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Retractable chopper landing gear question.


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Is it really for aerodynamics or is it for fashion?

 

I dig the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter with those fat wing stubs for retractable wheel gear and fuel tanks.

 

Can wheel gear be used to land on wilderness terrain where choppers with skids normally land?

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Is it really for aerodynamics or is it for fashion?

 

I dig the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter with those fat wing stubs for retractable wheel gear and fuel tanks.

 

Can wheel gear be used to land on wilderness terrain where choppers with skids normally land?

 

If the manufacturer wants the helicopter to fly fast, they consider retracting the landing gear. Wheels are easier than skids to retract, so that’s the norm for larger helicopters; however, the Bell prototype Huey Cobra and the Lockheed XH-51 had retracting skids.

Retractable gear reduces drag at a price. The non-retractable gear is lighter, simpler, cost less and is more incapable to failure.

 

Your question seems to be more about wheels vs. skids. In that respect, the larger the helicopter the more difficult it is to handle on skids. Wheels make it mush easier to move the helicopter from one spot to another by ground taxi or by towing. Ground taxiing produces much less rotor downwash than air taxiing and thus less danger of blowing over other aircraft and less debris blown around.

 

As far as landing in wilderness terrain where choppers with skids normally land, wheels in some cases allow more flexibility when landing on sloped terrain. The UH-60’s wide three-point stance allows it more flexibility in most cases over the older UH-1s on skids. Another example is the wheel stance of the old S-58 vs. the Bell 212/412/205, much more flexibility over slopes and ridgeline landings.

 

Don’t forget, the first Bell model 47 was on four un-braked wheels until Bell received reports from operators in the field having shutdown and having their helicopter roll away downhill. The solution was skids with mounted wheels for ground handling.

Edited by iChris
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Aerodynamics.

 

I am told that wheels are more stable on unimproved terrain. Blackhawks, Apaches have wheels.

 

If it's muddy I'd rather have skids. 17,000 LB Apaches tend to sink into soft soil and have to be dug out by a young Soldier with an E-tool.

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IME wheels are more stable, in multiple ways. If you look closely at skids on a hard surface, there isn't really much area in contact with the surface, perhaps a few square inches. Most of the skid doesn't actually touch unless you're on soft ground. I've landed on sloping steel decks offshore, on ships, and on steel heliports, and skids can be really slippery. I've had the helicopter turn more than 90 degrees during start or shutdown, as the wind or torque moves it. Once RPM is down, the pedals have no effect and you're just along for the ride. A tripod is a very stable support, and rubber wheels grip much better than what little skid shoe you might have on the deck. Retracting the gear also gives much better airspeed and fuel economy. The main attraction of skids are that they weigh less, cost less, need less maintenance, and are somewhat better on soft ground. I'll take wheels every time if I have a choice.

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Guest pokey

IME wheels are more stable, in multiple ways. If you look closely at skids on a hard surface, there isn't really much area in contact with the surface, perhaps a few square inches. Most of the skid doesn't actually touch unless you're on soft ground. I've landed on sloping steel decks offshore, on ships, and on steel heliports, and skids can be really slippery. I've had the helicopter turn more than 90 degrees during start or shutdown, as the wind or torque moves it. Once RPM is down, the pedals have no effect and you're just along for the ride. A tripod is a very stable support, and rubber wheels grip much better than what little skid shoe you might have on the deck. Retracting the gear also gives much better airspeed and fuel economy. The main attraction of skids are that they weigh less, cost less, need less maintenance, and are somewhat better on soft ground. I'll take wheels every time if I have a choice.

 

Didn't the old Th-55's have full length skid shoes? as compared to the whimpy little six 3 inch jobs?

 

Iced over pavement is fun to land and take off on too with skids! ---almost as much fun as floats, paddle well away from dock in a 300, it will turn on ya 3/4 way around B4 T/R decides to do its job.

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