Steerable tail wheel?

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Steerable tail wheel?

Postby BlainS » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:14 pm

I was considering trading back the factory Matco for the locking Pekola. The Matco seemed to have steering arms. Questioned the factory and was told they have the parts to rig it steerable. I have about 350 hours TW time so not too concerned about needing the lockable TW for transition.

Anyone running the stock Matco with steering?
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby FredHoffman » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:43 pm

I have been flying my Highlander with the Pekola tailwheel and for me there is no problem steering with brakes and rudder. I have flown another Highlander with the Matco and springs and I like the non steering Pekola better. I do have a lock and it does not get locked much. I locked it only twice maybe in a year, both were on cross country flights getting caught landing in strong cross winds on pavement.
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby gkremers » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:59 am

I also have the Pekola lockable tailwheel. Been flying with it for almost 7 years, I've only locked it a couple of times. I purchased it because the locking option sounded great for a newbe tailwheel pilot. The truth is I never really felt that I needed it. I have flown other tail draggers with "normal" steerable tailwheels and really like the free castering much better.

Gary
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby BlainS » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:50 pm

Ok, so not using the lock feature of Pekota what would be the difference of using the Matco without steering?
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby BDA » Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:08 am

Maybe I am just not a great pilot -

Or maybe I am pushing the envelope too far -

When I land REALLY SLOW I have it locked because the tailwheel is on the ground first and at a high angle and for quite some distance before the main wheels. Sometimes I will drag my tail wheel for several hundred feet before landing (practice)

At high angle of attack while using alot of power the P factor is very high and the tail is very busy, so the tailwheel is not always perfectly centered.

The lock is very handy for SUPERStol landings
SuperStol XL Alaskan With Titan 340
N331AK. Shawn Taplin
Wing extensions,Symetrical Airfoil tail ribs (NACA 21)
Mods in progress: Heavier struts, Double slotted flaps
Goal: 15mph no wind
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby gkremers » Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:13 pm

Not sure what the difference would be between Pektoa and Matco non-locking. I started out with the Pektoa. I like the way you can fine tune the friction.

I can't speak to the locking feature needs on a Super STOL, I'm flying a Highlander.

Gary
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby Tralika » Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:45 pm

My kit came with a Matco 8" single arm steerable tailwheel. I tried for some time to get to work without success. Steering on the ground was terrible, it would not unlock and free caster to make sharp turns. If I was in a tight spot, I would have to shut down the engine, get out and turn the plane by hand. I know people who have used Matcos on aircraft other than Highlanders without complaint. The problem is with the geometry between the rudder horns and the chain/spring attach point on the tailwheel wings. Just supplies non-standard springs with the kit. When I was trying to get mine to work I called Matco and they said they do not recommend those springs. I bought a set of Matco springs and they didn't work either. The Matco springs were too long to get the correct tension.

I have several thousand hours of tailwheel time but had never flown a non-steerable tailwheel system. I was dubious a non-steerable tailwheel but bought the Pekola 10" locking Tundra Lite. I'm happy with the performance of the Pekola. It tracks nice and straight during taxi, take off and landing. Easy to steer using brakes. I have lots of experience flying in strong gusty crosswinds so I'm a big fan of locking tailwheels. For normal take off and landings you can't tell much difference if the Tundra Lite is locked or not. I still lock it before take off and unlock it after landing even though I just fly for fun now and generally avoid bad weather.

If you fly a Pekola or other non-steerable tailwheel you need to keep in mind that if one of your brakes fail you will have a hard time controlling the plane on the ground. On my pre-landing GUMP check, the "Undercarriage" check is the brakes, pressing hard to make sure they are both firm. If you have a soft brake or one that is not working at all it's important to plan the landing accordingly. It's also a good idea to taxi slowly. A while back a pilot at our local airport taxied out in a Grumman Yankee (free castering nosewheel) and had a brake fail. He ran off the paved taxiway and unfortunately went down into a ditch. It only caused minor damage, could have been a lot worse. The lesson is if you can't steer you plane with anything other than brakes you should adjust the way you operate it accordingly.
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Wasilla, Alaska
Highlander Extreme #191
mykitlog.com/jnealon
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby BlainS » Sat Mar 06, 2021 12:05 am

My people here and locally have convinced me to make the upgrade. Just another few hundred dollars..... :?
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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby danerazz » Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:34 am

BlainS wrote:My people here and locally have convinced me to make the upgrade. Just another few hundred dollars..... :?



Yes, we find ourselves saying that a lot during the build!
Dane

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Re: Steerable tail wheel?

Postby stpilot09 » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:42 pm

BlainS wrote:Ok, so not using the lock feature of Pekota what would be the difference of using the Matco without steering?


If the Matco free is castering then it would be the same as the Pekola, minus the lock. The only time I've used the lock on mine was landing a steep side hill, other than that its more in the way than anything else. I constantly hit the lever with my leg.. Its safety wired in the unlocked position now.

Tim
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