--------Fingers crossed that pics work-------
I wanted to provide a product review on Dayton's 4-inch tail wheel. All pilots with the training wheel on the nose can stop reading now
I had Dayton's standard tail wheel
on my previous 4 and it worked well. The tail wheel felt solid/stable on the ground and it wore evenly, not slanted as seen on some RVs. Not much ware was seen after approx 400 hrs of use and abuse. It was very smooth on the ground and often turned in flight (i have seen this on other RVs while flying formation) due to the sealed bearings. The tail wheel came in at 720 grams (1.6 lbs) versus the standard vans tail wheel at 1280 grams (2.8 lbs).
When it came time to select the tail wheel for Dilemma, I chose the same thing because of the previous proven performance. After about 15 hours of use on the standard tail wheel I was shearing with Dayton that I wanted to reduce drag as much as possible. That is when he shared the news of this new tail wheel that he designed for the Sonex folks. He tried to give me a tail wheel to test but I paid in full.
The new tail wheel was 4 inches tall and had the same basic construction as the standard RV design. For some reason I can't find the actual weight of the smaller tail wheel in my files. I gave it a go and these are some of the things I have observed over the 165 hours of abuse (define below).
The tail wheel has been exposed to the following:
-2 summers of up to 118 deg f OAT. We put a thermometer on the bumper of my bud's truck last week and it read 170 deg. I bet the asphalt is hot too.
-Countless airshow in military bases with concrete, asphalt, expansion gaps and tie down hooks that can hold a C-17.
-Months total time of dedicated Reno racing and school. If you have been there, you know that the canyons on the asphalt are no joke and swallow the tail wheel.
-One bad landing
The 4 inch tail wheel has done very well even after all that. No difference in the way the tail wheel feels or performs however, I know the reduced weight and drag count is helping. I was not able to measure any gains due to the measuring unit being a 1 knot increment. Same problem I have when measuring other drag reduction mods but at the end, they add up. the "thump" heard when taxiing over cracks is similar to the Vans wheel and Dayton's standard RV tail wheel.
In a recent trip back from an airshow in Canada I saw a small cut on the "sidewall". Airing on the side of caution I purchased another tail wheel and installed it. I sent the old tail wheel to Dayton so he could examine the bearings and wheel. Maybe he can post the findings.
I am very happy with the performance of both of his tail wheels and will continue to buy them as needed. If you look at some of the Reno guys, we are using it and beating the day lights out of it. Collectively we have to be approaching over 500 hours of use. If you are looking for a tail wheel, you should look into one of these. For added weight off your tail and reduced drag, you can couple the 4 inch wheel with the Sonex tail wheel fork.