My Wooden Airplane
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3/22/2013 - 3/24/2013

Nose Gear Swivel Stop

I kind of made a bone-head move that forced me to address this sooner, rather than later.
I decided that I didn't like the angle that the nose gear strut had. I wanted increase it by about 10 degrees so that the end of the upper bend was closer to the bottom of the fuselage, rather than being 5 inches below it. In order to do that, I used an oxy-acetylene torch to heat up both bends so they were dull orange, and carefully adjusted the angles.
It came out great! It looked exactly the way I wanted it to.

The problems started about a week later when I went to push the plane backwards. The nose wheel swiveled a full 180 degrees, which changed the arm of the load on the upper bend from 10-1/2 inches to 27-1/2 inches. The effect was almost immediate. I saw the nose of the plane slowly start to sink, like a boat full of holes. Fortunately, I still had some saw horses handy so I grabbed one and put it under the fuselage to keep it from sinking even further. But, the damage had been done, and the cause was obvious. By heating up the metal so much, I had removed the temper so that the weight of the engine was enough to cause it to bend.

So, I had to order a new piece of steel tubing ($80), take it to be properly bent on a
hydraulic machine ($100), and then weld on a new upper nosewheel flange and bottom threads. This time, however, I used thicker steel (.188 wall instead of .120), and fabricated
a mechanism to keep the nosewheel from rotating past about 85 degrees of center.
I'm pleased with the end result, and, like I said, I was going to have to do this anyway,
but the outcome certainly could have been much worse!

Total Time: 13.5 hrs.