Grizzly Claw Ski Drag…

Thought this was super cool!

Kudos Airframes Alaska for innovating!

Cessna Gear Leg Identification…


After an Instagram post on upgrading the main landing gear on a C170B, I got some eMails RE: which gear is correct to use etc…

By no means did I research/write this (thank you Larry) but for those that are interested, I have posed the finer points on Cessna MLG in the “Resources” section.  Click HERE

Annual and FedEx…

Annual is done. Just hammering out a couple of squawks. FedEx brought a nice surprise today….


Stainless Steel Brake Lines…



I got a couple eMails regarding the stainless steel brake lines we used on the Skywagon when the new Clevelands were installed.

These were sourced from Sacramento Sky Ranch.  Their website is pretty darn aweful, but they are a good vendor and do good work.
For what its worth… If you are going to upgrade your airplane with Clevelands, the cheapest vendor to go to is Alaskan Bushwheel.  They beat Spruce by two or three hundred dollars.  (Thanks Wup!)

P/N:  Cessna 170 is 199-46, and Skywagon is 199-62.


I should also quickly talk about the mains for the C180.

Back when I bought the C170, I was hell bend on the idea of “going big or going home.” I was convinced that I wanted at least 29’s, or even 31’s. I think the best help I have gotten in this whole airplane thing has been from Wup at ABW. He could have sold me all the bells and whistles that I was asking for, but instead, talked me down from foolishness and set me up with a set-up that has been (for my particular need) perfect.

So much so that I was able to transfer it all right over to the C180.

For the mains, I am running 8.5×10 Airhawks on ABW 10″ wheels. The brakes are Cleveland 199-62 “double puck” with custom SS brake lines from Sacramento Sky Ranch. So far on the C170 they have performed flawlessly, and I am looking forward to the ride on the C180.

(note: its not all gravy and pie. The 8.5×10’s are heavy. Each tire, tube and wheel is 42.5lbs. For reference, the 6.00x6s that were removed were 16lbs each.)

For what its worth… ABW has the cheapest price around for Cleveland’s. I think I paid somewhere around $250 under Spruce for the kit. The best part about buying the kit was that I also have a set of 600 wheels for 8.5×6’s (for skis – another post)

Also thought this might be interesting… an 8.5×10 vs/ an 8.5×6



Started in on the TW today.

The C180 came with an XP Mods 10″ TW, but after the flight from LA to Boston and comparing the performance between that and the Alaskan Bushwheel TW I had on the C170, it was an easy decision. Originally had hoped that I was going to be able to use the C170 TW fork on the C180, but of course I wasn’t going to be that lucky. A quick call to Wup had a 3400 TW fork kit on its way.



I also thought that I would be able to re-use the innards of my TW, but once it was disassembled, it was obvious that it was going to need a full rebuild.

For what its worth.. as most of my flying will be on pavement, I have chosen to run the 4.00×4 tire that was on my C170 in the 3400 TW fork. If I get a bit crazier with my flying, I will swap over the Babybush.

These photos are a bit interesting… Here are some shots comparing the XP Mods 10″ vs/ the ABW 3400, the 10″ tire vs/ a 4.00×4, and a 4.00×4 vs/ the Babybushwheel.



ABW Baby Bush vs/ 400×4…

Thought this might be interesting…

If you have a Scott 3200 TW, you have the option of upgrading your TW fork with the Alaskan Bushwheel wider fork. This will allow you to run a much larger and wider TW. For $1050, you can buy the kit which comes with the yoke and BabyBush. But for much less, you can opt for the 400×4. This is the option I chose and am now running on the C180.

This was done not so much for the cost savings, but for the longevity of the tire. Since the majority of my flying is on the tarmac, Wup advised that the 400×4 would be a much much better option. It would work almost as good in the rough, but last soooo much longer whilst on the tarmac.

Here is a photo I shot of both these tire options side by side.


Axle Aware…

Denial ain’t always the best ingredient for longevity.

I have these on my C170, but in going thru the logs on the C180, I could not find any mention of an axle upgrade. The previous owner mentioned he had done lots of Idaho and Baja work, so I assumed he wouldn’t have been foolish enough to run stock axles the past 34 years of his ownership, but when I got into upgrading the tires and brakes on the C180, I was really surprised to see what was underneath the hood…

I know it comes down to cash, and at $380 per side it ain’t no joke. But after inspecting what I had, and comparing them to the HD parts, there was no question the stock ones had to go.  Sold at Spruce.

Anyways… food for thought.


The “Bush Look” – Real World Thoughts…


Thought I would take a sec and talk some real world numbers…

The past two weeks have been busy with finishing the annual on the C170. While in annual, I took the time to transfer the some of the more extreme “bush mods” over to the new C180. As the A/C was a bit closer to stock, I was really interested in seeing how it performed.

The WX has been a bit temperamental with these hurricanes and nor-easters, but today I was able to do a bit of flying and see how the old bird performed w/out some of the (as some would say) more radical mods.

Some interesting info: (actual weights)

height lost w/ smaller tires (measured from the deck to the spinner: -4″
(BTW the C180 gear raised the A/C +2″. I had +6 overall, and now I am +2 over stock. Still better AOA)

removed ABW 8.5×10 tires and 10″ wheels. -85lbs
added 600×6 tires and Cleveland wheels +27lbs
removed ABW Baby Bush -11.5lbs
added Scott 3200 TW +8.5
removed bubble windows and installed Cessna stock windows (no change)
removed BAS harness -5
added stock lap belts +3
removed 8042 prop and installed 7655 (no change)

In “Bush” mode with climb prop, the A/C cruised at 94mph at 2450
W/ the 8042 I (if not careful) could over rev the prop. Typically climbed out not at Vy, but matching the climb to RPM and keeping it at 2700 rpm. This netted 62mph at aprox 1100 ft/min.
at 2700, Max speed indicated about 105mph to burn 5.5-6.5 gph.

W/ that stuff removed (and 7655 prop) I cruised at 105 mph at 2450
Max speed at 2700rpm was 125mph.
Climb performance suffered with the cruise prop on loosing about 500’/min, but benefited +20mph at full throttle.

testing done at 1500′ MSL at 40 degrees ambient. DA was in the minus.

Grass was DEFINITELY no where near as fun…. The pragmatists will argue this, and its totally doable and safe, but don’t let em fool you. Its jarring. All those that have said the 170 does not need anything bigger than stock for off airport are full of you know what. They have never laid out the cash and tried it with the big rubber on. W/ the biggies, the 170 operated in the rough like a caddy. W/ the girlies on, the fun is gone.

On the plus side: With the stuff removed, I can certainly feel the weight difference. The A/C is way more nimble and delicate. Not as lumbering. I can only imagine what it would be like with wheel pants. Its way easier to move around in the hanger w/ less tire resistance as well as being lighter in general. With less weight, I feel it popping off the runway a bit quicker (letting the tail up first) but shorter on the short-field TO because the AOA is a bit more shallow (A/C is much lower)

In general I will say this: It comes down to what you want to do with the airplane. If you want speed and be able to tool around your airfield, stay stock. But if you want to really have fun with your 170 rumbling on anything besides the tarmac, look into bigger shoes. You don’t have to go crazy, but the fun factor outweighs any deficit.

Personally if I had to do it all over again (and I am with the 180) I would do the exact same thing.

Alaskan Bushwheel & Cleveland Double Pucks…

Just a quick unsolicited plug for Alaskan Bushwheel… Wup has been really awesome with transferring the STC’s over to my C180. So much so that I though I would give them a bit of a plug. (anytime I get customer service over and above the norm I think we should note it. Especially in this age of complaining about the bad… They continue to have my loyalty.)

While I was shooting yesterday, I grabbed some images for the ABW gallery and I thought it might be useful to the board…

C170 on C180 gear w/ Alaska Bushwheel 10″ wheels and Cleveland double puck brakes. I run the mains at 12 psi and LOVE em. The set up lands like a Cadillac.


A photo of 8.5×6 next to 8.5x10s


And this is a photo of the Babybush yoke and Aero Classic tire. (posted before)



8.50×6 vs 8.50×10…

Went ahead and added some larger tires…

Here is a shot of the Airhawk 8.50 x 10 on Alaskan Bushwheel 10″ rims. They are way too hard now at 18psi (Wup at ABW recommended going down to 12psi) This will obviously decrease the size of the tyre, but as of today, at 18 psi the increase in height from the old set-up is 4″. Geeze!



Here is the shot of the Goodyear 8.50×6 on 6″ Clevelands.