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Ballast - Weighted Tailwheel

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nanart

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Dec 19, 2012
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I need to add ballast to my plane. Before I start adding lead, does anyone know if there's such thing as a weighted tailwheel? If I could get a tailwheel that's 10 pounds I might be able to avoid adding ballast to the tail. The tailwheel I currently have is 6 x 2.125 x 5/8 - P/N 06-03600 and 2.75 pounds.

Thanks!
 

Hot Wings

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If it were a pneumatic tail wheel you could use the tractor method of filling it calcium chloride saturated water.
If you 'tire' isn't completely solid you might be able to drill and fill?
 

Rockiedog2

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No way to get some weight off the front?
You probably know the battery is usually the first place to check. Move it or go to an Earthx lithium. The weight loss there is typically about 10#. Earthx is only thing I run anymore. Got it in all my bikes and planes.
 

TFF

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Make the mount brackets heavier. Added to a heavier wheel might get you there. I have had to add ballast to a Grumman and a Stits Playboy. About 5 lb each time. The issue of that much weight besides having to add it is it takes a bunch of space. Hard to hide. The famed Home Depot plane Woodpecker had to add ballast and the solution was a two foot rod holding a trailer hitch. Used the hitch for ground handling and it got the weight further back for less of it. Getting the CG right went from barely missing LSA to decently slow stall.
 

Dana

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Hah! No doubt you remember the trailer hitch that was clamped alongside the battery on my Starduster to compensate for the lighter battery...

But hmmmm.... a heavier tailwheel would lower the resonant frequency it shimmies at, possibly eliminating the shimmy... or it could make it more violent.
 

Riggerrob

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Also consider bolting on a glider tow hook.
The tow hook will make a nice tie-down anchor, but can save your and arm and a leg when hand-propping.
 

Riggerrob

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Grumman Trainer was slightly nose-heavy when brand-new, so the factory bolted a lead brick into the aft fuselage. This came in handy when ELTs came into fashion. Mechanics simply un-bolted and discarded the lead brick and bolted in the new ELT which weighed about the same. No change to weight and balance.
 

Dan Thomas

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But hmmmm.... a heavier tailwheel would lower the resonant frequency it shimmies at, possibly eliminating the shimmy... or it could make it more violent.
This. And the extra weight would probably break something in the tail if it did shimmy. Gyroscopic forces during the roll might make it hard to steer, too. Taildraggers sure don't need sluggish steering in the landing roll.

Much better to shift some weight. Adding weight to the tail to counter a heavy nose will make spin recovery harder. The airplane will tend to go flat in the rotation as the masses at each end try to come into the same rotational plane.
 

radfordc

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I was test flying a Rans Coyote for a friend and it needed a little more tail weight. A big Crescent wrench did the trick.
 

TFF

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The trailer hitch in the Starduster was cost savings. The original lead acid went bad and Jerry had a number of odyssey batteries for people would give him because he had them in the other plane and helicopter. Free battery and Free steel.
 

Rockiedog2

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I wonder what plane/motor we’re talking about. Some combinations will never amount to much so yeh might as well throw some weight at it.(for instance Zenith 701/small Continental). But if it has potential to be a “fine”, proper and correct airplane I have cut em up and redid as necessary to get it as good as it can be.
In my world, ballast is a distant last resort. I like to go to the other end and try there
 

wsimpso1

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Add 10 pounds at the tail wheel? Not just making the bird heavier, but making the Inertia much larger too? UGH! Besides reducing performance, it will make spin recovery more difficult.

Four big ways you can fix it...

Use lighter stuff forward of the CG;
Move stuff aft;
Shorten the engine mount and cowling;
Lengthen the aft fuselage.

Three of these four add no weight, the fourth will likely add less than a pound, and the combination of these should get you there without making spin recovery worse.

Billski
 

TFF

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Some planes need to just fly and some need to be perfect. Without knowing what it is, new or old build, crazy modification, it’s just 10 lbs to fly.
 
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