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Tricycle gear and tailwheel…

Started by AlaskaGrown, December 31, 2022, 01:39:46 AM

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Good evening all. I have been looking over the forum to learn a little more about the tricycle gear Helios. I’m familiar with Cessna and  piper, and their off airport capabilities in the tricycle realm compared to their tail wheel counterparts. Is this a straight apples to apples comparison between the Helios tail wheel and tricycle performance?
Also, maybe it’s a dumb question, but do the tricycle Helios still have the float fittings present or did any of the alterations mess with them?
I’d love to hear thoughts and experiences with both.


Hi Alaska-  I have had 1700's Helios and 800 Helio.  The 1700 from 1974 Helio is factory trigear but includes the locations for float attachment hardware.
The H800 (and the 700's) were built with the fitting attach points for both tailwheel ops and for trigear.  They also include the float fitting attach points.

We don't usually hear too much about trigear Helio ops for some reason, possibly because most Helios are conventional tailwheel configured and I think many of the off-airport types might think that the Helio nosewheel types might not be up to the rough and tumble.  That may be true in the case of landing in river beds over boulders but I will defer to those with that type of experience. 
My sense of the trigear Helios though is that they are quite robust, the  nose wheels and supporting structure is not like a Cessna. Cessna nose wheels I know are attached to the firewall and things get crumply when they take too much.  The Helio nose wheels are supported by structures that are part of the enginemount and ultimately tie into the tubular frame at the engine mount bolts.  Like in a Cessna though, you don't LAND on the nosewheel.

My trigear takeoff in the H800 is something like this:  Line up for take off (with good view down the runway, get out 1/2-2/3rds flaps, bring in the power.  She starts rolling, my digital airpeed comes alive at 31kts, rotate (not too agressively),  she flies off and while rotating she's climbing out going through 37-38kts, pitch for climb and speed, retract flaps as necessary, I think flap speed is 80-83kts.

For landings at my paved uncontrolled field I like to get on downwind at  70, get some flaps out, trim trim, make base at 60, more flaps (note:  if there's someone in the pattern behind me I warn them that I am going to get pretty slow but I am not doing any 2 mile finals!) then turn onto final looking for 50 as the slats come out and I like to get stable at 45kts and get more flaps or full flaps as necessary,  I flare plenty when close to ground and don;t land on nosewheel. 

I note that sometimes with crosswinds or gusty that when you get slow near the runway you find you are rolling in alot of aileron to keep things right.  Some of you guys might have been trained with Larry Montgomery and he recommended that you wear a leather glove on your left hand. (your right is for the throttle)   I might say too that we Helio guys often forget that we have those intercepters out there since we can't see them working.

I am happy to hear criticism or techniques others have learned.   I think the Helio is just fantastic-  the most difficult thing for me was (coming from Cessnas) to get it slow.  Sometimes you just can't believe how slow you can get and I have used the Helio "special abilities" in situations which require low and slow and tight circling searches.  I am always grateful that I am confident that that inboard wing is not going to tuck under on me.

As an aside-  we just had an accident locally at small paved strip with trees both at ends and alongsides but normally OK- this day as the Mooney pilot turned final the setting sun was right in his eyes.  He was likely dragging it is because, for the Mooney (maybe on final at 70+?) it required skill but normally doable.  He lost all visibilty and got into the tops of the approach end trees. A sad story.  I was thinking that if I was in that situation  in the Helio I would likely be in a steeper final and not that worried about runway length and at 45 kts rather that 70 kts it might not kill me.  Just a thought/  Happy New Year , Guys

Jason Stephens

Shame about the mooney accident.  We deal with that sort a thing a lot here in Phoenix as most of the runways point right at the sun at the end of the day.  I sometimes wait until the sun goes down before landing, even when at a nice wide runway, unless the tower can accommodate a runway change.