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 Post subject: Tailwheels That Hold Up
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:10 pm 
Paper Model Overlord
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:15 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Alameda CA
Always a challenge, keeping the tailwheel from eventually buckling or folding over. These models don't weigh anything and most of what weight they do have is borne by the main gear, but gravity is 32 ft/sec squared no matter what infinitesimal mass you're dealing with and it will ultimately overcome those itty bitty tailwheels unless they're beefed up somehow.

But how do you beef up something that, at scale, is no thicker than a horsehair - and if you made it too thick, it'd look too massive?

I solved that conundrum when I was turning the T-6 Texan into a BT-9. The T-6/BT-9 tailwheel strut even on the full sized airplane is a tiny stem of metal - there's no earthly way to recreate it at, say, 1:44 scale and have it even be visible, let alone strong enough to hold up the tail.

So I took advantage of the fact that it is, essentially, invisible at that scale, and left the strut out altogether. The BT-9 tailwheel assembly is the boot fairing and the tire, with no strut, other than a printed strut against one side of the tire. The illusion works beautifully. The tire (thickened to scale thickness with two plys of cereal box cardboard) glues firmly and solidly to the bottom of the boot fairing, itself solidly affixed to the fuselage, and makes for a solid underpinning not even gravity can displace.

This method should be applicable to most tailwheel aircrfat, as most tailwheel aircraft have boot fairings to protect (and fair) the strut from dirt & weather.

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