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Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:15 am
by BucF16
I need to make my decision pretty soon. I have a Pekola Locking tailwheel, so I need a place for the locking lever. I never had a PB on any of my Pitts/Christen Eagle aircraft, or my J3. So. please offer any ideas as to whether or not to have one.


Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:05 am
by FlyerChief
Hi Bruce,
Since you are talking about two separate items I will try to provide my take on both.
As for the locking tailwheel, I mounted the lever over the pilot-side door frame. It's easy to reach obviously, but more importantly, I can't get into the plane without noticing the lever is down if the tailwheel is locked. Keep in mind that the tailwheel lock only keeps the tailwheel straight. Manouvering the plane on the ground is next to impossible when it's locked, but it will still roll straight forward and backward with ease.


Parking brakes require a separate installation. I used the Matco parking brake...
I mounted mine on the firewall and connected it to a pull cable mounted on the panel. I don't know how anyone survives without parking brakes... they are so easy to use and virtually eliminate the need to carry wheel chocks.

When the plane is on the floats, I still use the parking brake a lot, but the tailwheel lock is obviously disconnected.

Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:07 pm
by Tralika
My opinion:
Tail wheel lock, Yes. It can be a real life saver when dealing with a strong crosswind. It also reduces tail-wheel shimmy. If you forget to unlock the tail-wheel when turning on the ground it's no big deal, just unlock it and turn.

Parking brake, No. 1) I don't trust them to hold, I'd rather use chocks. 2) Since I live in a cold climate I don't want to risk having the brake pads freeze to the rotors. I never use the parking brake in a car for the same reason. 3) I've seen two planes that landed with the parking brake set, a Beaver and an Otter. Those accidents occurred a couple years apart but at the same airport by the same operator. Nobody hurt in either but very expensive.

Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:26 pm
by FlyerChief
John makes a good point about not landing with the brakes on. In my Highlander, I mounted the parking brake knob right next to the throttle so it's very obviously in the way of my hand just a bit when the brake is on. Since the choke is on the other side of the throttle and it's also always retracted in flight, it makes for a very simple visual check on the brake knob too. If you are flying and they are not both pushed in... something's wrong. (brake is on) I've found it to be a great location for the brake knob and never had any issues with them not working as intended. As I said, I use it a lot and can't imagine not having a parking brake.


Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:04 pm
by gkremers
I have a Pekola Locking tailwheel...But to tell you the truth I never lock it. When I first built the plane a was a newbie at tailwheels so thought I would use it all the time. I did use it in the beginning a few times but that was it. My TW lock handle is right next to the flap handle. I didn't install a parking brake, maybe just the area I fly in but never really needed it. When I park the wheels are chocked right away, just a habit I've had for over 30 years.



Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:50 pm
by taildrgfun
I couldn't stand it to not have a parking brake. I use it all the time, I'm sure I land on more hills than most people but a lot of places I could not even get out of my airplane if I did not have a parking brake. If you will be on flat ground it would not be nearly as important but I think it would still be very convenient. My push pull choke type cable is mounted to my flap handle, so it has a short cable to the parking brake that is mounted under the passenger seat. I never land without flaps. When I put my hand on my flap lever if the parking brake is on it is very apparent to me, that way I will never accidentally land with the parking brake on.

Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:41 pm
by BucF16
Well, a Parking Brake is in my future.
Thanks to all those who contributed to this thread.


Re: Parking Brake, Yes or No

PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:17 pm
by danerazz
I don't understand the "landing with p/brake on" issue. You certainly didn't take off with it on, you don't need to use it in flight, so how does one land with it on? I know it happens, at my last job somebody landed an EMB-145 in Newark with the parking brake on, blew all the tires and did a couple spins on the runway. I won't get into details, I'm sure everybody can find the report somewhere online, but suffice it to say somebody was doing something stupid and deliberate.

Barring that, and I hope everybody has the restraint to keep from deliberately putting it on in flight, it just shouldn't be an issue. In UH-60s, you often land with it on when landing on grass or other unpaved surfaces, but it is a checklist item on the very short pre-landing checklist so you don't land on asphalt with it on. That obviously wouldn't be an issue in a highlander.

I put a brake on mine, not as a substitute for chocks, but, like Steve, as something to just hold the plane in place when I get in and out (granted I will probably never need it like he does). It is a relatively minor thing to add for a useful convenience.