Monday, June 14, 2010

Ground Handling

Long time readers of the blog are certainly aware of the incident last summer in the Flint Hills, where the right main landing gear axle snapped off after an unfortunate encounter with a pothole in the prairie; resulting in unfortunate (but relatively minor) damage to the maiden ship of the Belite fleet.

I sat on the ground for a period of hours, whilst working on email catchup and generally wondering when help would show up.  (It was hot, I had no water, but I had a cellphone, a Spot, and a good internet connection on my computer.)

That particular aircraft was equipped with solid tie rods on the landing gear.  No bungees, no springs, no nothing, so there was no shock absorber in the landing gear.

Very recently, we've started to offer a solution which improves ground handling over bumps considerably: spring steel landing gear.  Take a look at this pic:

Now this is an improvement.!  The first time I taxiied our aircraft with this landing gear, I felt like I had changed from a 1920's vintage model T to a car with a real suspension and shocks.  All the bumps smoothed out.  Amazing!  Cool!  Fun!  Driving an ultralight on the ground no longer felt like a bumpfest.

Above is a closeup photo of a mud splattered shock absorber spring.  Works like a charm.

We're offering them as optional equipment on our aircraft:  installed:  $200. 

Builders can add them simply by buying a pair of springs, available from MSC, for about $9 apiece.

Would it have made a difference while taxiing in the flint hills?

This product improvement is available on our award winning Belite Superlite ultralight aircraft, or with any of our other Part 103 aircraft.  You can purchase our aircraft as kits or as fully assembled, ready to fly.   See our aircraft at, or read more about ultralight aircraft at my blog.

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