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Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

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Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

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Old 03-12-2004, 11:26 PM
  #1  
Tired Old Man
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Default Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

For all you good flyers out there that now believe that you don't know how to land a big biplane, and for all of you others flying the G/P 1/3 Pitts that are having a little "difficulty" in making consistentl fair to good landings with this plane, please allow me to show you a way to good landings ALL the time with this aircraft. I'll also explain why it works.

For all those that want to argue the point as to wether or not the Pitts is "easy" to land, I'm not interested.

I had TnT Landing Gear Products make a new set of aluminum gear for the Pitts that is 2 inches taller and 2 inches wider overall at the tire mounting legs. The reason for this is after having a full scale Pitts driver over to my house and his commenting that the plane was probably REALLY hard to land, I asked him why. His reply was that the gear on the model was way, way, way out of scale. Both in height and width. He stated that the planes wings would always be in a flyable angle of attack with the stock gear, and that the narrow width would make it tippy on the ground. He said you would have to drive it onto the ground, and once there, wouldn't want to stay there. There were other reasons mentioned that I'm not going to re-state at the moment.

Anyway, after installing the new taller and wider gear from TnT, I now have a biplane that is both a real pleasure to fly, and to land. I even look forward to touch and goes with this bipe. Before I loved flying it, but dreaded landing it. It cost me a fortune in wood props. The new gear completely solved all the landing problems I was having. Just to let you know, I've been flying bipes for over 25 years, and prefer bipes to any other type of aircraft, so I'm not a beginner or inexperienced flyer.

Again, for the arguementative types, maybe you can ALWAYS make perfect landings with this plane. I couldn't, and know others that have been having the same problem. The new gear works wonders, all of the time.
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Old 03-13-2004, 12:42 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

You are quite correct SS. I gave up and went back to the Cermark Pitts-no sweat. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, some of the Aeromaster bipe builders didn't like the high landing gear and shortened it down. Bad news! It refused to land just like the GP Pitts does now. The wings must be stalled to three-point a landing...JIM (one of the dinosaurs) PS...Maybe stall strips on the GP Pitts would help. Anyone?
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Old 03-13-2004, 05:56 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

With the change in the landing gear, all the landing problems dissapeared. The angle of attack of the wings in the approach attitude will now get high enough to let the plane stall properly. I don't know if G/P addressed any of this after the second production run, of which my Pitts comes from. I would hope, but rather doubt, they did.

The change over requires that you contact a gear manufacturer, or make your own, 2 inches taller than the stock gear and 2 inches wider. The installation of the new gear is quite easy.

Remove the old gear and make a line front to back at the center of the middle holes.

Find the center line across the mounting surface of the new gear.

Place both sets of gear back to back at their mounting surfaces and match up the center lines.

Mark the hole locations through the old gear onto the new gear.

Mark and drill the holes for the axels.

Drill the holes for the mounting holes and install.

TnT charged me $35.00 for the new gear plus shipping. That's the same price that they charge for the stock replacement gear for the Pitts. Overall, that was a cheap price to pay to make a good flying plane a great landing plane without the worries of bouncing, tipping, and being a squirrel on the ground. Take offs are a lot smoother, too.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:42 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

After reading this thread and most of the others concerning the GP Pitts I took SilverSurfers advice and bought the TNT gear for my Pitts. Everyone that had seen the other guys at the field fly a GP Pitts and the resulting bouncy landings was impressed with the way mine performed. My first landing was a little hard due to limited elevator travel (GP recommended low rate travel) in the flair, but the plane stuck to the ground and rolled out nicely. No bounces. I've since started landing and taking off with the high rate settings GP recommends and it handles much better.

I was able to induce a bounced landing, but only when I tried to stretch the landing approach. Even then it was not a big problem. I had a couple of high speed landings and the plane stuck to the ground and was able to bleed down the speed near the end of the roll out with rudder.

My Pitts is 18.5 lbs and using a Fuji 50. CG is 5 3/8" from the lead edge of the top wing. No weight was required to achieve this CG. I pinned the firewall, glassed it with 3/4 oz cloth and replaced the cabane and landing gear wood screws with 440 and 6/32 blind nuts and bolts.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:58 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Not only are they tough to land in full size too,, but normally you must be signed off by an instructor after a course on how to land the Pitts. The plane jumps into the air,,, but it is no pony ride to land without prior instruction.
I don't know if the same technique applies to the RC version but the whole process reminds me of a shallow carrier landing approach.

That's me in the S2B.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:56 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

ORIGINAL: gehr2box

After reading this thread and most of the others concerning the GP Pitts I took SilverSurfers advice and bought the TNT gear for my Pitts.


They have 2 replacement gear listed one is 6 1/2" the other is 8 1/4" tall, they don't list the width. Which one did you buy, or is it one that is not listed ????
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Old 02-14-2005, 08:55 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I just put the TNT gear on my Pitts. I also replaced the stock wheels with 4" Dubro inflatable and no air. I decided to shorten the TNT a little and the combination works much better. I used to be able to bounce almost every landing to some degree but now its much harder to do
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:58 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I have a GP Christen Eagle, wouldn't taller landing gear help it also since it is basically the same plane?
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:46 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I bought the 8 1/4 tall gear from TNT. They come without holes so you will need to drill for the axles, wheel pants and fuse mounting holes. It is also thicker then the stock gear, so the axles threads don't get far enough into the nuts for my taste. I recessed them into the gear a little to get the nylon of the nuts to get bite thread or two.
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Old 02-18-2005, 07:18 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I'm glad I ran across this thread as I'm planning to buy a GP 1/3 scale Pitts at the WRAM show next week in Ny. I'll also purchase a TNT gear for it while I'm there.
Jay.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:56 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Silversurfer,

Thank you so much for this posting. I own a GP Pitts and have flown it several times. On one take off I tumbled the plane down the runway. Very ugly, very embarassing, expensive, and time consumeing to repair.
It is now repaired and has flown, but im scared of it now. Take offs are so squirely, and landings too. I am going to get some new gear for mine right away.

Thanks again,
Craig
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:07 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Keep in mind that the TNT gear is not going to make the Pitts a *****cat. It subdues some of its bite, but it remains a high performance aerobatic short coupled airplane with high wing loading.

My smoothest landings have been wheel landings with a couple of clicks of throttle at touch down. The worst have been when I pulled back to idle and flared a little too early (about a foot off the ground). Bounced a few times before settling. I have had a few that I went around because the bounce was a tad too high. Smooth application to full throttle with some rudder to keep it straight and go around for another shot.

I have noticed that as I get more comfortable with the plane that I slow it more for landing. The elevator is less effective at low speed and once you flare near stall and you are too high it does not have enough authority to flare again and you can count on bounces. It's just a matter of either wheel landing or well timed flares to get smooth landings.

I have had no problems with ground looping or nose overs, though I have had a couple of times that I have hit rough spots in the grass on rollout or during taxi that it would have if I had not gotten on the elevator quick enough. Nothing that I have not seen on other scale tail draggers though.

Take offs are easy. I tried quick take offs where I drop the hammer, applied a heavy dose of right rudder and gotten smoothly airborne in around 25'. I have also done nice slow long take off runs with light rudder inputs to compensate for torque without any handling difficulties. ground handling was good in both types.

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Old 02-22-2005, 08:01 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

gehr2box,

Thanks for the feed back, I was really interested in what you had to say about take offs, since that is where I am haveing the most problems. Did you fly your Pitts with the stock gear before changing out to the larger size? I am hopeing the new gear will improve ground handleing on take off runs.

I have had problems landing because I let it get to slow on approach, and bounced a few times. The Pitts lands nice and pretty if you keep the speed up on your approach. Wheel landings look Great. Still learning this airplane hope to become comfortable with it this season.
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:14 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I built mine with the TNT gear, but have seen 2 other GP Pitts with the stock gear at my field in action and the landings were not smooth and ground handling seemed a little dicey. The pilots are well seasoned and fly other large scale aerobatic birds with no problems along with test flying other folks war birds on their first flights. I was warned about the Pitts take off habits and was expecting the worst. My first take off did give my a low wing as it broke the ground, but that was a trim issue. Once I trimmed the ailerons take offs were level and smooth.

I don't feel challenged by the take offs at all, so maybe the TNT gear tamed the ground handling more then landing bounces.
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:56 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

KCCraig,

Read through this thread on landing the Christen Eagle, about half down the page, I ask the question about takeoffs. There are some good techniques described there. You sound just like me last summer. I flew my Eagle for the last time of the season late last fall. On my second landing, I said that's it for the year, it was perfect. I bought the plane down at a moderately steep descent with the engine at idle, then a few feet off the ground brought up the throttle for a perfect landing on the mains. Gently eased the engine to idle and didn't give it a lot of elevator, just let the tail settle down. One thing that really helps on the landing is to have the CG at the recommended point or slightly behind...not forward. I had been flying with the CG maybe 3/8" forward and for the last time out, I moved it to about 1/8" to the rear of the recommended point. It makes a big difference!

My taller landing gear arrived from TNT today after ordering it late last week, very quick response.

http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_18...tm.htm#1854989

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Old 02-23-2005, 07:32 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Chuck,

Thanks for the heads up on the CE thread. Read through it all, very interesting. I knew about most of the tricks about landing bipes, but it was interesting to see that others are haveing the same problems I am.
Sounds like the taller and wider gear have really helped some guys, also I'm going to check my wing incidence as that was mentioned as a possible cure.
The best cure seems to be Practice, practice, practice....dough!...this pitts is more demanding than just about any other plane I have ever owned. So once I master it, I will be a better pilot, I hope.

Craig
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:00 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I like to do scale takeoffs so I start at one end of the runway and after about 300 plus feet I pull up. I just ease the throttle and correct with the rudder a little and keep it level with the elevator. If yours is really squirrelly you might want to try some toe in on the mains. Toe out is really hard to control.

Carl
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:51 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

ORIGINAL: gehr2box

After reading this thread and most of the others concerning the GP Pitts I took SilverSurfers advice and bought the TNT gear for my Pitts. Everyone that had seen the other guys at the field fly a GP Pitts and the resulting bouncy landings was impressed with the way mine performed. My first landing was a little hard due to limited elevator travel (GP recommended low rate travel) in the flair, but the plane stuck to the ground and rolled out nicely. No bounces. I've since started landing and taking off with the high rate settings GP recommends and it handles much better.

I was able to induce a bounced landing, but only when I tried to stretch the landing approach. Even then it was not a big problem. I had a couple of high speed landings and the plane stuck to the ground and was able to bleed down the speed near the end of the roll out with rudder.

My Pitts is 18.5 lbs and using a Fuji 50. CG is 5 3/8" from the lead edge of the top wing. No weight was required to achieve this CG. I pinned the firewall, glassed it with 3/4 oz cloth and replaced the cabane and landing gear wood screws with 440 and 6/32 blind nuts and bolts.
I am putting a fuji 50 with electric starter, in my GP Pitts, How does yours fly???
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:26 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Fly's scale. Mine came in at 18.5 lbs with the spring starter. A DA 50 would drop a lot of the weight and make it handle more like a sport plane. Prop selection is important for getting the best performance with the Fuji 50. I have read quite a bit here about props for this engine and using a fish scale I got the most thrust out of a MA 19x8, but it exceeded 11,000 RPM and would turn even faster when it unloads the prop in the air. Too fast in my opinion for an engine that makes max power at 10,000. I also tried a 20x8 and 22x8. Neither generated as much thrust as the 19x8. The 22X8 required considerable mixture adjustment to the rich side before it would turn the prop at full throttle. RPM was around 5700. After a few minutes at full throttle the engine started to bog down from overheating.

The prop I fly with is a 20x10 Zinger Pro. Thrust is 19lbs and RPM is around 7000. Compared to the 19x8 thrust of 19.5 lbs. It sounds much better then the smaller prop and because of the much lower RPM, should help the engine to last longer. Never flew it with the 19x8, I was too concerned about the RPM it might reach.
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Old 05-01-2005, 09:46 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I flew my GP Pitts with the TNT gear today and it definitely makes a difference in landing. I had the same bouncy problem, today the wheels touched and stayed the only problem I had was the plane went to the edge of the runway and next thing I know its on its belly with the gear laying next to it. Ripped the whole LG plate out. There was a quartering Xwind and I was making corrections but obviously not enough. I'd like to know how far the screws should go into the 3 hardwood rails that are underneath the LG plate? Mine were into the rails maybe 3/16 - 1/4 inch, should they go all the way through or only half? This new gear is a bit thicker. One of the guys at the field thought that if the screws were in farther it would have broke the rails. I don't think I had enough screw into the rails.

Steve
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:28 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

I didn't use the wood screws supplied in the kit. Seemed too light weight for gear on a 1/3 size airplane. I replaced them with 6ea 6/32 screws and blind nuts. After the gear was installed I applied some small fiberglass patches over the blind nuts and rails. I also replaced the cabane strut screws in the fuse and wing with 440 screws and blind nuts.
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Old 05-16-2005, 06:26 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Can some one e-mail me and tell me where I can purchase this TnT gear for my Pitts? s_laclair@hotmail.com
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:30 PM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

http://www.tntlandinggear.com/store/..._List_Gear.htm

The one you want is: "Pitts 33% ARF - 8-1/4" Tall, 3/16" Tk. LG16-211A $40.00"
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:12 AM
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Default RE: Better Landings For The Great Planes 1/3 Pitts

Plus $8 S&H
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:46 AM
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Default

I have returned to hobby after a 15 year absence. I just ordered this gear, the price is now 50usd and 11usd shipping.
Still have pitts in basement, I ground looped it on last take off and broke rudder. It has been repaired but not covered.
Hope to get back to flying since I have now started my perpetual weekend. 5 Saturdays and a Sunday.
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