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Jay Villalva
New member
Username: Jay

Post Number: 5
Registered: 11-1999
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 03:15 pm:   

I have parts that I have accumulated over the years and am interested in selling them.

1. Steele Main Landing Gear ($800) - EDI vintage
2. Fiber Glass Main Landing Gear ($1000) - Express Aircraft (Larry Olsen) vintage
4. Nose Strut and 'T' bracket - ($300) Wheeler Express original
5. Nose Wheel Fork - ($100) Wheeler Express original
6. Engine Mount - ($700) for Lycoming OI-360

Thanks
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Bruce Whetstone
New member
Username: Bwhetstone

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 11:09 pm:   

Jay,

I need the Nose Strut and 'T' bracket, and the Nose Wheel Fork. Do you also have a shock strut for sale? Need that, too. Need an engine mount, but for an IO-540 C4B5.

Please advise.

Thanks,

Bruce
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Jay Villalva
New member
Username: Jay

Post Number: 6
Registered: 11-1999
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 03:15 pm:   

I don't have the shock strut. The original Wheeler used the 'T' bracket in its stead. The shock being absorbed by the flex of the nose strut.

Ill get started boxing the parts for shipment. Ill get in touch with you separately.
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Jerry Sjostrand
New member
Username: Jerry

Post Number: 72
Registered: 08-1999
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 06:47 pm:   

Bruce;
Don't worry about the shock strut as it is not needed. It was useless. Just be ready for that hard landing on the nose as it will bend or break something. I did it twice and several others have done the same. The shock unit will not help.
Jerry
See my web site at www.sierratel.com/jerico
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Bruce Whetstone
New member
Username: Bwhetstone

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 07:27 am:   

Really appreciate the advice, support and encouragement. I've been pretty down about the whole mess. I had the plane in great shape, until the shock strut snapped. Now I have a prop destroyed, an engine to rebuild and to figure out where to get parts and fairings for the nose gear. Could be worse. Could be unable to type this message. I was still at 50 knots when the plane left skidded off the pavement.

Express Nose Gear Collapse

The sad part is that I have over 350 time in type, another 340 in Cessnas and Pipers, and sure, like I'm sure everyone else, have had my share of hard landings occasionally, but not hard enough to collapse a nose gear. I will wait for the NTSB and/or FAA reports, and post their findings, when available. Thanks for your help and support.
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Shawn kelley
New member
Username: Skelley

Post Number: 5
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 08:02 am:   

Hi Bruce
sorry to here about your plane. My name is Shawn Kelley and I live in Cottage Grove Or I have a Express S-90 with over a 150hrs flying time on it. I am currently working on a Express CT which is just about ready it get it in the air. If you need any help Please call me at 541 767 0319 home
541 968 9328 cell
I have a hanger here in Cottage Grove and a lot of time working on Express's
Hope you are well
Shawn
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Gary Markwardt
New member
Username: Gmark

Post Number: 38
Registered: 12-1999
Posted on Friday, September 15, 2006 - 03:24 pm:   

Bruce:
My condolences. Looks very similar to my plane after a hard landing in 2002. Took awhile to get flying again, but no problems since then. Keep the faith! I ALWAYS carry a little power now into the flare and pull power just before touchdown.

Can you tell me what component(s)actually failed? In my case, the 2 AN5 bolts holding the nose gear fork to the engine mount tabs sheared. Larry Olson told me he had never seen that failure before. But, my wreakage looked a lot like yours. Just wondering what to look for on the next annual.....Gary
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Bruce Whetstone
New member
Username: Bwhetstone

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 08:12 pm:   

Thanks for the offers to provide help. I have been able to lean on some of you already for parts, and advice, and may need more help, as we start to put things back together. FAA has classified as an incident (as opposed to an accident). Just got permission from both FAA and insurance company to start tear down last week.

The failure occurred at a weld inside the "rubber doughnuts" on the t-brace for the nose gear (not on the nose gear strut itself). For those of you who do not have nose gear with the rubber doughnuts, these photos will be meaningless, but for those of you who do. Photo 1 is where the weld failed (inside the rubber doughnut). The t-brace would normally be angled upward, but is flopping down in this photo. Photo 2 is the part facing the rubber doughnuts showing the welds. Photo 3 is the t-brace with one of the two doughnuts removed so that the cracks on the steel tubing can be more easily seen. Again this piece would normally be angled upward, not down.

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3
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Reinhard Metz
New member
Username: Reinhard_metz

Post Number: 73
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 06:34 am:   

For anyone eles who has one of these, I would pass along the following - take it out and replace it with a solid T like the original design. It doesn't do anything anyway - I had one and removed it because it was useless.

Reinhard Metz N49EX
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Glen Farley
New member
Username: Glen_farley

Post Number: 2
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 02:58 pm:   

Certainly there must be some type of small automotive or motorcycles shock absorber that could be fit into this design to actually take some of the shock of a hard landing.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Jim Ward
New member
Username: Jehward

Post Number: 50
Registered: 02-2000
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 04:05 pm:   

Bruce:
Even with having the doughnut strut, it's difficult to picture the failure. There is a shaft that rides inside the doughnuts. The only place it might be welded is at the top of the strut. If that's the case, the weld failed in compression. I've posted a couple of pictures of the strut for reference.Doughnut Strut Doughnut Strut
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Bruce Whetstone
New member
Username: Bwhetstone

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 05:52 pm:   

Jim,

According to what I am seeing in your photo, the failure would have occurred at the 6" mark, on your ruler, on the shaft that rides inside the doughnuts, where the shaft meets the upper flange of the brace. Very difficult to access and inspect without complete disassembly.

Bruce
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Jay Villalva
New member
Username: Jay

Post Number: 7
Registered: 11-1999
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 08:22 pm:   

Fatigue is an insidious cyclic failure that can occur over a period of time at stresses or loads that are significantly less than what would cause the part to fail under static loads.

After seeing the pictures of the failed component, Ill include the T bracket as a part that needs a more aggressive inspection program. The bracket should be completely disassembled and inspected on a regular basis. The inspection should probably include paint removal, visual and NDT inspections (liquid penetrate).

I as a community, we need to continue document these failures here to learn from and be able to look for these problems during pre-flight and annual inspections. Useful information would include; time on component, mode of failure (pictures), previous inspections, modifications (if any), etc.
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Jerry Sjostrand
New member
Username: Jerry

Post Number: 73
Registered: 08-1999
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 08:22 pm:   

Take Reinhard's advice and forget the rubber doughnuts. They do nothing but create problems as someone has found out the hard way. I used the solid "T" bar on my Express after looking at the ridiculous shock unit.
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Mark Rich
New member
Username: Mrich

Post Number: 21
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 08:45 am:   

This sounds like a good time to replace my T-strut. Does anyone have a drawing of the original Wheeler "no-doughnut" part? If so, I'll go have one made before I remove the existing strut. Anyone else want one? I'm sure the cost per unit will be substantially less if I get more than one made.
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Reinhard Metz
New member
Username: Reinhard_metz

Post Number: 74
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 08:45 am:   

If you need to understand it from an engineering standpoint, consider how much of the front strut extends beyound the T bracket attach point - that portion of the strut will flex and move far more easily than any motion that the compression of the donut could ever provide - which is why the donut is useless.

The real issue is damping. The strut acts more like a spring under load and therefore can contribute to porpoising. Also, the original Wheeler strut was too thin and weak.

I spent some time looking for shocks or struts that might fit in the space of the T, and I was not able to find anything. In fact, it would be a very tall order to make something that fits in that small space, provides the necessary static weight support, and provides a reasonable range of damping shock absorption. The T is unfortunatley in a "leverage" position - this job is best done by a mechanism that is directly in line with the strut, like the nose gear on a Bonanza.

I've reconciled myself to making sure I put the nose down gingerly - actually I've turned in some pretty rough landings, and with the newer re-inforced gear have not had a problem.

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Jim Ward
New member
Username: Jehward

Post Number: 50
Registered: 02-2000
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 09:23 am:   

Let's be a little cautious here. Remember that not everyone has the same engine. I am not advocating the doughnut strut - as you can see from the pictures above, I was investigating a shock-type replacement, but I got distracted with finishing the airplane.
However, Jerry's installation was for a Cont.IO360 as I believe Reinhard has. A solid "T" would transfer impacts directly to the engine mount. With the heavier engines, this might be more of an issue.
The Copeland Express has the solid link with an IO540 engine.
I think we need more data.
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Ben Baltrusaitis
New member
Username: Freepistol

Post Number: 11
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 09:45 am:   

Would it be really difficult to move the mains forward to convert to conventional gear and eliminate nose gear failure?
Thanks!
Ben
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Steve Furjesi
New member
Username: Steve_furjesi

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 01:13 pm:   

I have been working with the express project continually since before Ken Wheelers first prototype flew. I am not a engineer, nor do I want to act like one, but I would like to offer a bit of history from my observations of past gear failures.
First off, the first Wheeler shock strut actually had rubber sandwiched between two washers welded to the link with four bolts holding them together. The Engineers working for Ken decided to go to a welded T link, as well as reduce the wall thickness of the original design from 3/16 to 1/8. They actually calculated the load, and I built a fixture and we load tested the new 1/8 strut design in a hydraulic press.
(not drop tested) They checked for moving the material past it elasticity, and found that the strut had not formed. If memory serves me correct, this was calculated using numbers based on 360 series engines, and not the heavier 540-550 engines. I am not qualified to state whether the shock strut is of faulty design, or induces bouncing or porpousing. I have not seen until this incident, a shock strut come apart. Most that I have seen either tore the gear out of the engine mount, or tore the strut in half just below the shock stut- below the two tabs welded on the nose strut. In one case this happend on a plane that ran off the side of a runway and went through a ditch. I have also seen a T link fail at the weld, so I am not sure if they are the answer either - maybee with some gussets or reinforcement of some kind. I recentely built a replacement engine mount for a plane that had a hard landing, fortunately they didnt break their strut, and were smart enough to have it inspected and repaired. I got a chance to look at the installation, and noticed that when the engine mount was installed , there was too much space between the engine mount pivot tube mounting locations. after further inquiry, what had happend was someone drilled the holes in the firewall and elongated them allowing the rear nose strut to shift side to side. I believe that let the inertia build up contributing to the bending of the engine mount. Another problem that I personally think is a culprit of many of the failures, is the old style nose fork, and the nose struts axle digging into the pavement when the aircraft is in a nose down attitude. this causes a pole vaulting effect of aircraft over the gear assembly. I dont think there is any type of design able to over come that type of stress. Larry Olson redesigned the new style nose yoke moving the axle centerline down 1 inch, as well as increasing the side plate thickness from 5/16 to 3/8. I think in a perfect world it would be much better to have a nose gear geometry that doesn't extend the nosewheel that far beyond the nose strut mounting locations, but I just built them like I was instructed to do. Another factor is what type of main gear, and the relation of main gear to the nose gear. The amount of settling on landing and the loads induced into the gear assembly/ engine mount. I had previously recommended to Larry that we beef up the gear, and engine mount in a effort to alleviate some of the problems. His opinion was at some point, a person would tear out the gear and firewall doing much more damage than just the gear.
I dont know what to recommend, but I thought that I would share some history from being involved with this project.
Good luck with all your project's

Sincerly
Steve Furjesi
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Jerry Sjostrand
New member
Username: Jerry

Post Number: 74
Registered: 08-1999
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 01:58 pm:   

I sold my Express several years ago. At the time it had about 450 hours but only less than 100 on the second nose gear strut. The first incident occurred on my first flight. While taking off I sensed a potential stall and cut the power. I was too high and it came down with a heavy load breaking the gear, etc. The second time was on a short private runway and I kept it "too" short dropping the airplane about 15-20 feet as I caught a wind shear before touchdown.

In the first incident the tube bent into a "J" shape and didn't break as it was the original Wheeler tube. The second did not bend but broke first at the spindle point and then later (as it cut a grove in the runway) the tube broke off at the "T" bar mounting point. The "T" bar held but bent (the top tube mounted to the engine mount) from the pulling forces before the aircraft came to a stop. Fortunately I stayed on the runway. So the thinner tube was better because it bent and acted like a skid. The new one broke because it was thicker and did not bend. My choice would be the tube that bent if it were to happen again. A shock absorber unit would have been of no help in either case.

Aircraft with the center of gravity too far forward are going to have a problem. That can be improved by moving the main wheels forward about 2-3 inches which puts less weight on the nose gear when touching down. That was discussed a great deal when we were in the building process.

Every Express is different so they truly are "experimental".

I know of one other Express (IO360 Lyc.) with the thinner tube that did bend after (from what the owner said) bouncing about 5 times. He was able to change the tube with no other damage to the plane.

Jerry
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doug shell
New member
Username: Rv76

Post Number: 7
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 03:05 pm:   

my 2cts for what its worth while reviewing norris's building pics i noticed he extended his nose gear. i did the same, extending my nose gear about 2 inches, and in the process reinforced the t bar the result was that my nose appears to be higher than most other expresses, in a landing configuration my nose wheel is just slightly off the ground when the mains touch i only have approximately 110 hours on plane but have landed at a lot of different runways havent even bounced the nosewheel yet, it sets down very gently, i dont think its my flying i think the extension has a lot to do with it. i have the aluminum gear with the lycoming io540 and approx 340 pounds on nose wheel. just food for thought im not an engineer, and dont have near the experience as most of you, but it appears to work on my plane.
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Paul Fagerstrom
New member
Username: Paul

Post Number: 8
Registered: 12-1999
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 04:52 pm:   

I agree with Steve, It has been my contention that the plane hits hard and wheelbarrows or porpoises and catches the spindle on the runway and digs into the pavement, then the gear is torn backward. Larry always disagreed, but eventually he went to a half height castle nut and shortened the spindle threads. When the aluminum gear came out it set the tail up higher than the other gear which caused a redesign of the yoke, which I felt was a much better idea. Does anyone know of a nose gear failure with the newer yoke? P.S. Larry still never bought into my idea, the re-design of the yoke was to level the airplane on the ground.
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Gary Markwardt
New member
Username: Gmark

Post Number: 40
Registered: 12-1999
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 05:14 pm:   

Interesting point Paul. When I rebuilt N713GM in 2002 after the nose gear collapse, I put in the Aluminum main gear and the redesigned nose gear yoke. The aluminum gear is not as springy as the fiberglass gear and the plane stands much higher. The landing feel is much stiffer with the Al gear which I suspect puts the nose gear in less jeopardy from bouncing.
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David Frederiksen
New member
Username: Davidf

Post Number: 3
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 02:26 pm:   

I think Paul is correct. The strut appears to have failed under tension not compression [torn apart] which would indicate that the bottom spindle dug into the runway. How much air pressure was in the nose wheel and does it have the old style fork.{Is there a hole in the runway]. The CT also loses elevator control earlier than the conventional tailplane which does not help.
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wayne norris
New member
Username: Wayne_n

Post Number: 1
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 08:21 am:   

spend some time in the pattern shooting landings! The Express is a very nice flying plane, but is nose heavy, so "lower" the nose to the runway, don't just let go of the stick. I have over 400 hrs on original tires and brakes, still loving this plane!
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Carter A. Smith
New member
Username: Carter_smith

Post Number: 29
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:54 am:   

The only nose gear problem that I have encountered during my first 40 hours of flying is getting the correct torque on the big castle nut on the bottom of the spindle to prevent what I call "shopping cart syndrome" - the nose wheel flopping back and forth rapidly. My issue is that, in order to get the cotter pin through the spindle, it is either too loose or too tight. In the too loose position, the nosewheel pant sustained a minor crack by rotating too far. Has anyone else experienced this?






















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James Butler
New member
Username: Jim_butler

Post Number: 5
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 06:02 pm:   

Carter,

I haven't experienced this. What I do when I get a shimmy like you describe is tighten to to the next slot. You might take a washer and surface grind it to half thickness. If you don't have access to a surface grinder, send me the washer and I'll grind it for you.

Jim Butler
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Kevin Dennes
New member
Username: Kdennes

Post Number: 101
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 03:19 am:   

Carter. I had a similar problem when I was doing my "annual". I noticed that the tension had dropped back to 27 lbs. I purchase a "thin" washer from our 'airport convenience store' and that fixed the job. 40 lbs exactly.

You could also make a couple of brass or s/s shims to do the job.

I would probably not machine your existing washer as James suggests because next time you check it with your "annual" you may run into the same problem again. In any case, my washer (which was supplied) was 'dished' and therefore unsuitable for effectively machining it and maintaining the tension on the washer.
Regards.
Kevin (from 'Downunder')
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Charles Wood
New member
Username: Cwood

Post Number: 5
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 08:11 am:   

Kevin; The washer you refer to is called a Belleville Washer, and is supposed to be there to provide constant pressure to to nose yoke. They can be obtained from most nut & bolt suppliers. It is for a 7/8" bolt, .906" ID, 1.585" OD, .160" thick
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Jay Villalva
New member
Username: Jay

Post Number: 8
Registered: 11-1999
Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 10:59 pm:   

Propeller for sale.
I have been looking for a propeller for my Express. In discussion with Hartzell, they came across a 2006 PHC-J3YF-1RF/F7693DF 3-blade prop with 50 hours on it for about $8,500.00.
It's off of an SR22 in the field. I believe this is the same propeller that larry was offering as OEM for the OI-550 Continential. I was quoted $14,274 for the same a factory new model. if any one is interested drop me a line.
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Bruce Whetstone
New member
Username: Bwhetstone

Post Number: 5
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 06:26 am:   

Well, I have lined up a nose gear strut, forks, t-brace and an engine mount. Next thing we'll need is fairings. Any suggestions on where I might get a nose wheel fairing, nose strut fairing and the piece that goes at the top of the nose strut under the lower cowling? Fabricating from scratch without jigs could be quite expensive.

Also, anyone have experience putting a nose gear from a current manufacturer under an Express (e.g., a Lancair or Cirrus nose gear) -- at least then I'd be able to get parts (if they would sell them to me). I know it's a long shot, but thought I would ask.
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Gary H. Wolfelt
New member
Username: Wolfelt

Post Number: 49
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

My offer still stands to let you have my composite parts "knocked off" (in Toledo, WA) until I have my parts installed on my plane. Contact me at 765-532-5136 or by e-mail for the details. GHW
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Stefan �str�m
New member
Username: Stefan

Post Number: 5
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - 06:10 am:   

Searching for a propeller for a Lycoming IO360!
Does anyone has a propeller that will fit a Wheeler Express Auriga 2000 or exact information about a suitable propeller?

The aircraft is a Wheeler Express Auriga 2000 and has the registration number: N100NM.
The engine is Lycoming IO360-C1E6 with S/N: L-9940-51A and the original prop was a Hartzell Type HC-E2YR-!B with S/N: DK375 with blades P/N: 7666A-2, S/N: B35894 for blade 1 and S/N: B37531 for blade 2.
The engine has a 4" prop-extension but I dont think this will make any difference on the propeller for the aircraft.

Best regards,
Stefan

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