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The tail wheel that Van supplies doesn't have very much clearance between the ground and the bottom of the tail wheel fork. Many people report that if the tail wheel goes in a small hole that the tail wheel fork may hit the other side of the hole with quite a lurch. Doug Bell Sr, the father of RV-8 builder Doug Bell Jr, decided to do something about the problem. He designed a replacement tail wheel fork that is a slip in replace for Van's tail wheel fork, and he started selling them - comparison pictures here. Mine arrived on Monday, and it is a thing of beauty. I installed it on Saturday - it was a very quick job.

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  • Guest

    Kevin glad to see you are doing well.
    CGRVO is hangered for the winter here in Whitehorse.
    How did you find the "Bell Tailwheel" ?
    I am on 6 " mains and now need to replace tailwheel.

    Any help appreciated.

  • George,

    I'm very happy with the Bell tailwheel so far, but I have only used it on smooth paved strips. I haven't come anywhere close to giving it the abuse you probably would.

    I have no reason to be concerned about its durability - I just wanted to be clear that I haven't given it a hard test yet.

    It certainly was an easy mod, as it was a perfect fit to the Van's tail wheel socket.

    Kevin Horton

  • Guest

    It certainly will be less of a "tail Hook"if the tire hangs up.
    Where did you buy it?

  • Contact info for the Bell tailwheel is found [url=http://www.vansairforce.net/buildermodifications/tailwheel/Tailwheel_DougBell.htm]here[/url]. Note that these tailwheels are made by a retired machinist, and he has a big backlog.

    If you are in a hurry there are other good options. RV-4 owner "Smokey" Ray, who flys into a lot of back country strips, really likes his [url=http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showpost.php?p=299242&postcount=3]Aviation Products Inc tailwheel[/url]. They don't have a web site - you need to phone 805-646-6042 to order it.

    Vince Frazier at [url=http://www.flyboyaccessories.com/]Flyboy Accessories[/url] seems to have quite a few happy customers for his [url=http://www.flyboyaccessories.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=66&products_id=319]Screaming Eagle tailwheel[/url].

    I have no personal experience with either of these products or companys, but I haven't seen any posts from unhappy customers.

    Kevin Horton

    Comment last edited on about 4 years ago by Kevin Horton