UL First Flight .....Not Enough Rudder Authority or Just Bad Gear

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Dan Thomas

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Both. That flimsy gear distorted and did whatever it wanted, steering the airplane all over the place. The bigger problem, I think, was the lack of keel area. That uncovered fuselage has no effective lateral stabilizing ability, and the fin needs to be a lot bigger to make up for it. Cutting the throttle on landing left the rudder with little to work with; it really needed a bigger fin to help keep it straight. Lots of prop blast on takeoff kept the rudder working.

Every modification (or simplification) can introduce unintended consequences (or complications).
 

Dana

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As much as that gear was flexing, it could well have overpowered a normal rudder's ability to correct, though we couldn't see what he was doing with it. A misaligned gear can make an otherwise tame airplane into a holy terror on the ground.
 

Pops

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Looked sort of like my ground loop when I was a student pilot in a Smith Mini-Plane. Except no damage and when I went off the runway 90 degrees from the runway the field had hay about as high as the spinner. Chopped hay on the lower wings , wing struts, landing gear and tails. No one showed up to help, so I locked a wheel up and did a 180 and chopped my way back to the runway.
 

TFF

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Gear towing wherever is going to win. Windshield can blank the tail also. He will have to put gear under it that won’t steer, then he can see if rudder is enough.
Lucky.
 

13brv3

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I'd love to know what that gear is made of. Looks like rubber :) I had a stock Airbike, and it was a pussycat to land, with no rudder authority issues at all. It looks like he made a pretty soft landing, so those gear legs must have just been completely inadequate. I'd bet it was either not straight, or possibly the left brake was dragging. He definitely used up his luck for the day.
 

Scottiniowa

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One has to wonder, if "most of the airbikes" had no problems, what makes this one different? There was lots of them flying, so something worked.... Perhaps the "gear change" should go with what it was designed to be, if this gear was not built to plans. (sounds like they didn't know) We always learn.. cheers!
 

radfordc

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One has to wonder, if "most of the airbikes" had no problems, what makes this one different? There was lots of them flying, so something worked.... Perhaps the "gear change" should go with what it was designed to be, if this gear was not built to plans. (sounds like they didn't know) We always learn.. cheers!

What you see there isn't an Airbike, but rather a scratch built "look a like".
 

Tiger Tim

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Look carefully at the airframe: while it closely resembles an AirBike, it isn't an exact copy.
Designing and building a light airplane and releasing drawings so that others can too is a bucket list item for me but this sort of thing freaks me out. Some guy goes and makes a bunch of changes or just builds something that looks vaguely alike, posts a big failure online, and suddenly “Them Airbikes ain’t got good gear” is likely going to be said until the end of time.
 

Dana

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In this case I think it was an "abandoned airplane barn find", so nobody really knows much about it, they've just been assuming it's an Airbike.
 

Doran Jaffas

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And that is all it is.
There are basic design type criteria that are in most basic designs. If they look a little different or looked a little too much like Quincy shall we say they're probably going to have issues. At best without checking the materials and the type structure you can have a problem what you have experienced here. I'm not saying that everything should be overbuilt. To the contrary but this particular aircraft seemed like it was under built. And that is a cause for concern and could be a recipe for disaster. If you know the design criteria for that particular aircraft or the design that the pilot had his mind it gives you an edge. In this case I think there were too many unknowns and it could have turned out badly had the airplane left the ground. I know that this particular individual has got some skill. I just hope that he understands every type of airplane is different and must be treated accordingly and acted as though it is in a test faze. If you are flying an aircraft that has flown for hundreds of hours but it is new to you you must treat this is a brand new airplane. At least wise for the first few hours. Enough of my rambling. I enjoy this forum. There is a lot of information here and I would just like to see everybody be very very careful. That way we can all enjoy the airplanes no matter what you call them, in ways it will give us many many hours enjoyment.
 

Victor Bravo

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There are X number of Airbikes flying, with and without fabric on the tailcone.

There are Y number of Legal Eagles flying, with and without fabric on the tailcone.

What is the incidence of poor ground handling on any/all of those airplanes? I'd actually like to know because I have a Legal Eagle that I haven't flown yet.
 

radfordc

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There are X number of Airbikes flying, with and without fabric on the tailcone.

There are Y number of Legal Eagles flying, with and without fabric on the tailcone.

What is the incidence of poor ground handling on any/all of those airplanes? I'd actually like to know because I have a Legal Eagle that I haven't flown yet.

I have 250 hours on an Airbike. It flies and lands just like a Taylorcraft, but 10 mph slower. The only time it was sensitive was on pavement, but still easy to control.
 

Victor Bravo

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Careful, VB: you may not go back to your 172! :)

I actually really love the old straight-tail 172, even more so now that (with today's prices) it is apparently worth eleven million dollars. I only dislike it for one reason, and even that I can't blame on it; I've gotten lazy and rusty flying something so easy and mellow.
 
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