From: Steven Roth (
When replacing my tailwheel tire, I noticed that the tailwheel would swivel for a turn to the left but would be "locked" to prevent a turn to the right (unless it was turned all the way and "broke" free). I took apart the tailwheel (Scott 3450) and found parts extremely worn, especially the horn part which attaches to the chains. The little "butterfly" spring blades would jump out of the detent in the horn. Also, the horn had been beat flat, rather than having the horns at angles. So, I ordered new parts. No problem.

Parts correct and put back together. Same situation existed, so I took it apart again. This time, the problem was the "butterfly" spring ears were too long so the ears would not simultaneously click into the detents. After studying it for a long time and comparing the mechanism with a tailwheel that a fellow flyer had on his bench, I reasoned the spring ears were indeed too long. So, I ground some off each spring wing (about 64th on each side). Then, the spring ears could pop into the detents simultaneously. Put it back together and tested it. Now the tailwheel mechanism "locks" in place straight and pops out at the right moment when the tailwheel is turned all the way to one side.

Now comes the potential problem -- because someone had flattened out the horn on the tailwheel mechanism and the new one was bent up, it changed the geometry on the system enough for the chains/spings to be loose. Prior to the change, they were snug. So, I took one link out of the chain on one side and it was back to normal. But, only one link was required so it was not equally done to both sides. Two links (one on each side) seemed too much. I reasoned that having the tailwheel in trail, it was best to have the rudder slightly (slightly!) to the right than to have the opposite (rudder slightly to the left). I consider the rudder straight when it is lined up with the fin.

So, how much tension should be on the rudder chains? Mine are snug to take out any slack but the springs are not compressed. If I have to take out one link, which side should "suffer".  Your help and wise consul appreciated. -- Steve Roth N2397B

It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the situation. I would say keep them even, a little tension shouldn't hurt. On your question on tire pressure, I haven't had a pneumatic tailwheel since 1984, but as I recall, I just used to air it until it wasn't flat on the bottom, and then add a little! -- Jim

Subject: Re: Tailwheel Opening
From: Bob Runge <>
What would be good to use to plug up the hole where my tail wheel steering chains come through to the tail wheel. It's been a battle of will between me and the birds, and I'm loosing. Right now it's completely open. -- Bob Runge

A screen will keep the birds and mice out. A sheet metal insert will perhaps keep some CO out and maybe even lower drag slightly. -- Jim

TAIL WHEEL SHAKE... (010300)
Subject: Re: Swift speed
From: Steve Wetherbee <>
When weighing this swift and with the tail up in the air to get level we closed up the tailwheel hole with aluminum and used red engine baffling to seal up tight around strut and arms, one of my workers spun the tailwheel pivot and the whole airplane tail section just about came off our stand, it made the tailwheel go back and forth several inches, we think it simulated the motion I am getting at high speeds when the cg is forward, we are making a teflon trust washer to tighten up the swivel. We did disassemble all the tailwheel parts, clean and lube and the plane did not sway before but I did only fly it for a half an hour bringing it home. Do you think that there could be some weird air current during forward cg to make that tailwheel spin or wave back and forth?

Boy! That's a new one on me. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think you are doing the right thing, it can't hurt. -- Jim

Subject: Tailwheel Detent
From: Richard Aaron <>
Some things seem to go from one extreme to the other. When I first got N2405B the tailwheel wouldn't break loose to swivel; very inconvenient when trying to push back into the hangar. Grease didn't help so I disassembled it. There was a spring loaded pin which rides into a notch on a "ring" attached to the fork shaft to center it. These were pretty dinged up so I dressed the parts, re-assembled and greased. Worked like a charm except now it swivels too easily and is still a pain to push back! What should the break-free force be anyway? Would you have any suggestions for a cure or how I can ID the make and model? There are no makings on any of the parts, so I tried to compare to the exploded view diagrams in the Aircraft Spruce catalog to check for replacement parts, but didn't see a match.

There may be a "book" on the Scott Tailwheel, but I've never seen one. I have worked on them using the exploded view in parts catalogues and I've usually succeeded in getting them to work right. I believe Steve Roth <> had good success solving a similar problem, maybe he can explain what he did. -- Jim

Swifter Don Bartholomew <> weighs-in on this one too...
I feel like I walked into the middle of something and there should be other information. It sounds like the make and/or model of the tailwheel is unknown (at least to me). That makes a specific answer difficult. In general, the ends of the spring (as in a 3250 Scott) sit it a machined indentation. There are a couple of things that can affect the function of the swivel lock. First, the spring pressure: if it is to weak, the tailwheel goes past the detent to easily. If it is to stiff, then it doesn't want to break loose. Obviously, grease (friction) and burrs (more friction) make it less likely to break into the free castering range. Second is the shape of the machined grove the end of the spring rides in. Typically, in time, the edge of the grove gets rounded over which will make the wheel pop out of the steering section into the free castering section to easily. I would guess the radius should be about.010". If this is worn, a small amount of dressing can be done with a file. The analogy here is similar to a gunsmith filing a sear on a semi automatic gun. If you find out anymore about the make and model, let me know. -- Helo

Subject: Re: Tailwheels
Jim... I have noticed that many of the Swifts have the Scott or the Maule tailwheels installed. I am interested in putting a larger tailwheel on 844. Can you tell me what series tailwheels fit and if I have to modify the tailwheel fork to make one fit? I have a Maule and a Scott here, but only the Maule looks like it could be made to work. Thanks.......... Larry LaForce

The Maule is not mentioned on the Swift type certificate. (available for viewing on the Swift site) Whether or not there is an STC for using it I don't know. The Scott 3250 is on the original Aircraft Spec. For the installation on a Swift it takes a special drag link, which used to be readily available. Today, you might just try to get a used one. If you are handy with welding aluminum, you might try getting the complete assembly for a Cessna, and cut and piece together the Swift drag link and the Cessna tailwheel bracket, then welding it up to duplicate the Scott/Swift drag link. -- Jim

Subj: Big vs Small Tailwheels
From: Michael Cochran <>
Hey Monty!
Just was rolling through the archive, and was looking for an argument of big versus small tailwheels. Didn't find it, but am interested in what you have to say about it. The one on 57B is the big Scott and we would like a smaller one. Suggestions?? Would appreciate it. -- Mike N2457B

If you look on the Swift site, you will find the Swift type certificate which lists the various tailwheels approved on the Swift. Plus just about any tailwheel can be field approved. I would discourage use of the non-steerable tailwheels. -- Jim

Subj: Swifts what else
From: Phil Latham <>
I own a 200hp swift, N-41P. a wonderful airplane. I have been having some problems recently with my tail wheel. This week the Scott 2000 solid rubber tire came off on landing and I ruined the hub on roll out. I have be trying to buy a new wheel with no success but think I have a used one coming from another Swifter. Question??? I would like to upgrade to a Scott 3200 assembly. Where can I find one for my Swift? I have an extra aluminum triangular piece (not sure what you call it) with a large Maule pneumatic tire and wheel mounted but the Maule steering mechanism hits the housing and will not steer more than 10 deg left and right so I took it off and I am using the another housing with a Scott 2000 solid rubber tire. Can I use my second housing to install a Scott 3200 tail wheel? Do you know where i can buy a complete assembly? Jim thanks for your time. You can call me at 1-800-937-8990 or e-mail as you like. Thanks Phil

Scott 2000 tailwheels, and parts, are still available from Aircraft Spruce and other sources. Our Swift association can probably get them too. The 3200 tailwheels require a special draglink to be used on a Swift. If you have a draglink, you can buy an assembly for a Cessna or whatever, and use the proper parts to use the tailwheel on the Swift. ( The drag link is that "A" frame looking aluminum forging the tailwheel fastens to.) You said you had an extra one, I was hoping it was for the big Scott tailwheel. The tailwheel assy. itself is generic, you can use one for a Cessna, but the draglink is special for a Swift. If you don't have one you can try advertising "wanted" in the various publications. There aren't any new ones out there that I know of. Complete assy's go for pretty high bucks these days, but for enough bucks you might beat one out of the bushes! There may be some used complete assemblies available from time to time.  --  Jim

Subj: retractable Tailwheel
From: George Isenberger <>
Hi Monty, I am still dreaming of a retractable tailwheel. Do you have any information on the subject? I saw one on Charlie´s Swift but it seems very stiff. Also seen one on one of Mark Holiday´s Swift. Unfortunately only on a picture. since my Swift is US registered I generally have to comply with US law. Is there any drawing etc. about how to build such a thing? Regards, George

The retractable tailwheel on Charlie's Swift was developed by Hugh Evans at Merlyn Products and STC'ed. Unfortunately, they decided against producing it, and as far as I know, it is a one of a kind. There are several Swifts with retractable tailwheels, but as far as I know they are not FAA approved. Some may have a field approval, but I have not seen the paperwork. Mark Holiday does not have a retractable tailwheel. He has a small non-steerable tailwheel on his 210 Swift. Pat Moore also has a small non-steerable tailwheel which is not the one listed on the type certificate, but he has a field approval from the FAA. I think the process for getting the approval is doable, but with the limited market, does not have much potential for making money. I am cc'ing this to Charlie and Denis Arbeau, maybe someone can help you. -- Jim

A recent request in a GTS Internet Update has brought an offer from North Carolina Swifter Bo Mabry <>. Bo said that he would be glad to share the information he has on a retractable tailwheel for the Swift. Those interested may also call Bo at (910) 799-4354. Bo also mentioned that he is now working on an engine mount for the 180 Lycoming as per the Swift Museum Foundation STC. We look forward to more information from Bo on that project in the future.

From: Richard Aaron < >
I recently developed a case of tailwheel shimmy which I want to stop before something breaks. After taking everything apart I found some play in two places. One was in the bronze bushings in the "A" frame that the tailwheel yoke shaft goes through. I don't see these listed separately in the Swift Parts Manual; are they available from Swift Parts or do you know of another source? Also, what's the easiest way to remove the old ones (particularly the first one out)? Second, and seemingly more difficult to resolve, is between the fittings and the two bolts that attach the A frame to the fuselage. How much play should there be? The bolts are 5/16" dia. with a 1 7/16" grip (AN5-17 ?) and are snug in the A frame holes. They mic out at about 0.0310". It seems that the holes in the fittings are worn; any suggestions? The fittings are aluminum and seem pretty flimsy compared to the "A" frame. It doesn't look like it would be easy to ream them, plus there's not a lot of "meat" anyway, and, if I went to over-size bolts I'd have to ream the A frame too. I don't want to think about changing the fittings, it might be easier to convert to a nosewheel! Is there any other possible cause of the shimmy?

The play between the structure and the draglink "the "A" frame" is not the cause of your shimmy, but the result. Presuming you have a Scott tailwheel, check for obvious wear. Parts are available for just about any model Scott tailwheel. If you have a Maule tailwheel, I would get rid of it and get a Scott! They have a lot of parts down in Athens that are not shown. Call and see if they might have what you need. To remove bushings, get an appropriately sized bushing tool and bolt and tighten up the bolt and draw the bushing out. There are machinist tools for this. Installation is the reverse. Any bushing can be made a few thousandths larger by a machinist. The bushing should fit .001 tight in the hole. (no play at this point) 5/16" = .3125 so a 5/16 bolt commonly does mike about .310. A close tolerance bolt may mike a thousandth or two bigger, so a new NAS or close tolerance bolt may help slightly. There is nothing published on wear at this point, but common sense and standard practice should tell you to keep wear or relative size of adjacent bushings/bolts to within a few thousandths. Avoid changing the extruded fittings which are riveted to the fuselage stucture at all costs! That is a miserable job and is best done by removing a section of the fuselage skin forward of the tailwheel. That is not a job for beginners! -- Jim

From: Richard Aaron <>
Thanks for your reply. I've had some time to examine things more closely over the weekend. Initially, I thought that the extruded fittings didn't have bushings, but after looking in the Maintenance and Operation Handbook, pg. 72 (which I should have done first) and with the aid of a small magnet and a sharper look, I see that there are. My assembly didn't have the 3145 spacers but 5/16" bolts instead. As a result, they were installed with the heads inboard as they (the heads) are too large to clear the bottom edge of the fuselage skin. The bushings do show wear, and so does the area of the bolts that were engaged in them. As a temporary fix, I was able to reverse the bolts (heads outboard) by grinding one face of the heads down to the shank and filing away about 1/16" of the skin. This reduced the play considerably. The long engagement in the A frame is probably meant to keep the bolt square; however, the greater frictional area likely causes the bolt to turn in the fitting. Immobilizing the bolt relative to the fitting would help reduce wear. When I get a chance I'll try to replace the bushings. Anyhow, I reassembled everything, lubed and greased, and the shimmy is virtually gone. -- Dick

IT'S IN THE "BLUE BOOK"... (100300)
From: Jim Montague <>
Subject: Re: Tailwheel
Regarding the recent discussion of the tailwheel and it's mounting, I refer folks to the blue book, "Maintenance and Operation Information for the Swift" - published 1987 and available from Swift Parts. There is an excellent account by Dick Collins on page 70 - 71 and 72 and a drawing of the forward draglink attach on page 72. -- Jim

Subj: Tailwheel cover
From: Dennis Friedrich <>
Does anyone have any drawings etc. on how to cover the tailwheel hole? Do they run a strip on the inside to fasten it...or the outside? I had a cloth piece made and spent an hour under the airplane trying to decide on just how to attach it. Am trying to make sure it is sealed tight. Thanks.

The factory installed a draft seal bulkhead made of cardboard at sta. 145.33, it was just screwed to the existing bulkhead with wood screws. If you are closing up the hole where the shock strut and steering cables exit, you are on your own. Look some Swifts over at a fly-in and you may find one to give you an idea. -- Jim

From: Larry Owen <>
Subject: Tailwheel hole -Reply
Denis, you got me on my soapbox again (just kidding) or how I covered my tailwheel hole story #934. This may not be what Dennis Friedrich is looking at, but here is what I did. I sewed a three sided piece of heavy cloth with a vinyl type covering, (the stuff you use for sofa's). Cut to taper into a cone, with Velcro along the back seam. Sort of a upside down, three-sided pyramid. The top "hole" is big enough to over lap the skin by 1/2 inch. Bottom hole is just big enough for the tailwheel to come out. Velcro closes it up. Sewed into the inside, heavy plastic "rub guards" for the tailwheel control arms so they can not rub on the cloth. Cut a 1/2 inch ribbon of alum from some thicker stock (32?) and bent it into the shape of the skin hole. Sort of like a chrome strip for you car. Paint to match. Put the cloth between the skin and the strip. Drill small mounting holes (plan this out so not to interfere with anything !!) and assemble. I used short flat-headed sheet metal screws (sorry), but a better idea would be mounting nut-plates. The cover keeps the grime off the tailwheel. The Velcro opens in the back for inspection. The vinyl cleans easily. The color matches the swift. Never had any problems. Larry Owen N78287

Subj: Tailwheel Drag Link
From: Larry LaForce <>
Hello Jim... While reading in the "Maintenance and Operation Information" book, I came across the article on the tailwheel drag link starting on page 70. I have inspected N80844's rivets in that area and they are tight. My question is... since I already have the belly skin removed, would it be advisable to go ahead and re-rivet or put bolts through the extrusion / channel junction? Have you experienced this problem with any of your birds? Your advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.... Larry LaForce

I would not replace those rivets if they are tight. If your airplane has, say, 2000 hours of time on it, it is reasonable to assume it will go another 2000 hours. (And another 50 years!) Let someone else worry about it in 50 years! Incidentally, rivets have a real advantage over bolts in structural applications. The riveting operation makes them very tight in the hole, so they tend to stay tight. I have not had these rivets loose personally, but am aware of others who have had this problem.  --  Jim

From: Steve Wilson <>
Subject: Scott Tailwheel for Swift
I saw Phil Latham's ad on the GTS Homepage looking for a Scott tailwheel. Good luck! As he may have discovered, finding an "A" frame for a Scott tailwheel is almost impossible. If you have a good "A" frame from a solid tailwheel installation, you can manufacture what you need. I bought a new Scott 3200 from Aircraft Spruce (price under $500). I then took the stationary swivel mount off the Scott tailwheel and mounted in a Bridgeport mill, shaped it to fit on the bottom of the "A" frame. I am not good at aluminum welding so got a friend to mate the pieces. Actually, difficult to tell from the original. A side benefit is that doing it this way gives a 1-2" increase in viz over the nose when taxiing VS the original Scott, not to mention, much better viz than solid tailwheel. cheers... Steve W

From: Phil Latham <>
Subject: RE: Scott Tailwheel for Swift
Steve, thanks for the info. I did find a complete A-frame and 3200 wheel,etc. It is much improved over the solid wheel and does give much better viz on landing and taxi. I have the spare airframe and Scott 2000 wheel as back up/ thanks, Phil

Subj: Scott
From: Bud England <>
Jim--I've got the old small, solid Scott tailwheel. I have found some of the parts interchangeable with the model 2000, but not all.It's now in good shape, except for the break-over centering pin. Have not had much luck making one. Any idea who might have some of these old parts? Do I even need the centering function? Bud

Right off hand, I don't know. I thought those pins were all pretty much the same. To make one, the size should be easy to duplicate, but it must be heat treated to match the original. You might try calling Scott and perhaps you could send them your old pin measurements and see if they have something like it. Once I was snooping in the parts bins at Athens and found a bunch of tailwheel parts. They might have what you need. Some old Swift pilots flew, and still fly with non-steerable tailwheels, but given a choice, I'll take a steerable! -- Jim

TAILWHEEL TALE... (110301)
From: Roy Cook <>
Which tailwheels are STC'ed for a GC-1A. Thanks, Roy

If you look at the Swift site on the left side you will see - Maintenance Information - and under that - "Swift Type Certificate Data" - if you will read the type certificate you will see Item 202. Tail wheel assembles. All the tailwheels are certified for both the GC-1A and GC-1B. These are: (a) Scott 6x2.00 (b) Firestone 6x2.00 (c) 6x2.00 Temco (which I believe is the Scott 2000 t/w) (d) Scott 3250. In addition, a non standard tailwheel can be field approved, I got a tailwheel meant for a homebuilt approved on Pat Moore's N2387B, but another FAA office refused to approve a similar installation. Don't try to use a Maule tailwheel! It's not approved plus it doesn't work nearly as well as a Scott. -- Jim

Subj: scott 6X2 tail wheel
From: Dennis Gehring <>
To: Karl Johanson <>
Re: to the last news letter. Removing tail fork on the scott tail wheel. I took mine off a few years ago and what I remember is that there is a pin that goes through collar and shaft which has to be driven out and then the fork will drop out of the housing. Dennis Gehring

Dennis & Karl the back of my subconscious I seem to remember that. The 6x2 original tailwheel is not a Scott, but a Temco tailwheel. Thanks Dennis!

Subject: Re: more on tailwheels
Hi Denis, As far as I know there were 4 tailwheels available for the Swift. All 4 were unique as the drag link was a casting made by, or for Globe/Temco : #1 a non-steerable with a Scott 2000 series wheel,fork,hard rubber tire. #2 same as #1 but steerable. #3 Firestone steerable, also hard rubber tire. #4 Scott 3200 series steerable with pneumatic tire. # 1,2,3 had similar drag links, although #3 had bearings instead of bushings in the drag link for the fork. I like #3 for quality but parts are extremely rare. I think most Swifts had #1 originally, as the steerable kit wasn't available until later in 46. I've seen several others adapted to the Swift like, Maule,Lang and of course several retractables. Mark

Subj: Tailwheel drag links
From: Roy Cook <
Calling once again on your expertise. I need a new tailwheel. I hope this makes sense. I can't asertain the brand of the worn out tailwheel and I haven't seen anything that looks like it. I have an extra tailwheel drag link that I got when took possession of the plane. The one on the plane has two bearings, one roller type bearing located in the middle of the mounting and the other is a cone shaped bearing similar to a wheel bearing on a car front wheel, located on the lower end of the mounting. The extra drag link has two bushing instead of the bearings. The extra drag is shaped differently in that the mounting is a little smaller in size. Could you please tell me if an off the shelf tailwheel can be bought for either drag link and installed without having to do any machining. I bought a Lang tailwheel thinking it would fit right in and it didn't. Also, you mentioned to me a while back that a prop spacer off of a Cessna 150 would improve the performance of my little 85 HP Swift. Is there a certain year of 150 that has the spacer? Thank you, Roy

If you look on the Swift site, you will see "Swift Type Certificate Data" -- which is the Aircraft Specification which tells which tailwheels are approved on the Swift. The one with the bearings is a Firestone Tailwheel (b) on the spec. sheet. The one with the bushings is most likely a Temco Tailwheel (d) on the spec. sheet. The Lang Tailwheel is for homebuilts and is not approved. There are several tailwheels that will fit and are field approvable including the Maule tailwheel, but I think the Scott Model 2000 Tailwheel is identical and interchangeable with the Temco 6x2:00 steerable. The C-150s used a prop spacer from about 1971 on. Any of these years will work. We cut them in half in a lathe which must be done very accurately. This was done mostly for looks, the complete spacer could be used. The spacer must be pressed on to a couple of pins in the prop. Jim
PS The only tailwheel that is readily available is the Scott Model 2000. $254.75 from Aircraft Spruce.

From: Jim Montague <>
Subject: Tailwheel
I saw in the newsletter Karl Johanson is looking for an 8" tailwheel. The Scott 3250 tailwheel is approved on the Swift and is available from Aircraft Spruce and other suppliers. The drag link, necessary for installation on a Swift, however is not available except on the used market. Some guys have grafted a bracket from the generic Cessna installation to the original Swift drag link by welding. -- Jim

Subj: Swift tail wheel
From: Mark Oltjenburns <>
Hi Jim , The other day when I was airing up the tires . I noticed that the turning arm assembly had some wear on the arm and the springs where they contacted each other . I have a Scott 3200 series assembly . I have an illustration that I downloaded from Aircraft Spruce , but they did not list the springs . I tig up the oblonged holes in the turning arm assembly . All I have to do is locate the springs . They were worn half way thru . Do you know of any sources , they are about 1 1/2 thick and 3 " long . Thanks for the great source of information . Mark Oltjenbruns N78

Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but Hardware Hank is where I got mine! -- Jim

Subj: Scott 3250 Tailwheel
From: Doc Moore <>
I bought a 3250 draglink and tailwheel assembly. Have you ever taken one of these apart? I'm trying to do so in order to clean everything, replace any worn parts, and repaint the unit. There is a spring in the bottom of the unit that keeps the tailwheel locked. It is flat spring steel with a 45 degree bend on each end. There is a pin in the center that keeps it in place and I can't figure out how to get the pin out. Looks like it is driven to the inside which means I have to remove a bronze bushing to do so. You got any thoughts on that? Thanks, Doc

Yes, I have had occasion to work on those tailwheels a few times, but the last time was two years ago and I can't remember that pin as being hard to remove. To my memory, it is a hardened steel pin that "only" sells for about 5 bucks so I replaced it. I don't have a manual on the Scott Tailwheels so I worked from the exploded drawing in the Aircraft Spruce Catalogue. I do remember that some of those tailwheels have 5 little compression springs installed and some only 3. Maybe that pin is "riveted" (swelled and distorted) in the unit you have. Someone may have replace the genuine hardened pin with a softer piece of steel. -- Jim

Subj: Pneumatic Tail Wheel
From: Bob Price <>
I have been offered a pneumatic tailwheel complete with fork for my Swift. The owner said it was previously installed on his Swift but he did not know what the make of the wheel was. A friend had given him the whole assembly for his Swift. The "A" Frame indicates it was manufactured in New York and the wheel is 8 inch in size. The wheel has only one mark-----"UR".... Can you give me any information on this..This tailwheel assembly was acquired sometime after 1974 (my estimate)... Thanks Jim! -- Bob Price

That sounds like the Scott 3250 Tailwheel for a Swift - is the tailwheel a Scott? I looked at my hangar partners tailwheel and there is no mark at all on the draglink and just a few numbers on the wheel itself - no "UR". -- Jim

Subj: Re: Pneumatic Tail Wheel
From: Bob Price <>
Jim: Thanks for getting back with me... the owner of the wheel says there are no marks on the wheel to indicate "Scott" or "Maule".... He said he had installed it on the Swift many years ago and it fit perfectly. He then removed it and installed the original "A" frame and hard rubber wheel....Were these "A" frames designed especially for the Swift? Thanks for all the help you have been to me...without your assistance I could not have been able to get the Swift back to her new home in Virginia... Bob

The Scott & Maule tailwheels look quite a bit different. Look in the Aircraft Spruce Catalogue or some aircraft parts catalogue to try to determine what you have there. The "A" frame (draglink) for he Scott tailwheel is a special part and very hard to find nowadays. The Maule tailwheel is not approved on the Swift. The approved tailwheels are listed on the Aircraft Specification, (type certificate) which is viewable on the Swift site. If you send me a picture I may be able to identify the tailwheel. -- Jim

From: John Foster <>
Hello Jim, hope you are well... I have retired now and rebuilding Ser# 3660 and wanted to upgrade to an inflatable tail wheel and at Athens I purchased a complete Scott 3250 with all new internal parts, tire and tube..the works and it looks great... The only thing is the "A" frame or drag link is twisted five degrees! It appears that it took a side load (maybe in a ground loop) as the airplane was turning left. I was told that shock absorber tang had been magnafluxed or dye checked and has no I think I have an idea why they checked it. I read everything in your archives and find nothing on that problem. do I "untwist" it. I know nothing about repair to forgings or castings. Can they just be 'untwisted', (heated or cold), cut and welded...??? The only other item is the steering "arm assembly" does not come out flat and then turn up but rather comes out of the housing at a 35 degree angle with the attach hole one and one half inches from the housing. Looks close!? Any advice will be appreciated and thanks for all the great information on so many systems. I wouldn't want to try to get along without it. John Foster

Yes, you can rig up a couple of 2x4's and "untwist it". Maybe warm it up am little, but don't anneal it. If it cracks, you can weld it. You can buy component parts for the Scott 3200 from AC Spruce. The price for that arm is $92.50. You might be able to straighten that too. Jim

Subj: Tailwheel Strut
From: Richard Aaron <>
Dear Jim,
I've just replaced the seals in my tailwheel strut and have refilled with hydraulic fluid per the directions on the strut nameplate and in the Cummings Manual. I just wanted to check to see if I was missing something here. It seems that the strut and its piston are completely filled with fluid when extended. Doesn't there have to be some free volume for the piston to be able to move in when the strut compresses? I haven't reinstalled the strut yet and just wanted to check as it's easier to work with while it's out.

You fill it to the level of the filler plug with it vertical. (Or near vertical, as it is in the airplane.) -- Jim
PS When I answered your question about the tail strut I neglected to tell you about the bleeder screw. See the Commings Manual. If you fill it per the instructions there is air in the other end of the strut. -- Jim

KIND OF A "DRAG"... (NOV 03)
Subj: tailwheel a frame
From: Brian Silcox <>
I just broke the A frame on my tailwheel. I have the small solid Scott non steerable wheel and tire. I noticed an ad in the website for a complete assembly for a tailwheel for a GC1-A. The seller claims it is not interchangeable with mine (GC1-B #1172, N46GS) Any wisdom here for trying to obtain an A frame? -- Brian

There are only two basic A frames. (draglink, official term) The draglink for the Firestone tailwheel has a different bearing arrangement, but it can be made to work. The two are the standard and the one for the big Scott tailwheel. The only two part numbers are 3250-1 and 3224. Jim

Subj: Tailwheel Shimmy
From: Art Griffin <>
Dear Jim,
I've been reading the forum on the Swift web site and decided to try and get some free advise. I've got a Scott 3200 tail wheel on my Citabria that vibrates and shimmies when I have full back pressure on the stick on 3-point landings. I've tried compression and tension springs, tried both sets loose and both sets tight. I replaced the tail wheel tire 30 hours ago and it's already worn out. There is no play or looseness in the tailwheel mechanism. I am thinking about adjusting the leaf springs to put more bend in them which should ultimately bring the plane of rotation closer to perpendicular. I don't know if this is a good idea. This is my second Citabria. I never had a problem with the first one. The first one never lost a spring and it had tension springs on it. I would appreciate any words of wisdom you might have for me. Respectfully, Art Griffin

Although several factors can contribute top tailwheel shimmy the #1 cause is lack of the correct caster angle of the (near) vertical fork bolt. If your tailwheel leaf spring has the wrong arch the angle may be incorrect. Other things may include any looseness or wear at any point. The Scott tailwheel has a bolt to adjust the friction on the thrust plate and there are 3 or more little springs in there also. I believe I have seen more springs installed but I don't work on tailwheels every day! If you get too much friction on the thrust plate the tailwheel won't swivel readily for pushing back into the hangar. Maule's latest on tailwheel connector springs may stop shimmying. A high and low frequency spring is used to upset the frequency of the tail wheel. The lighter spring is used on the left side. Both springs have same length and diameter but the wire used is considerably heavier gauge on one than the other. ref. Aircraft Spruce Catalogue, pg. 227. A new tailwheel tire with less pressure may help also. -- Jim

Subject: Re: Tailwheel tyre/tire
From: Denis Arbeau <>
My Swift is s/n 1300 and it DID NOT come from the factory with a steerable tailwheel or the steering arms. I tend to think this was an option???

Hmmm! I thought all the s/n's around there had steerable t/w's. I guess it must have been later on. And here I thought the "Kilo" Swifts were deluxe models and had stuff like steerable tailwheels and Aeromatic props. I knew most of the "78----" series had wood props and non-steerable tailwheels.
-- Jim

Subj: Maule Tailwheel
From: Richard Aaron <>
I know that you're not a fan of the Maule tailwheel, but I was wondering what are the specific problems with it? Is the one for the Swift the same as in the Aircraft Spruce catalog; SFS-P8A & SFS-P8B ? Regards, Dick

The Maule tailwheel is not approved on the Swift. I had one on a Swift and it did work Ok. I used to fly a Champ which had a Maule tailwheel and shimmy was a constant problem. -- Jim

Subj: Monty,
From: Charlie Sidenstricker <>
I bought 80997 in Nov from Robert E Lee and have just moved it to a new hangar which has high threshold and runners making it difficult to pull into the hangar. I have installed an electric wench to pull the aircraft into the hangar as I could not pull it in by myself. My question is, is it ok to hook the wench cable to a strap around the the tail wheel without doing structural damage to the assembly? I have the larger tail wheel. Thanks -- Charlie Sidenstricker

Avoid pulling from the shock strut and figure out a way to pull so the loads go to the drag link attach at its forward end. You'll be Ok. Jim

Subj: Re;Swift
From: Ed Benguiat <> </A>
I am considering purchasing a Swift and well into the search process as Swift articles suggest. I've had many questions answered in the past but here's one I recently thought of. Is there any Swifts with Locking tailwheels and or steerable tailwheels? My recently sold Spartan Executive had a detent and we converted it to a locking type, it still had the detent feature when you unlocked it (from the cockpit of course). With steerable tail wheel what happens when you push the plane back? The geometry sort of confuses me.please advise me .....Thank you, Ed Benguiat

Ed - To my knowlege there are no locking tailwheels on Swifts. There are many steerable tailwheels. After about 30 degrees the steerable tailwheel disconnects and becomes full castoring.- Jim

Subj: Tailwheel question.
From: Wyatt Honomichl <>
I have a GC-1A with a non steerable tailwheel. I am getting the parts to put at steerable unit on it. Is this a good idea, or should I leave it as a non steerable. Im looking for something that will be safe to fly in the crosswinds and stuff. Thanks for your input. Wyatt H.

I definitely recommend a steerable tailwheel. The big Scott 3250 takes a special draglink and is very hard to find nowadays. (The draglink is hard to find, the tailwheel is pretty much the same as the 3200 from a Cessna 170.) I think the smaller Scott 2000 tailwheel is interchangable with the original Scott 6x2.00 or the Temco 6x2.00 Some guys have welded the Cessna 170 tailwheel bracket to the original Swift draglink and used the Scott 3200. The Scott 3200 is cheaper, it is $547 from Aircraft Spruce while the 2000 is $1,226! The arms that go in the aft fuselage are hard to find but maybe you can run a "wanted" ad. -- Jim