Thursday, June 23, 2016

VINTAGE WHEELS - How long will they last?

On April 23, 2016, My beloved Taylorcraft turned 70 years old.  Looking at the log books, It has accumulated 4,335 hours total time since new. For its entire life, the airplane has resided with various owners in Central Texas.  I have known of the airplane since the mid 1970's.  And so I am aware that most of the years since, it has been continually hangared.... about half that time in an insulated hangar, about 20% of that time tied down outside on an airport tarmac, and the other 30% of the time in a sheltered open air T-hangar.

I am not absolutely certain that the Shinn wheels are the original ones on my plane, but I have no reason to believe that the wheels on this airplane have ever been changed.... until last annual.  I have no idea how many landings they have had over all these years, but it must be a lot.  And hard landings.... groundloops.... well I am responsible for quite a few since this is the airplane in which I first learned tailwheel flying as a teenager.

So how old are your wheels? Do you know their history?  How many hours or, more importantly, how  many landings have they had?  How close have you been looking at them on your annual inspections?  Or, does your I.A. look at them closely?  How about the wheel bearings?  Have you ever found them worn or with signs they've been chattering or grinding?  And when you replaced those hardened steel bearing races, how did you get them out of their aluminum (or magnesium) boss?  Thinking back, I went a lot of years as a rather inexperienced mechanic in training and it is entirely possible, although I don't recall for sure, that I might have used screwdrivers, hammers, and other less-than-proper tools for the job.

What I am getting at is this.  Our old vintage wheels have likely had a pretty rough life.  If it weren't bad enough that they have probably been subject to poor and corrosive environmental conditions, hard landings, blown tires, side loads (groundloops), numerous cycles of bearing spin-up loads; it is entirely possible that they've been abused by green-mechanics or well-meaning owners.  And that's not to mention they're all subject the natural process of Age-Hardening that occurs over time to cause aluminum (or magnesium) to become brittle with age.

I heard about a Luscombe awhile back that rolled up due to a wheel problem.  Also an Aeronca owned by one of my friends had a wheel let go.  I don't know the cause of the Luscombe issue, but my friend says his wheel had some casting flaws (voids) from which cracks propagated until the eventual failure which occurred on the runway (on landing roll-out I think).  He's had plenty of damage occur and he's lucky he was not hurt himself.

The following are photos of the Left wheel from my Taylorcraft.  Upon removal to re-pack the bearings at my last owner-assisted annual, my good friend and I.A. called me over to take a look.  Lo and behold!!!! He'd found a crack.  The photos show the story.


So to get my plane back into the air, another Taylorcraft owner (My good Friend Greg House) came to my rescue with a used Shinn wheel that he had bought at a fly/flea market or ebay or somewhere.  I received it in the "as removed" condition with absolutely no record of what it came off of, let alone how many hours/landings it had.

So I cleaned 'er up via media blast and set out to inspect, alodine treat, and zinc chromate primer paint the two halves.   Once I got to inspecting it, guess what!?!?!  Well it had some imperfections of its own.  I am unsure whether I am seeing corrosion or casting anomalies.  I am more leaning toward declaring it casting voids.  But either way, these imperfections are cause for concern.  Let us know what you think.

 Have you inspected your Vintage Wheels lately?

Finally - It needs to be said.... This is not just a Taylorcraft / Shinn Wheel issue.  It goes for Aeroncas, Luscombes, Wacos, and all.  Here is a photo recently shared on the Luscombe Facebook page.  The submitter says it is a Cleveland DMB wheel, which is found on many light airplanes.  Don't wait for an AD.  We highly recommend you check your wheels with increasing frequency as time goes on.

Be safe!!! 

And...... Keep the Antiques Flying!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Certified Aeronautical Products, LLC is proud to announce the availability of New FAA-TSO Approved Wheels & Hydraulic Disc Brake System parts with FAA-DER Approved Installation Drawings.

In collaboration with Grove Aircraft Landing Gear Systems, Inc, we have developed the ideal wheels and hydraulic brakes to replace the Taylorcraft's 70+ year-old mechanical Shinn brakes. This kit has everything you will need to retrofit your Taylorcraft B-Series or F-Series aircraft.

Standard List Price (updated 06/18)
$  4980.36



Because: Simplicity We have taken care of all the fittings and hardware details and we've hunted down the best available TSO Hoses.  We have completed the exhaustive task of substantiating this installation to the applicable FAA / CAA regulations for Taylorcraft airplanes.  This includes analyses and testing to assure compliance with all requirements. We cover all the paperwork.

Because: FAA Approved  No STC Required.  No Field Approval.  Simply have your I.A. execute a standard FAA form 337 referencing our FAA Approved Data.  This is known as a Major Alteration (337) with DER support.

Because: All New Parts - Every piece of this system is brand new.  The old Shinn wheels and brakes have served our beloved Taylorcrafts for all these years.  Some folks hate them. Others have learned that with the right tinkering and adjusting every so often, they work great. But have you inspected yours lately?  Those 70+ year-old castings aren't going to last forever.  On my 2012 annual inspection, I actually found a cracked wheel.  I am glad I found it before it broke.  That would have ruined my day/week/year or even worse.  In my case I was able to find a used spare wheel.  Here's how it looked.  Lord only knows how many hard landings and hours this thing has had in its lifetime.  Oh, how I was wishing new parts were available then.


Because: Reliability - Hydraulic Disc Brakes are the international standard braking system throughout the aviation industry for new aircraft of all shapes and sizes.  Virtually every FBO, every mechanic, every repair station understands hydraulic disc brakes.  Maintenance is simple...  generally just keep the reservoir topped off and take a good look every annual inspection, and you're good to go.  Perhaps you may need replacement o-rings or brake pads every so often.  But thats about the worst case scenario. And if so, parts are stocked on the shelf at Grove Aircraft Landing Gear Systems, Inc. and many other supply houses.  Piece of cake.  And, with Grove, you know they've proven themselves.

Because: Engineering -  We at CAP teamed up with Grove to properly size the hydraulic cylinders specifically for the Taylorcraft B-Series airplanes. They're just right with the perfect pedal pressure.  And... Yes.... you keep your original heel brake pedals.  Many have concerns about hydraulic brakes causing tail draggers to flip over on their back.  It can happen, no doubt.  But it happens with mechanical brakes too.  We've worked hard and tested this system to ensure they are right.  You'd really have to stomp on those heel pedals at a fast rate of speed to have trouble.  Face it.  Tail wheel airplanes require a proper skills and proper attention.  This system is no more demanding than any other vintage 2-place light planes.  Yet they are rugged to withstand all demands, from tundra flying to everyday training.

Because: They're just right!  In fact, they are so perfectly matched and neatly installed that many probably won't detect any differences upon first look at the airplane.  Sure, a really trained eye will notice those calipers down on the wheels.  But they look like they belong.  Inside the airplane, you cannot see anything different.  Everything is neatly tucked away under the floor.  And when you fly with these wheels and brakes, we are pretty sure you will hardly notice a difference, other than solid / predictable / reliable performance.  Press the pedal and they are there when you need 'em.  Not too much. Always there.

Some Assembly Required - Owner Produced Parts (OPP).  While all of the major components of this kit are either FAA-TSO approved or standard hardware items, there are just a handfull of the minor parts that are provided without fabrication/quality approval. Our DER provides FAA approval of the design data.  CAP supplies the parts as unfinished parts.  Fabrication and quality verification is to be completed as Owner Produced Parts.  This means that the owner must take part in the final quality acceptance and verification that the parts are fabricated in accordance with the FAA approved design data. The owner must make a logbook entry to close the loop.  Here is a list of the OPP required parts.

Brake cable assembly, 2 ea.
Pulley bracket assembly, 1 ea.
Cylinder bracket assembly, 2 ea.

Pulley / Cylinder Brackets (See OPP Notes)

CALL TODAY to place your order.  (254) 715-4773


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