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Author Topic: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:  (Read 759 times)

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Dan_Root

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Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« on: September 12, 2016, 08:57:24 AM »
Usual disclaimers:  Donít try this at home, Iím not trying to measure my boy parts against others in the sense of stating ďLook what I can doĒ.  Etc. etc. etc.

Tailwheel (Maule) has been a little shaky the past few months.  Itís been in place since my student days and clearly taken a beating.  These days, it really gets only minus use and usually touches earth when the airplane is slow.  Last few months Iíve noticed it shimmies a bit, easy fix to pick up the tail again, then touch down again softly, smooth.

Packed a little grease and adjusted the top nut just a tad last week (can you see where this is going)?  Next flight was a super smooth tailwheel, I was so pleased!  This weekend while taxiing, the wheel failed to lock.  Pulled to a tie-down, shut down, checked a few things.  Sure enough, I guess the straw that broke the camelís back was probably the adjustment I made.

The part of this long story is what I did next:  I shrugged it off.  Bummer I thought, but certainly not a showstopper.  The convenience of having the tailwheel lock means less brake usage during taxiing.  So off I went for a weekend of flying.  Nothing notable of course, TOís and landings were normal for me.  Once airspeed over the rudder was low enough, I used light touch on the brakes to keep directional ground control.

New parts already on order of course.  No plans to fly again until all pieces have been replaced.  Not something I would run with planned, but just didnít see it as a showstopper for the stops we had over the weekend.
L8A - Slightly modified

richas

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 09:39:13 AM »
My Pacer developed a wicked shimmy, it turned out that he tailwheel springs had lost their arch.  I replaced the springs with new from Alaska Bushwheels and the shimmy is gone.

Rich

will moffitt

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 01:09:01 PM »
No use to let a little thing like that slow you down Dan, but it is probably a good thing to get it fixed.

will

hotrod180

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 06:16:02 PM »
I'm not sure what they hope to achieve, but some Supercub guys disconnect the steering chains from their Scott 3200 t/w's, and I assume also remove the part ("compression spring") that allows the t/w assembly to lock in to and out of the full swivel mode.

While your tailwheel  probably works OK, if it was mine I would feel better if it was working as old BD Maule intended and would fix it.
I know the innards of a Scott 3200/3400 pretty well, and know what does what, but I have zero experience with a Maule.
But I'm pretty sure by replacing a part or two, you can have it back to normal pretty easily.
The Spruce catalog has a couple exploded drawings of Maule tailwheels, and a list of replacement parts.

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/lgpages/maule_sfsatw.php?recfer=3001

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/lgpages/maule_sfsp8atw.php?recfer=3001

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/lgpages/mauleparts.php

Dan_Root

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 07:33:13 AM »
I didn't have time over the weekend to take the unit apart for inspection.  I'm heading to the hangar today to do that.

I'll get it fixed before my next flight.

Interesting to read some disconnect letting the tailwheel essentially become a free turning caster wheel!  The rudder on the Luscombe doesn't have enough encouragement at low speed to think I could leave my failed lock alone.  Well, I guess I could, but at the expense of using more brakes and the risk of not being on the brakes fast enough.

Thanks for the links hotrod, nothing looks too spendy (thankfully).
L8A - Slightly modified

Dan_Root

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 03:53:14 PM »
Update:

Old grease was pushed into the little spring loaded lock pin when new grease was pushed in using the zerk fitting.  The old grease was dirty and pretty solid.  Cleaned up, fresh grease, works like new.

Interesting; I asked someone who has a kitfox and they said they don't have a lock on the tailwheel.  Basically just a wheel and caster.  More common than I thought.
L8A - Slightly modified

hotrod180

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Re: Operating a tailwheel without the tailwheel lock:
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 08:45:34 AM »
Tailwheel steering is just one more tool (along with brakes, flight controls, and throttle) to make the airplane do what you want it to do on the ground.
I'll take all the help I can get.