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Old 12th Aug 2018, 07:03
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,804
Originally Posted by Aussie Bob View Post
Come on Leadie, you getting jaded? This is the best improvement possible to do to a 150. Even better when 150hp is added.
Aussie Bob,
Not really, but why mess up the handling of a nice little aeroplane that is, as built, quite pleasant to fly.

Cast your minds back, folks ---- all the very early aeroplanes sat with the fuselage more or less parallel with the ground, and when accelerated to flying speed, rotated to the flying attitude, not through the flying attitude and back again to actually fly.

Then the various hostilities leading up the WWI produced major advances in motor engines, including for aeroplane engines, all of a sudden engines became available with HP in three figures, and bigger props were needed to convert this mighty 100+ HP into thrust, which meant bigger diameters. Now, these bigger diameters had to be kept out of the dirt, but long spindly and draggy undercarriages were not an attractive proposition.

Low and behold, some bright spark invented the tailwheel (or skid) undercarriage, and much more room for a prop, as long as you didn't raise the tail too high on takeoff. And, of course, introduced a whole raft physical/aerodynamic effects, none of which improved the "air safety outcomes".

Somehow, despite the history, this "tail down" arrangement became a "conventional undercart" and so matters proceeded. Indeed, the greater part of ab nitio flying training was devoted to learning to master the adverse flying characteristics NOT present in the original aeroplanes. Come to think of it, many of those very early aircraft even had contra-rotating props, ergo no swing.

By the time you got to the late 1930s, there was some re-thinking going on ---- Consolidated produced the B-24, (and the amphib Catalina) but Boeing persisted with tail wheels. There were far more B-24s produced than B-17s, I have often wondered if part of the reason the B-17 is so much better know is the much more film footage of B-17s getting it spectacularly badly wrong on takeoff and landing exists for Hollywood exploitation.

The DC-4 and the Lockheed Constellation are both late 1930s aeroplanes, but the poms persisted long after WWII with tailwheels , think Vickers Viking, Avro Ashton and that flying abortion, the Handley-Page Hastings. The later Hermes did have a nose wheel, but that is about all it had going for it.

Cessna sales really only took off after WWII with the C-172. Likewise Piper sales with the Colt and Tri-Pacer. Not all developments of nose-wheel versions of earlier designs worked out, think the Beagle Ordeal --- sorry, Airdale.

Some of the taildrager twins I have flown have had handling characteristic that were semi-lethal (think DH Dragon Rapide or any DH bi-plane with tapered wings) and the history of the DH 86A & B are too well known to need repeating. The Beech 18 is a lovely old aeroplane, but the Volpar nosewheel version is far more relaxing at low speed. Like a DC-3/C-47, an original Beech 18 can really bite. About the only little taildrager twin I have flown, that didn't give the impression it was waiting to bite was the Miles Gemini. All the above from personal experience, not just theory.

So, despite all the reasons to the contrary, a tailwheel/skid aeroplane is regarded as a higher form of aeronautical life, why??

I ask again, why bother??

Tootle pip!!
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