Having recently repaired a flat tyre and then having changed tyre pressures to 40 psi, I found that I had managed to produce the dreaded wheel shimmy, the best solution to fixing this initially was to reduce tyre pressure. I have found that around 34 psi worked well for me, however there where still situations where shimmy would still be evident as I was rolling out on landing and if I got a little fast during taxi.
Also for those of us flying with the little wheel at the correct end, I was also facing the dilemma of having to pull off the perfect 3 pointer so as not to get 3-4 landings for the price of 1.
Having heard about gear leg stiffeners from the VANs instruction manual and also the Vans Air Force Forum, I did wonder how well this device might actually work.
When the opportunity arose to purchase some and have them included in a friends FWF shipment, I thought, why not.
A guy called woodmanrog on the forum makes these specifically for the RVs and at $60 they are not overly expensive in the scheme of things.
Last weekend I installed them on VH-EWS my RV7.
They are designed to install onto the rear side of the gear leg and come pre-routed so that you pretty much just hold them against the gear leg at the correct angle (a little bit of fiddling with tape and installing removing the fairings is required to determine the correct position) and you’re ready to attach them.
My only hitch was that I run my brake lines up the rear of the gear leg which required me to route a channel into the stiffeners to accommodate the brake lines, not a big deal unless you’re at my local airport Wedderburn and have no power and don’t own a router.
It took me 45 minutes wondering hangar to hangar to find a kind soul who had both, and then 15 minutes to route the channel in both stiffeners before I could start my install.
Installation then only required that I shorten the stiffeners so that they did not interfere with the top and bottom of my gear leg fairings.
Once you have everything positioned the instructions ask you to bond the stiffeners to your gear legs with fiberglass, from a maintenance and rust perspective this did not appeal so I chose to strap them into place using 3M Gaffer Tape. Using the 3M tape, the bond that you achieve is incredibly strong, and I am sure that I could do a nicer job of the wrapping if I did it again, but….it is serviceable.
So do they work?
You bet, I went out and shot some touch and goes on what could only be described as a hot bumpy day (2 pm last Sunday) with a 5-7knot cross wind and they worked a treat, there is a vastly reduced tendency to relaunch you back into the air if you drop on slightly in the flair.
I was also able to easily get my left wheel to run down the runway and hold it there while the right was still in the air and counter the cross wind until speed diminished and the right wheel and tail wheel came down, possibily the placebo effect.
Rolling out there is no tendency to shimmy at all, so I am sold.
I would highly recommend this solution to anyone that is experiencing the dreaded bunny hop or the dreaded wheel shimmy or both.
1.5 years later and the gaff tape is still holding up and the stiffeners are doing their job.
First Flight 16th July 2012
RV-7 Phase 2, 30 Oct 2012
480 hrs Jan 2016
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