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  • Tailwheel/nosewheel Question

    I know this may sound sacrilegious on this site but has anyone built a 4 place with a nosewheel? Before you tar and feather me I tried the search function and didn’t see anything. And I know the benefits of tailwheel in off airport and backcountry flying are great. I’m just a little late to the party in my md 50’s and prefer to land with nosewheel. I hear I could learn tailwheel landings but I feel I would just be more comfortable landing and typically won’t be landing on rough territory. So just wanted to know if it’s possible or been done already. I really like everything about the BH but this one thing seems to give me pause. Thanks

  • #2
    Granted, I’m not the most 'Bearhawk literate' in the crowd, but I don’t recall discussion of a nosewheel Bearhawk. Making such a modification would be an enormous endeavor. Much more complex and time consuming than transitioning to the tailwheel. Tailwheels don't demand supernatural abilities. They just demand that you focus a bit longer. Before you decide to build a Bearhawk, or walk away because of the gear configuration, find a tailwheel plane to get some familiarity. Personally, I think Citabrias are terrific trainers! Embrace the tailwheel!
    Remember, J-3’s trained an awful lot of pilots!

    Bill

    Comment


    • #3
      I’m sorry I’m not answering your question, but I have to vote for the adapt and overcome option. You can get a decent citabria to learn in for 35-40k. Then sell it for the same. I’ve taught a few students in them and learned to fly in one myself. Totally doable! Don’t be intimidated. After one year with a Citabria you will be uncomfortable in a tricycle gear plane. Heck, if you want to come to Alaska for a few days I might be able to help get you started. Then you might get hooked on the backcountry stuff at the same time.

      Comment


      • Tfoster100
        Tfoster100 commented
        Editing a comment
        Alaska definitely on my bucket list. I may take you up on that. Thanks

    • #4
      Quick, someone get the tar - I have the feathers!

      Comment


      • Tfoster100
        Tfoster100 commented
        Editing a comment
        I was waiting. I know it’s a touchy subject on the other forums.

    • #5
      Ok you guys are probably right. I may go up in one around here and get the feel of it. They sure look cooler. And that’s what counts right.

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      • #6
        It could probably be done but it would take a ton of engineering. The "easy" part would be moving the main gear aft and beefing up the fuselage where you mount the gear. (Its very strong where the main landing gear is supposed to mount) To figure out where and how to mount a nosewheel would be complicated and if you want nosewheel steering, even more so. I'd think it would easily add a year to the build. I hate to say something can't or shouldn't be done as the freedom to do what you want is what I love about experimental homebuilts. But that mod would be a lot of structural changes from the design and you would be basically playing aeronautical engineer at that point (or maybe you are one) I guess I would have to say it would be worth at least trying tailwheel flying first because I think any pilot could become very proficient in tail draggers in a lot less time than it would take to sort out a safe/working nose gear. You are on the right track, trying to figure out how to get into a great aircraft.
        Rollie VanDorn
        Zanesville, OH
        Patrol Quick Build

        Comment


        • aachanis
          aachanis commented
          Editing a comment
          Piper and Maule have both done it, but as Rollie says, it requires reengineering the gear and structure. CG vs. gear placement is important for rotation (unless you want to take off flat like a B-52). The gear may not conveniently line up on a cluster and you'll have to structurally engineer the connection between clusters (it's a different kind of loading). The firewall will have to be beefed up and the nose gear will probably take up engine space. It can be done, but you need to learn or know what the effects will be and be prepared for a lot of time working on it. Rollie may be a little optimistic at one year. You may fly it and decide you need to move something or find that it's not worth it and live with something not as good. Still it is 'experimental'. Do what you want but be aware of the ramifications. Good luck!

      • #7
        Originally posted by Tfoster100 View Post
        Ok you guys are probably right. I may go up in one around here and get the feel of it. They sure look cooler. And that’s what counts right.
        Not really. The instrument rating teaches you a lot about airspace, ATC and reliance on instruments. The tailwheel teaches you mastery of the airplane.
        I’m sure that comes across as snobbery and I apologize, in advance. It’s not about that. Take some time to get comfy in a Citabria. You won’t regret the time it takes.

        Bill

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        • #8
          Jokes aside, tailwheel flying is definitely more flexible and capable than nosewheel flying. Sorry to offend some, but that's a fact. You almost never see nose-draggers landing on the largest rocks.
          The fact is looks cooler is just good luck!

          To answer the OP directly, I have never seen it done - but Maule does it. There must be a way.

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          • #9
            I think if you want a nosewheel on it, the bearhawk is probably not the right aircraft for your mission. Go look at an RV-10.

            Comment


            • JimParker256
              JimParker256 commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, an RV-10 and a Bearhawk have absolutely nothing in common, whereas a Bearhawk and a tri-gear Maule would share a lot more similarities. Yes, they make them and yes, they can land 99% of the places a Bearhawk could land. I love tailwheel airplanes, but you only have a spend a little bit of time on the BackCountryPilots forum to figure out that there are a lot of 206/207s, 182s, 172s, and even 152s landing in the back country. And it's WAY more about pilot skill than it is about where the "odd" wheel is located. You even see Mooneys and Bonanzas landing at a lot of the back country strips. Now, when you get to the point where you're landing in volleyball-sized rocks, you probably need a tailwheel (and Alaska Bush Wheels - the bigger the better)...

            • schu
              schu commented
              Editing a comment
              Jim, "and yes, they can land 99% of the places a Bearhawk could land" absolutely depends on what your definition of "back country" is. If it's gravel strips/bars, then sure... but if it's more landing places that nobody has been to, then having strong gear up front and bushwheels that do a lot to insure against that stump you didn't see, then 99% doesn't apply anymore. Also, I wouldn't put a tri-gear maule on skis.

          • #10
            206's 182's don't land off airport unless it's a hard sand beach or the like. They land away from civilization maybe, but on pretty nice surfaces. Hard packed sand and decently maintained strips. To me, go ahead and get an airplane that is even faster because you don't really need the high lift and drag and you aren't planning on landing off airport, so the nose wheel will suffice.

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            • gregc
              gregc commented
              Editing a comment
              I guess nobody ever told this guy he couldn't do it ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyFcDbqkr2I

            • zkelley2
              zkelley2 commented
              Editing a comment
              All hard packed nice surfaces.
              I have a personal list of off airport sites near me, and stuff like in that video go under the "airport" category because they are so nice and easy to land on with little chance of damage. No need for big tires, etc.
              The video proves my post.
              Last edited by zkelley2; 05-15-2020, 08:14 AM.

            • schu
              schu commented
              Editing a comment
              I wonder how many props that guy goes through. Make no mistake about it, if you are operating on gravel and you only have 10" of prop clearance you are going to go through props.

          • #11
            I wouldn't get on the "tar and feather" train just yet as there are Maules with nose gear, but....I went from a C152 to a Citabria and if "I" can do it, anybody can!! ;-)

            Comment


            • #12
              Originally posted by zkelley2 View Post
              206's 182's don't land off airport unless it's a hard sand beach or the like. They land away from civilization maybe, but on pretty nice surfaces. Hard packed sand and decently maintained strips. To me, go ahead and get an airplane that is even faster because you don't really need the high lift and drag and you aren't planning on landing off airport, so the nose wheel will suffice.
              That's pretty reductive. Plenty of off airport opportunities for the AC Jim listed, skill being the limiting factor.

              OP: As others have said it's really not going to be worth it to try and make a Bearhawk nosedragger. FWIW I'm building a 4 place and have yet to even fly a tailwheel. Zero concerns about it going forward
              Dave B.

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              • #13
                As I am building my 4 Place, I fly with an instructor in his Decathlon about twice a month doing nothing but landings. It's just practice, practice, practice... I want the TW to be the last thing I worry about when I start flying my BH. Even though I received my TW endorsement 20+ years ago.
                Rob Caldwell
                Davidson, North Carolina
                EAA Chapter 309
                BH Model B Quick Build Kit Serial # 11B-24B / 25B
                Build Log: https://bearhawk4place.blogspot.com/
                YouTube Channel: http://bearhawklife.com

                Comment


                • #14
                  For people without tailwheel experience who call or email asking about our kits - I suggest they go get their tailwheel endorsement. I tell them the first couple hours are very humbling since the plane seems to have a mind of its own. Then after a couple hours they start to anticipate and see any diversion sooner from heading straight down the runway. And start putting in the right amount of correction without over correcting the other way. After 6-8 hours they feel good about it and glad they took the training. Mark

                  Comment


                  • jaredyates
                    jaredyates commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I agree and would add that a tailwheel-capable pilot is better at flying nosewheel airplanes also.

                  • Bcone1381
                    Bcone1381 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Did you know that before April of 1991, a tailwheel endorsement did not exist? FAR Currency requirements to carry passengers required 3 take off and landings to a full stop, but one was legal to just go out and fly a tailwheel aircraft solo with no training. Insurance requirements in the 1980's required a 5 hour of experience for me to be covered in a T-craft. I never got any formal training in a tailwheel....I just flew with the seller of the aircraft for 5 hours then off I went.

                    Today's rules are better. Training is better. Doing what I did may have driven the rules of what they are today. But my point is what others have said....go for it and enjoy it. Implement the basic fundamentals that a Cessna doesn't require, and don't relax.

                  • JimParker256
                    JimParker256 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I agree with this whole section. The tailwheel endorsement was a lot of fun, and while a bit challenging at first, quickly just became “the way it is”... And like Jared, I believe it made me a better pilot overall.

                • #15
                  This is the closest thread I could resurrect to ask this question.

                  It is coming time to figure out how to fly with the 3rd wheel on the other end of the airplane. Looking at what it costs to rent a plane, it looks like it might make sense to buy a cheap taildragger and fly 50-200 hours, rather than renting.

                  You can learn in lots of different airplanes. I am really not interested in "the" airplane for tailwheel practice. I guess my biggest priority is being able to sell it easily when I am done, for hopefully not much less than what I paid.

                  Early Cessna's, Pipers's? I heard Luscombes are fun to fly, and they have a stick. Being able to sell it down the road in a timely matter is more important to me than finding the perfect airplane to train in.

                  Super Cub's are way overpriced. Cessna 170's are getting up there in price.

                  Any thoughts? I have slightly above zero experience with light planes, and it was almost all 40 years ago. I have never come close to owning a plane until I bought my kit from Mark.

                  Comment

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