ve been watching these crazy STOL guys on UTube, and it’s been interesting because the tri gear Zeniths, seem to have some advantages. The Raul wheel guys on take off, have this drama of flying the tail, before brakes release, then the seem restricted by the tail wheel, when rotating, often slamming the tail wheeling the ground. The Zenith just sits there at full power, and then the pilot can rotate to a high angle of attack, unrestricted by the tail wheel. With landing, again, both aircraft configs land on the mains but the Zenith can climb on his brakes, without nosing over. I would have always gone with a tail wheel for bush flying, but now, I really would consider a nose wheel. Taildraggers are very traditional and look good. But I’ve had my time of zig zag taxi and the added handling issues. More than happy with my nose wheel thanks!

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Not surprised, when you see how nose up attitude is restricted by the tail wheel!

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And the extra weight of a nose wheel.  Apart from the cost of having and repairing the nosewheel it's generally much safer, cheaper to insure and practical enough for the average pilot, BUT in an all out, extreme position, like pinning it on the ground after landing or countering a crazy x wind the tailwheel in the hands of a good pilot will come out on top.. There isn't a much more dangerous situation than landing on the nosewheel  or the porpoising bounce(s) you can get into with a tricycle gear so neither is IDIOT proof..

       A tailwheel is not the first plane you'd put on the line for Hire Out, that's for sure.  It would have been OK in the 50's. Plenty of Austers around then but when Cessna's etc with nosewheels, arrived they just sat there, hardly ever used. Nev.

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I wonder what the accident rates for tail wheel are compared to tri gear and what type of accidents are most common.

From what I have seen over the years, one of the most common accidents is nosewheel collapse or similar.

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That's after about the 3rd bounce. (2 more than you are allowed under my rules).   At around 1990 at Avalon Airshow 3? Jabiru's broke off their  nosewheels after accepting a downwind landing instruction  from the tower. It was argued they COULD have rejected it if it was considered unsafe but in my view it was an unfair expectation to think that should happen with the low exposure to ATC these pilot's had experience of. Subsequently the Jabiru nosewheels were strengthened.  Nev

Edited by facthunter
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18 minutes ago, Yenn said:

I wonder what the accident rates for tail wheel are compared to tri gear and what type of accidents are most common.

From what I have seen over the years, one of the most common accidents is nosewheel collapse or similar.

You'll get a good idea from RAA Incident reports, however before drawing any conclusions you have to find out which way the pilot was taught to land the aircraft.

A few years ago a few people on here flogged the miltary nose-down way of landing - controlling speed with throttle elevators to descend. Inevitably if you are going to misjudge the landing, the nose will be pointing at the ground and the nose wheel will hit first and you'll be trying to prevent a porpoise with no chance of saving it.

 Alternatively if you have been taught to land the aircraft on the "backs of the wheels" with nose high attitude using elevators to control speed  and throttle controlling altitude progressively pulling the stickback in the flare, in touchdown and righgt back when the wheels touch, letting the nose wheel find its own way on to the ground the nose wheel is going to touch at a much lower speed so less potential damage.

 

The next issue to extract, is the number due to design, for example using thin wall mild steel tubing, with the nose leg buckling on a pothole or ridge. For a long time we have been considering these a nose wheel disadvantage vs tail dragger, but F10 has raised some very interesting information that indicates tail draggers may not have much more advantage in rough country.

 

Then there is the group where the expectation is just too much for the roughness of the landing area chosen.  For a Warrior or Cherokee 140 I test the padock out in a car at 100 km/hr - bet there are not too many people doing that, or a high enough speed to ensure an RA aircraft will handle the roughness.

 

After all of that, you'll be closer to an apples for apples comparison.

 

For years a string of hopefuls who have chosen to buy taildraggers as best for their intention to travel the country, outback etc. have tapered off their posts afterwards, so it's not going to be as black and white as many people think.

 

If you go back into history looking at wht tricycle was introduced, the first factor was the closing down of "all-over" fields where you could always take-off and land into wind.

 

That created two problems

(a) You had to learn to take off and land in crosswings and also taxy and handle the aircraft in crosswinds, and as Facthunter and others have pointed out a tailgragger has unstable dynamic handling making it very difficult to learn.

 

(b) With the demise of all-over fields, you were confined to very narrow runways by comparison, so you needed much greater accuracy when taxying, taking off or landing

 

That wasn't really a problem in the early days - flying was a two man affair, one to fly and one to hold a wing on the ground to stop the weathercocking.

 

Tricycle undercarriages appeared during WW2 probably because of a shortage of wing holders, and by the 1950s when manufacturers were selling the "aerial car" concept tricycle removed dynamic handling issue and there was a much lower volume of damage.

 

 

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IF you try to keep the weight off the nosewheel and USE the RUDDER more actively you will be much safer and less likely to swerve to the edges of the strip when landing OR taking off..  

   Set  your tricycle U/C to have the tail sit up a bit when it's loaded so it won't want to keep flying after you land. . Spoilers would fix this but you don't have them unless you have a glider. Despite what is said, not all taildraggers are fully stalled when sitting on the tailwheel. When tied down winds will still lift them  if strong enough. Nev

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One more little bit !.

In the Hummbird the tailwheel Is faster, than the same plane with a nosewheel behind the prop.

So when experienced in that plane, remove the nose wheel & put the tail wheel on.

Then start learning all over again !. LoL

spacesailor

 

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I've read repeatedly that a taildragger is a lot safer in a forced landing in less-than-ideal terrain, due to the fact that they have a far lower tendency to flip over. Is this really the case?

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1 minute ago, onetrack said:

I've read repeatedly that a taildragger is a lot safer in a forced landing in less-than-ideal terrain, due to the fact that they have a far lower tendency to flip over. Is this really the case?

Personally I don't mind flipping over and over and over because each grind  of the frame on the ground slow the aircraft down and reduces the end inmpact force. It only becomes unsafe when the cabin deforms and a tree comes and sits in your place or the safety harness fails in a high speed sudden stop or the stop is too sudden and you die from brain injury. A nose wheel provides extra progressive crumple force reduction.

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nosegear seems to find rabbit holes etc. and the plane usually inverts. SOME taildraggers go over when the pilot overbrakes. I even recall a tiger moth doing it with NO brakes but I don't to this day know how.. It  distorted the front cylinder. I was not involved but was around at the time, Nev

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