About Tundra Lite Tailwheels
The Tundra Lite Tailwheel was designed for better ground handling and to help eliminate over steering during landing. The Tundra Lite is full castering and is not steerable in the traditional sense. It has no rudder linkage, but merely trails the aircraft. An internal, adjustable tensioning system eliminates shimmy. Because there is no breakout force required to turn the aircraft, the turns are silky smooth and very controllable. Steering is done with individual brake inputs for taxiing and landing. On takeoff, just rudder input is enough for directional control.
The Tundra Lite Lockable features a locking mechanism that allows the pilot to manually lock the tailwheel straight during takeoff and landing in order to ensure straight ground tracking. Slight corrections can be made by using your brakes, even with the tailwheel in the locked position. On takeoff, a little bit of rudder to counter the P. factor is all that is necessary to hold your ground track. It feels very similar to a nose wheel aircraft. Pilots that do not have time in tailwheel aircraft will find that the locking option makes the transition incredibly quick and easy. Seasoned tail dragger pilots will benefit from the locking option when landing off-airport on uneven surfaces, especially side sloped hills. The locking feature also dominates during strong cross wind conditions! However, this tailwheel does not have to be locked for takeoff or landing, it is merely an option.
The Tundra Lite and the Tundra Lite Lockable tailwheels can greatly reduce over steer. We believe that most ground loops are caused by the pilot unknowingly over steering during landing. As the airplane lands, it can rock from side to side because of imperfections in the landing surfaces or wind gust loads. As you correct this with rudder inputs, this imbalance can be magnified by spring linkage that must be in place to prevent rudder damage. Here’s how it goes; as the aircraft rocks we correct this with opposite rudder, which loads the spring link tensioners. As the aircraft’s wings level from the rock, the tailwheel wants to automatically straighten. This would be great except for the fact that the spring tensioner is loaded up. As it’s turning back, the spring pulls the tailwheel passed center, which causes an over steer. You are going to have to try to catch it on the other side, which is going to load the opposite spring tensioner even more in the other direction. Coupled with the already aft cg condition of the aircraft’s three point stance, this oscillation is the perfect setup for a ground loop. We feel that the steerable tailwheel can exacerbate a nonevent into a dire situation.
The Tundra Lite Tailwheels are the lightest tundra style tailwheels on the market. Their sleek, aerodynamic appearance is further enhanced by the elimination of the unsightly steering link tensioners and rudder horn. Removing this traditional steering system also reduces weight and system maintenance. Pilots who have tried the Tundra Lite say that it is the smoothest and the most easily controlled tailwheel that they have ever used.