Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Tailwheel

I have changed many a tire in my day. It is one of those things that the FAA has graciously allowed the lowly non-mechanic pilot to do, but this one was different. My cub has a solid rubber tailwheel tire. This was upgraded from just a tail skid back in the 40s. In some ways the tail skid seems like it would be easier to control for some of my students, as the stearable tailswheel seems to baffle some people. The skid would have been a stricktly grass operation however. The scraping sound on the asphalt would drive me nuts. Anyway... My plane came with this tailwheel that has been on it for some number of years. Much of the solid rubber has worn away and some of the metal that the solid rubber is bound to was starting to show through. It was also no longer really round. When rolled, it did not have a round orbit, but more an escentric orbit. Every time that I landed the plane you could hear and feel the tailwheel. I thought this was just a normal part of flying this particular airplane. Anyway... Since there was metal showing, I ordered a new tailwheel tire from Aircraft Spruce. It came with new bearings, a new hubcap, a new hub bolt, and even a new cotter pin for about $95. The old tire came off really easily and the new one went on just as easily. I was done with the change in less than 30 minutes. I did four landings after the change and the feeling is like night and day. When the tailwheel comes down or on a three point landing the ride is smooth and quiet. I should have done this years ago.

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