Converting Taildraggers to Tri Gear

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JayKoit

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Does anyone here have experience in taking a conventional gear kit plane or plans built plane that was designed for conventional gear and converting it to tricycle gear? I'm looking for any advice/warnings/do's and dont's, weight and balance issues etc. in the process so I know what I'd be up against in doing so. To clarify, I really like the Fisher Dakota Hawk, but its a Taildragger and I prefer tri gear, so I'd like to transform it into a mini "Tri Pacer" if you will. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

TFF

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You will have to duplicate the conventional front mount at the rear location with the same needed stress distribution. That would be the easiest. Nose comes down to where you can mount it. A normal 4130 tube engine mount could add gear mounting, like a mini RV-A. Grumman Yankees have a large tube just behind the firewall horizontally; bolted in with flanges on the outboard sides. The gear has a perpendicular sleeve welded to the cross piece that the nose strut slips in. Both those are differential braking for steering. You could come up with a Cessna 150 nose gear and mount for steering but it is heavier. I'm weighing Conventional and trigear Tailwind build. Tailwind trigear does it like an RV.
 

SpainCub

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Jay, have you flown the Dakota Hawk at all? If you like the flying characteristics and the approach speed, that is all related to the AoA that you get (IMHO) in a three point landing/takeoff on a tailwheel. also, there is a lot more involved in changing that design to tri-gear, as the attach points for the from gear will retire reinforcement that is not there now. Have you contacted the designer to see if they can help? Hope that helps.
 

autoreply

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Save the above advice, have a good look at the braking forces (typically around 2*MTOW). If you maintain the same mounting point for the gear but "invert" it, such that it's now swept backwards, those points will see a very high spanwise moment.
 

Jan Carlsson

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"Converting Taildraggers to Tri Gear"
I hope you mean the other way around, the difference is a pilot or a driver.
 

bmcj

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First reaction.... WHY????

Some of the obvious considerations:
1. Nosegear mounting - motor mount, firewall, or airframe.
2. Nosegear type - steerable or free swivel.
3. Nosegear geometry - angles, trail, and caster all play into effectiveness, stability and shimmy.
4. Maingear mounting - you will likely need reinforcement at any new mount points, unless maybe you can reverse the gear and use the same mount points.
5. Maingear positioning - you want to position the gear so that you can easily lift/hold the nose off the ground during take-off and landing, but you do not want it to be too light on the nosegear (affects rotation sensitivity and steering effectiveness).
6. Propellor length - your max allowable propeller diameter may be restricted due to the nose sitting lower.
7. Entry/egress - the new maingear position may affect (improve or degrade) ease of cockpit access.
8. Performance - a nosegear adds drag.
9. Embarrassment - it's hard to ignore the other pilots pointing and laughing at your training wheel. :gig:
 

JayKoit

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Haha okay, okay, of course I expected the "training wheel"/Dan Thomas remarks to come out with this post! :)

Let me first say that if I build the Dakota Hawk, I will be installing hard points and reinforcements in the fuselage for the main gear in both the tri-gear AND conventional positions, so I can have both. I'm not averse to taildraggers, just only flown 172's and da-40's at this point, so it's all I know. Don't worry Dan (and bjmc and the rest), I'll be getting my endorsement, but I want a tri gear option because my end game is to get a C206 to fly my family around in, so I don't want to rack up ALL my flight time in taildraggers...

SpainCub, I have not flown the Hawk, but just had a look at one at my local airport monthly fly-in last month, and was impressed. I talked to Paul Reidlinger at Fisher on the phone yesterday and he said the Hawk could be a candidate for tri gear, in fact, he told me that one day (hopefully soon, but who knows when) they are actually going to fit a nosewheel on the Hawk and start testing it out, see if they can start offering it as a kit option. So, in my case, it may be doable. He said there's room to shift the gear back along the bottom of the fuse and put on a nosewheel...

TFF/Autoreply/bmcj, thanks for the insights. the weight and balance distro are what have me most concerned, finding that sweet spot of how far back to move the gear.
 

TFF

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There are good reasons to have a nose gear. Most have nothing to do with the pilot. The only things pilot wise is the plane can handle a little more crosswind. The rear gear is easier to land, taxi, and see out of while taxiing. All of those things are just good training away from being non issues. The main reason for tri-gear is it is easier on non aviation riders. It sits like a car; it loads like a car. An initiated and willing family is great, but more people than not have families that are iffy on the flying hobby. Riders dont feel secure raked back while taxiing or sliding into a back seat of a taildragger; kind of a pain. As for personal flying I like tailwheel; for flying others trigear, so you need 2 planes like everyone should! I am looking building a trigear Tailwind mainly for when others go with me. It does change the look of the plane. The taildragger ones look a little bulldog like and the nose gear ones look sleeker for some reason.
 

JayKoit

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There are good reasons to have a nose gear. Most have nothing to do with the pilot. The only things pilot wise is the plane can handle a little more crosswind. The rear gear is easier to land, taxi, and see out of while taxiing. All of those things are just good training away from being non issues. The main reason for tri-gear is it is easier on non aviation riders. It sits like a car; it loads like a car. An initiated and willing family is great, but more people than not have families that are iffy on the flying hobby. Riders dont feel secure raked back while taxiing or sliding into a back seat of a taildragger; kind of a pain. As for personal flying I like tailwheel; for flying others trigear, so you need 2 planes like everyone should! I am looking building a trigear Tailwind mainly for when others go with me. It does change the look of the plane. The taildragger ones look a little bulldog like and the nose gear ones look sleeker for some reason.
Good thoughts, thanks. And making my family feel comfortable with flying is one of my top priorities.

by the way, I got sample drawings today from Fisher for nosewheel plans. When the time comes I'll be flying less blind than I originally thought.
 

bmcj

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Yes, as much as we ridicule nosewheels, there is really nothing wrong with them... just not as much fun as a tailwheel.
 

Dan Thomas

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Heck, why not have both? :roll:

Easy to do with the Glastar. The steel-tube cage inside the fuselage has the mounts for both taildragger and trike gear on it, so that's what this guy did, obviously. Bought an extra pair of legs and wheels for it. I bet taxiing it will make it pitch like a tugboat on a rough sea.

Skid steering, too.

Dan
 

akwrencher

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Found it in Kitplanes, he is in the middle of converting it TO a taildragger. Couldn't help sticking it on here:) REAL training wheels! LOL
 
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