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View Poll Results: What type of gear will (or would) you install
Featherlite Strut 47 45.19%
Infinity Retracts 43 41.35%
Aerocad fixed gear 2 1.92%
Other retract system 12 11.54%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 02-01-2005, 08:46 AM
John Slade's Avatar
John Slade John Slade is offline
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Default Retracts or fixed gear?

My (Featherlite) fixed gear has spread quite badly. The designer's fix "Put the wheel pants on and forget about it".

From a discussion on the Cozy list we're now learning that there are harmonic problems with the fixed gear, apparantly on all canard types, which often cause a significant shimmy during braking between 40kts and 25kts.

I've often said I'd install retracts if I were doing it again.

I'm wondering how many builders are installing, planning to install, or wishing they had installed, retractable gear.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2005, 09:37 AM
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I'm not pushing Infinity, But if I were doing this all over again, and I did decide to do plans built fixed gear, I would at least install the reinforcements in the center spar, and relocated a couple bulkheads in the strakes to make an Infinity retrofit a lot easier. I talked to JD, and seen the Retracts in San Diego back in the early 90's when I was originally constructing my EZ. At that time, I could not financially afford the retracts. However, if he would have suggested installing the reinforcements in the centerspar, I'm sure I would have done it. It only costs a couple yards of UNI. (At the time, none of this ever crossed my mind)

Although the quality of my retrofit is very good, I know it would have been better if I could do the reinforcements when I built the centerspar originally.

JD, If your listening, Provide the New Built Center spar reinforcement drawings FREE. Post them on your web site. Push the fact that owners may come back later and decide to install the retracts. The fact that the center spar already has the reinforcements installed would definiately be a big plus on anyone considering a retrofit.

Doing the reinforcements at build time will probably add 3-5 lbs of weight, and 4 hours of work.

Doing this portion of the retrofit is tedius work that must be done carefully and with precision. It easily takes 10-15 hours to do this portion of the retrofit job.

Waiter
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2005, 10:04 AM
Nathan Gifford Nathan Gifford is offline
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While I am not at the building stage, I am leaning more toward fixed gear as opposed to retracts. I have several reasons for this:
  • Unknown long-term structural impact of main gear retracts.
    Workmanship on the gear looks exceptionally good. However, I still wonder what the structural impact will be on the spar?
  • Cost, maintenance, and insurance of system.
    It seems apparent that fuel savings and reduced power at cruise are real possibilities. The real cost of installation is also not as high as it might appear. Still the cost of keeping the system running and properly maintained I don't think has be sufficiently tested yet. There are just not that many of these units with lots of runtime and weather changes on them to determine their durability on the Cozy. EZ installations may give a good idea on weather performance, but the EZs are lighter ships than the Cozy. Further, the $4K it probably costs to install would certainly allow for a better suite of avionics. Overall, I don't think it gives you a faster plane (it seems like many Cozies can exceed their Vne), just one that is faster at lower power settings.

All that said, if I had an extra $15K laying around, I'd probably go with retracts anyway. With that money, if something did rear its ugly head, I would probably have the resources to fix it.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2005, 10:07 AM
Nathan Gifford Nathan Gifford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter
...JD, If your listening, Provide the New Built Center spar reinforcement drawings FREE. Post them on your web site. Push the fact that owners may come back later and decide to install the retracts. The fact that the center spar already has the reinforcements installed would definiately be a big plus on anyone considering a retrofit...
I completely agree.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2005, 10:59 AM
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I'm not a structural engineer, But like most, I was originally concerned obout how this retract system transfers loads. Now that I've actually seen it up close, and have had firsthand experience on what kinds of loads fiberglass can take. I was willing to put my money down. Those that know me, know I'm a safe pilot, and have no problems visiting all corners of the envelope on routine occation. When I'm completed with this retrofit, I assure you, there will be no limitations on my EZ (with the exception of gear speed) as a result of this gear. I will go through an envelop expansion and take it to the same limits that I currently operate.

I also fully expect to be able to operate off the occational "Very Good Condition" soft field, as I do now. (actually, better, because I don't have the mains kicking rocks and junk into the prop)

Insurance isn't a factor, as I already check the box marked "Retractable" when I renew.

As a side note, I've developed a small computer controller that fully integrates the Infinity gear, with the EZNoseLift gear, canopy, throttle, Landing lights, Speed Brake, Airspeed sensor, and also an aux input for a ground proximity warning system, if installed. The computer replaces the Infinity and EZNoseLift controllers, and treats all of the items as one complete system. More on this as its installed and tested.

Waiter
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2005, 12:55 AM
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DrewChaplin DrewChaplin is offline
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>Infinity Retracts

Oops, Did I just admitted that?

Pure sex appeal. Although the benefits are great, that money would probably be best spent elsewhere.

I think the biggest reason I would install originally is that it has to be a royal pain in the donkey to retrofit a build plane.

Like everyone else, I've dream about a cozy with all the bells & whistles. RG, Full IFR glass, auto-conversion, CS prop, etc. I think of all these, the RG mains would be the hardest to do later. Leave the rest to an upgrade down the road.

Although you may get snickered at for have RG mains and a plain Jane VFR panel. But who cares.
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2005, 01:19 AM
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JE Patterson JE Patterson is offline
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Default What Do I Know?

I am glad I haven't started building........I have again, changed my mind, and decided to go with fixed gear.................I get smarter all the time. Reasons:

1. Insurance
2. Simplicity
3. What can go Wrong, Will go Wrong

Joe
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2005, 03:40 AM
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James D. "J.D." Newman James D. "J.D." Newman is offline
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Hi All,

John commented in an e-mail to me today about this thread. I just spent a couple of hours answering the highlights of your e-mails.

Since
I'm new to this program, and this was my 1st post, I hit the Back button to make sure I had read all your e-mails. When I came back Forward to continue, I lost everything :-( .

Sooo, I'm not going to start over -- sorry. But I will take a moment to just mention that I do now offer my Installation Manual and 3+ hour video for $100 plus $7 S & H for those who want to work ahead. And, whether you eventually install our Retractable Main Oleo Gear or not, the manual and video have a lot of good ideas you might consider.

And instead of starting this e-mail over, please take a few moments to read my Landing Gear page on my web site. It covers in great detail all of your questions and/or concerns that I've seen on this forum about main retracts. You will note that our main retracts do not have all the short comings the fiberglass main gear does, fixed or retractable.

After thoroughly reading my site, please all feel free to contact me any afternoon CA time.

TIA.

Infinity's Forever,

JD
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2005, 06:47 AM
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John Slade John Slade is offline
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Quote:
Although you may get snickered at for have RG mains and a plain Jane VFR panel
If they fly Cessna, and you tell them you can go 250 mph, the snickering tends to die down quite a bit.

JD. You should know better - never press the "Back" button while building.
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  #10  
Old 02-02-2005, 08:15 AM
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mplafleur mplafleur is offline
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Would the installation manual normally come with the retract kit? So if I get the manual & video before the kit, can I get the kit w/o the manual?

BTW, how's the nose strut coming?
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  #11  
Old 02-02-2005, 01:26 PM
ShaleDC ShaleDC is offline
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Yes, how is the nose strut coming?
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  #12  
Old 02-02-2005, 01:54 PM
Nathan Gifford Nathan Gifford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Slade
If they fly Cessna, and you tell them you can go 250 mph, the snickering tends to die down quite a bit...
That's what I was getting at about retracts vs fixed. Your already getting over 200 MPH TAS with the gear hanging out.
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2005, 02:21 PM
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tnt tnt is offline
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Most likely it's fixed gear for me. But if I were to do retracts, it would be ERacer/Berkut type. I have a KitPlanes article on a guy who made set of this style for his LongEz, and saw a couple Longs with this style homebrew legs at RR. Far less than big bucks.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2005, 03:53 PM
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This is a trick question. I DID install the Featherlite strut,,,,, but I WOULD have installed the retracts if I had the extra cash.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2005, 07:52 PM
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Clutch Cargo Clutch Cargo is offline
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Default What the ??

I have the featherlite horseshoe and I am still considering retracts. I have the fixed gear ready to put on, but I keep deliberating as to whether or not to do it. The bow can do some damage to your shins if not kept in a confined environment, or perhaps they're taunting me as I drool over JD's wares and make oleo struts and trailing arm gear on my cad cam program.
Whatever the case, the Cozy list discussion on vibration and spread (sounds like something else) has pushed me over the edge and fully over and into the retracts side of the fence. This has not been a capricious decision. The spar can take much more weight and torsion than the part of the fuselage the gear attaches to and the wider stance of the retracts can give stability, handle rough strips and won't spread or throw **stuff** into the prop arc as easily as the fixed gear (might). The thing may fly faster too but so what? The landing is the most critical part of a flight. I want no surprises.

Originally, I thought the fixed gear was a no-brainer sure thing. I didn't like the looks of it and grass fields were forbidden and there were other valid concerns. But mark me down for retracts. Maybe JD's, maybe mine.
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