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  #1  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:08 PM
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apkp777 apkp777 is offline
 
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Default Van's VS Screaming Eagle VS Bell tailwheel? Which is best?

I am looking at my tail wheel and can see that the stock Van's tailwheel leaves something to be desired.

First, it has a near vertical front end that certainly won't "ride" over sharp edges (concrete transitions) very well.

Second, I am 6'3" and find that while taxiing my -9 I have to "S" turn to get a clear view ahead. A tail wheel that sits a bit higher would be great.

Third, I have a slightly tail heavy plane and a lighter tailwheel assembly would go a long way to helping my CG.

I see that many have gone with other model tailwheels. What are the pros and cons of the various models. I am only aware of the "Screaming Eagle/Vince Frazier" and Bell models. There may be more?

I like the looks of the Screaming Eagle, but the Bell looks solid also?
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:32 PM
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Alan Carroll Alan Carroll is offline
 
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Default

I've got the Frazier tailwheel fork and it works great. I suspect that any design other this one and Vans will be heavier.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:39 PM
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Garage Guy Garage Guy is offline
 
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Are you looking for a tailwheel fork or a tailwheel or both?

Alex De Dominicis has a tailwheel fork very similar to the Bell: http://www.shop.aviationtechproducts...?categoryId=12

Personally I don't mind the fork I have (stock Vans) as much as the tailwheel (Flyboy Accessories blue), which is sure noisy when taxiing. I'd like to try a foamed or pneumatic tire but there don't seem to be any very good options out there.

--Paul
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  #4  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:44 PM
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apkp777 apkp777 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garage Guy View Post
Are you looking for a tailwheel fork or a tailwheel or both?

Alex De Dominicis has a tailwheel fork very similar to the Bell: http://www.shop.aviationtechproducts...?categoryId=12

Personally I don't mind the fork I have (stock Vans) as much as the tailwheel (Flyboy Accessories blue), which is sure noisy when taxiing. I'd like to try a foamed or pneumatic tire but there don't seem to be any very good options out there.

--Paul
I guess possibly both the fork and the wheel itself would perhaps help.

Today while landing at a nearby grass strip (In a Warrior) they have a great soft field but have a paved taxiway. The transition is 2 or 3 inches and I can see the stock Van's fork getting hung up on it.
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:48 PM
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mannanj mannanj is offline
 
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Default Fork

I have Bell on my -8 and my friend Allen has Vince Frasier's on his -8. Either is a drop in replacement and far better than Van's.

The Bell raised the tail enough to make an improvement in the sight picture over the nose.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2010, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mannanj View Post
I have Bell on my -8 and my friend Allen has Vince Frasier's on his -8. Either is a drop in replacement and far better than Van's.

The Bell raised the tail enough to make an improvement in the sight picture over the nose.
It looks like the Bell also moves the wheel slightly forward. Maybe a few inches. Is that correct?

Any idea how much taller the Bell is than the stock?
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  #7  
Old 06-10-2010, 07:11 PM
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mannanj mannanj is offline
 
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Default Tony

It has been so long since I replaced mine---I won't pass out any numbers. Go back to the archives and pull up the first Bell Tailwheel post started by Paul Dye (Ironflight). Somewhere in the hundreds of replies, someone did a photo comparison, I believe with a ruler in the shots.

I know this doesn't help a lot in this modern day of "instant gratification".
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2010, 07:12 PM
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Pat Hatch Pat Hatch is offline
 
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I have the Frazier tailwheel fork and it has many advantages, but the one that stood out for me is that it readily adapts to Van's tailwheel fairing, if you are so inclined. Actually, I got two Frazier forks. One for rough fields without the fairing and one with for paved strips:





Other advantages are more obstacle clearance, reduced pedal force while taxiing, and less side load on the spring knuckle. This side load has been the cause for the AN3 bolts shearing on the knuckle in a lot of cases. The increased visibility over the nose is minimal but noticeable.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2010, 09:09 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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I have flown with three of the various types - API, Van's, and Bell. We also own one of the Aviationtech "Bell Clones", but haven't flown it yet - I expect there will be no difference between it and the Bell (noticeable from the cockpit).

Van's, Vince's, Bell and AviationTech all use the same "Knuckle" on the end of the tail wheel spring - you don't have to change it. They all also use the same steering arm and axle bolt. The API has it's own shaft diameter (slightly less than Van's), so you have to use their knuckle and steering arms - as well as a different axle, which means different bearings. If you buy that one, you have to match drill the two holes to the spring for the mounting bolts. Not a big Deal, but it takes an hour (and careful measurement).

The API, Bell, and AviationTech all look similar - rounded forks that are really pretty looking and have the greatest ground clearance - the wheel will hit ANYTHING before the fork will. Vince's and Van's are more like heavy "sheet" wrapped around to the axles. Vince's has far better ground clearance than Van's.

When I changed to the API on the Valkyrie, it was pretty much the only easily available option. if I were to change it out today, I'd go with the Bell or AviationTech for commonality purposes with the rest of the "fleet". It is a pain to need a different wheel and steering arm. Not that they have to be changed all that often, but I like commonality. I haven't used Vince's, but have read nothing but good things about it.

While there are different heights involved, my personal experience is that an inch or two of tail height disappears if you squirm in your seat just a tad, or sit differently, or the cushions are cold rather than hot. Minor irregularities in a turf runway will matter more than which wheel you have - unless you get one of those monster tundra tailwheels of course....

That's about all my experience with the different wheels - I have a few hundred hours with each, and honestly, they all fly about the same (in my opinion) within the normal variations of RV'ating.

Paul
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2010, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Hatch View Post
I have the Frazier tailwheel fork and it has many advantages, but the one that stood out for me is that it readily adapts to Van's tailwheel fairing, if you are so inclined. Actually, I got two Frazier forks. One for rough fields without the fairing and one with for paved strips:





Other advantages are more obstacle clearance, reduced pedal force while taxiing, and less side load on the spring knuckle. This side load has been the cause for the AN3 bolts shearing on the knuckle in a lot of cases. The increased visibility over the nose is minimal but noticeable.
That definitely looks like it sits higher. Also, looks like it would be unlikely to catch on anything.

Seems like Paul has had good results with the Bell.

Looks like I'll just have to make decision. Maybe it'll come down to who has them available in stock.
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