Baby Bushwheel tailwheel

Discuss topics related to technique, procedures, and idiosyncrasies of Maule aircraft.
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andy
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Re: Baby Bushwheel tailwheel

Post by andy »

The Baby Bushwheel is about 4 lbs heavier than a Scott 3200 or ABI 3224A, which is what I have. The tire is softer with a much lower inflation pressure. If you operate on hard surfaces, shimmy will be a problem because of the soft tire. Wear will also be a problem. If you operate on soft surfaces, the Baby Bushwheel spreads the weight out more and reduces rut-digging. It also takes some of the shock out of rough surfaces, which reduces the stress on the tail spring, attachment hardware and frame tubes.

As others have said, it depends on how you want to operate. If you plan to mostly operate on hard surfaces, then the cost, wear and shimmy of a Baby Bushwheel are disadvantages. If you plan to do a lot of back country or beach flying and land on rough or soft surfaces, then the Baby Bushwheel is an asset. Some Maule owners don't like to takeoff or land on a grass strip after it's rained because the tail wheel will dig up the soft grass. If it's your grass strip, then you are even more motivated not to do that. The Baby Bushwheel reduces that.

I decided not to replace my ABI 3224A tail wheel with a Baby Bushwheel mainly because of the added cost, weight and shimmy even though I mostly operate on grass. I haven't regretted it. To minimize the potential for the tail wheel to leave a rut in a soft surface, I lift the tail on takeoff as soon as possible and I keep the tail in the air on landing as long as possible. This has that added benefit of reducing the beating on my tail wheel and attached components. That's a serious factor on rough back country airstrips. I had to tighten the tail spring hardware several times during my 2016 Idaho back country trip because of rough airstrips with ruts caused by hundreds of airplanes landing on them.
Andy
1986 MX7-180

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psehorne
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Re: Baby Bushwheel tailwheel

Post by psehorne »

andy wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:46 pm
The Baby Bushwheel is about 4 lbs heavier than a Scott 3200 or ABI 3224A, which is what I have. The tire is softer with a much lower inflation pressure. If you operate on hard surfaces, shimmy will be a problem because of the soft tire. Wear will also be a problem. If you operate on soft surfaces, the Baby Bushwheel spreads the weight out more and reduces rut-digging. It also takes some of the shock out of rough surfaces, which reduces the stress on the tail spring, attachment hardware and frame tubes.
Andy, thanks.
Paul
ASEL, ASES, AMEL, Rotorcraft/Helicopter, Instrument Airplane, AGII
2004 M-4-180V N799ZZ
Hidden Valley Airpark 5TX0, Shady Shores (Denton), TX

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Mike M
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Re: Baby Bushwheel tailwheel

Post by Mike M »

I have a baby bush wheel on my M7-235C with 29" tires on the mains. Most of my flying is off airport grass, gravel, sand. I do occasionally land on paved strips and haven't experienced and shimmy. I had an M4-220C with a Scott 3200 that did shimmy when landing on pavement. I replaced the spring which had lost its shape which resolved the shimmy. The baby bush wheel does exactly what I had hoped it would do. Absorbs the bumps, saves my grass strip from ruts when it is soft, and does well on pavement. I always do wheel landings when landing pavement to reduce the wear on that soft tire. All in all I am very pleased with the tailwheel. That said, I have many hours flying Maules with the Scott 3200 which served me well. Unless your tailwheel is not meeting your current needs, I'd suggest staying with what's working.

Regarding change in performance, I honestly can't say I see much difference. I plan on putting a Burl's tailski on the plane this year in place of the fluidyne ski I've run in the past. The baby bush wheel allows the use of a much larger tail ski such as Burl's which, if you're a ski pilot, adds a needed increase in tail flotation.

Happy flying!
Mike
2002 M-7-235C N66E

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