The landing gear on an RC aeroplane adds a sense of realism to the plane. Landing gear takes two forms, tricycle gear and tail-dragger. A tricycle gear configuration has two wheels mounted on the wings and a nose gear mounted to the firewall of the plane. Tail-dragger planes have two wheels mounted to the fuselage or wings and a tail wheel mounted below the rudder.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Allen wrenches
- Small screwdriver
Give the plane a push and let it roll on level surface. If the plane pulls to the left or right then the nose or tail gear is not straight and needs to be adjusted. Most steerable nose gear use small set screws that hold the steering arm to the nose gear. Loosen the set screw and twist the nose gear to counteract the pull noticed in the push test. Tail gear generally needs to be adjusted with pliers, twist the landing gear left or right to change the angle of the tail wheel. Retest and make further adjustments as needed.
Add some toe in to the main gear. Some RC planes will pull violently as the ground speed increases; this is known as ground looping. Bend the landing gear so the front of the wheels point slightly inward to help minimise this effect.
Make sure each landing gear arm is straight. Tricycle gear is designed to be perpendicular to the ground with the main gear aft of the centre of gravity. If the landing gear is not perpendicular then it might not be able to handle the stress applied at landing.
Adjust the forward sweep of the tail-dragger landing gear. Tail-dragger main gear are installed forward of the centre of gravity. This configuration helps keep the tail wheel on the ground until the plane has picked up enough speed to generate lift. Add or remove sweep by bending the main gear with pliers. Keep in mind that the prop needs ground clearance.
Tips and warnings
- Use two pliers when possible, one to hold the landing gear and the other to bend it.