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

Closer Still…

Annual is done, but bogged down with finishing all the paperwork.  The good news is I might be flying early next week! Dem bush tyres sure are big!



Rolled out the ABWs to see the difference.  New shoes are 39.3 lbs ea and are about 5.5″ taller than the 5.5 x 10’s. Ironically (from my previous notes) the 8.5×10’s on AB 10″ wheels are 42.5 lbs ea. I will weigh em when I remove em, but it looks like the

pypa6uteweight savings continues….

Annual and FedEx…

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


Tail Up, Missing the Point…


I wrote a blog post the other day about the height off the deck of my prop when in flight attitude.  The measurement was interesting with respect to how much clearance you have for a “tail up taxi.”

I also created a thread on the BCP board and the C170 board.  It was interesting to see the different thread migration, but on the C170 board, there was a visceral response.

There was a lot of, “I would never,” and “this and that are stupid…” and “I don’t go outside because I’m afraid of traffic…”  I guess what was disappointing was seeing the narrow mindedness of some opinions clouding point that I was trying to make.  To me, as a low time tail wheel pilot, and an even LOWER back country pilot, this was interesting data.  Data that would be good for all of us to keep in the backs of our heads.



When I was learning to fly tail, I did a number of high speed taxi exercises from one end of the numbers to the other.  In fact I still do it.  Keeps me sharp.  When I started landing in the grass and was bouncing the hell all over the place, I would often cringe thinking that the wheel landing was going to bugger the prop.  My instructor kept saying, “don’t worry…plenty of room.”

As the hook sunk deeper and I started aspiring to operate in the really rough, my questions again came to the surface… How much clearance did I had between bushes, bumps, berms etc…  How tall was too tall?hung


With the C170 project, I gained quite a bit of height adding the larger tires and C180 gear.  When I transferred the tires over to the Skywagon, I grabbed a before and after measurement, and in going from 6.00×6 to the 8.5x10s, I gained 5 inches over stock at the axles, with a total 3 point deck to prop clearance of 30″.  But what about the wheel landing?  How much clearance then?


A weight and balance on a tail dragger is a perfect time to grab this measurement.   As it’s already in flight attitude, all you have to do is run the tape.  In my case, leveled out as if in a perfect wheel landing, I had 18″ from deck to prop tip.
Now I know that taxiing around with the tail up could, by some, be seen as courting disaster.  There are several vids on the web with guys digging holes in the tarmac with their props after showing off, but for every one of those, there are ten of a TW pilot looping his airplane simply trying to land.   Net net… Flying is dangerous.  But that wasn’t the point of my post.  The point of the post was to open one’s mind to the outside parameters of the “safe zone.”

Getting as much data about your machine and your flying helps you become a better pilot.  Thinking outside the box, at least in principle, helps us become better.  And better, makes us safer, and thereby allowing us to have more fun.

And if you taxi every once and a while with your tail up and crack a bit of a smile… Well maybe that’s ok too.



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

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.


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.