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fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

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Old 05-13-2003, 10:01 PM
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chrisdodge65
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

I have a tri gear trainer I plan on converting to tail dragger.The only problem is it's impossible to attach the tail wheel rod to the rudder because the elevator push rod is directly in the way.Now 2 methods came to mind.A fixed non steering tail wheel or a castering tail wheel.My question is with a fixed tail wheel will there be much or any control of the tail while taxing.And with a castering wheel will I have much steering or is this a dangerous idea.
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Old 05-13-2003, 10:20 PM
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

Go with the fixed tail wheel. The castoring tail wheel will allow the plane to rotate into the wind in cross wind conditions . The fixed will not.

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Old 05-15-2003, 09:15 PM
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

Goes to show you how different our opinions can be. I'd go with a castering tail wheel. You can use the rudder for turning and countering crosswinds.
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Old 05-16-2003, 01:09 PM
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

I would not use a castoring tail wheel as I did on a small plane and it was a nightmare. I have yet to see a plane that a tail wheel could not be used on.
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Old 05-16-2003, 01:10 PM
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

I think the bottom line here is:

It's really noit going to make much difference, do whatever is easiest.
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Old 05-16-2003, 08:40 PM
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SigFan
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

I had a castoring tail wheel in a sig LT25. It was a real handful to taxi in a cross wind. I used to have to taxi it by giving it quick bursts of power to get airflow over the rudder. Of course the plane was so light it was back and forth like a drunk coming back in after a flight!

Try it both ways, if the castoring wheel is too much, you can always lock it with a drop of glue.

You might also consider running a sulivan control rod thru the bottom of the plane from the opposite side of your rudder servo to the tail wheel and turn it that way.

Good luck.
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Old 05-18-2003, 06:39 PM
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MarkVZ
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

It depends on the area of the rudder of you ask me. With a fully castoring tailwheel, you will be using bursts of power to maneuver the plane on the ground. Only the aerodynamic forces produced by the rudder will turn the plane, and this requires airspeed generated from the propeller. On funflies, I have no problem with a castoring tailwheel because of the massive rudder area. A trainer, howerver, may lack the rudder area necessary to manneuver your plane on the ground without massive power inputs.
You might look into using a simple wire skid, as the fixed tailwheel will give you very little maneuverability on the ground. The skid will be more stable on the ground and can double as a brake with full up-elevator while taxiing below flying speeds. The skid will allow you to taxi with bursts of power, but won't be nearly as over-sensitive as a castoring tailwheel. just get that tail up on takeoff and the drag produced by the skid won't matter anymore.

Mark VanZwoll
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Old 05-20-2003, 03:41 AM
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feihu-RCU
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

Chris -

It depends on the type of field/runway you're operating from.
If you're operating off of a grass field, then a plain ole tailskid is fine; but if you're operating off of a smooth runway, then beware!
Since you don't have a steerable tailwheel, then your taxiing will be compromized. If you have a lightly wingloaded airplane, then you might be able to get away with a castering tailwheel with a tilted pivot for centering. However, if your airplane has a high wing loading and rolling friction is low, then a fixed tailwheel is best. Also, note that under identical wind and runway conditions, some taildraggers can takeoff with no problems, while others are a bear to handle. You should also note that piloting technique can compensate for some ground handling problems.

My 2 cents.
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Old 05-20-2003, 04:00 AM
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David Cutler
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Default fixed tail wheel or castering tail wheel

Surely there must be some way to get the rudder to steer the tailwheel?

How about using a control horn on both the rudder and the wheel, offset to miss the elevator?

-David C.
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