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Working thru some teething issues


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Nov 2, 2011
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I guess I could create like x number of threads but I am running into some issues that are proving difficult, so just one.

First tail wheels,
We are chewing them up at about the rate of one a day. Yesterday Justin took off from the airport where we hangar (large airport) and landed at a nearby airport (small). The small airport runway was freshly paved and quite smooth. Justin landed there 3 times and all is good. Returned to the hangar airport and tire looks like it had a blow out even though it is a solid tire. It uses the normal 4 inch solid castor tire sold at ACS (R&K) even though it is a Raven tail wheel. The large airport has a grooved runway. The other ones got like 2-3 landings before they turned gummy and came apart. The original Raven tire started to split and had like a flat spot. Assumed short flying use was from the build process of the plane as it was several years old. I ordered the new ones from ACS (you have to transfer the bearings as Raven uses the 1/2 inch axle and ACS sells the 5/8 inch axle. Know any other source for a better tire? Like an aircraft tire? We are at a loss to explain the short life. But look at website it says:
NOTE: Reduce load ratings 25% for power drawn wheels at speeds exceeding 3 m.p.

I wonder what the load rating is at 80 mph. Surely as common as 4 inch tail wheel is, there is a better quality tire suited for aircraft. Maybe silicon rubber to handle higher heat from the grooved runway? I would be willing to pay for a higher quality wheel if it would last. Or is this just an issue with grooved runways and I need to go to a 5 inch tire? The plane lands well and without issues.

Next up: We have an oil leak that only appears inverted. It appears to be somewhere in the area of the left mag. And leaves quite a mess. Straight and level test flight does not seem to leave any oil. Yesterday, it had a little longer inverted run to verify oil pressure and it was very messy. I talked to Don and we postulated a mag gasket but it seems like a lot of oil for just a paper gasket leak for the short inverted time. We do not see any oil near any oil lines. We do see oil near the mount bolts and at the plug wire cap on the mags. But it is probably windy back there and inverted means the oil is falling "upward". Anyone had an oil only while inverted?

Next, trouble with radio. The complaints seem to come only while he is on the ground. Once in the air, tower seems to have no issues. We did bend the antenna accidentally (and I sort of bent it back). The antenna is mounted on the belly slightly back and under pilot. Does the bend on the antenna kill them? I assume a belly mount is best. Or am I missing something?

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