Tailwheel Testing

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Destructive Testing done on Bearhawk Tailwheels

In July of 2011, before selling our tailwheels to the public, we put them through a full battery of testing, both in the shop and in the field on flying aircraft. The following pictures show the shop testing we did on the tailwheels. Both mounting types (Leaf Spring as well as the Tapered Rod Spring) were subjected to this rigorous test procedure. The goal was to determine whether or not these tailwheels could stand up to worse-case scenarios over rough terrain (or extremely rough landings).

The tailwheels we tested were fitted with the longer 10" tailwheel forks and tire to give the tested tailwheels the maximum leverage on the forks. This allowed us to to see if they would stand up to the pressure. A fixture was created to mount the tailwheel to actual tailsprings and to apply pressure, just like they might experience when mounted on an airplane.

Hydraulic pressure was applied to simulate a worst-case landing scenario. The amount of deflection was  a minimum of 4" to 5" which is the equivilant to the tailsping bending enough to hit the bottom of the rudder.

What happened?  In our tests, there was no bending, no breaking and no fracturing of any of our tailwheel assemblies.  The Bearhawk Tailwheels passed with flying colors!

Below are some photos taken during the testing process. Click on any image below for a larger view.

Here is the first picture showing the Tailwheel with the tapered rod spring (Patrol) in the fixture and ready for testing. Note that the ruler shows 12" with no deflection. The tire has been inflated to 50 psi for these tests.

The Tapered Rod (Patrol) tailwheel after pressure was applied:

Note the ruler is now showing 8" for a total deflection of 4" on the spring.  The spring was permenantly deformed with a 4" bend in it at this point. No damage to tailwheel.

A close-up showing the tire.

The tire was inflated to 50 psi for these tests. You can imagine what kind of pressure was applied to the tire to make it flatten out this much.

The 1/12" leaf spring tailwheel in the fixture.

Note the starting position is 17" for this spring and tailwheel assembly.

The tailwheel with 1 1/2' leaf spring compressed:

In the picture above you can see the ruler now reads 12" for a total deflection of 5". Again, there was no bending, breaking or deformation of the tailwheel assembly or any of it's components.

Conclusion? - Bearhawk Tailwheells LLC makes some very tough tailwheels, that will stand up to just about anything you want to throw at them!