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Thread: Fat Tires. How good(or bad) are they?

  1. #1
    Basic Member chucklesfly's Avatar
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    Default Fat Tires. How good(or bad) are they?

    Just how good are fat tires on our microlights? I was looking at old posts from Emmet with his S7 on the original smaller wheels & it somehow didn't look right now that I'm used to seeing those fat 26" Airstreaks fitted.
    I'm keen on doing plenty of backcountry flying.

    How much difference do they really make with the capability of our planes?
    Is the extra weight, drag & expense worth it?
    I'd love to hear from any of you who fly on fats & hear your opinion.

    Of course I've watched ALL of Greg Swingle's videos on Vimeo after someone posted his "It's a Rans Man" video.
    http://vimeo.com/17981829

    Then I spent the next few days watching over 60 video clips of the Ohio Bush Plane folk doing AMAZING things with their planes.
    "you got to have phat tires" video is a treat.
    http://vimeo.com/16561627
    "Faster, Faster...till the Thrill of Speed overcomes the Fear of Death"

  2. #2
    Premium Member (Donated) s19flyer's Avatar
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    While I did have what most here would call Phat tires on my Avid Flyer, I did have some 800's on it. Well worth it for off field operations. Those only slowed me down about 5mph.

    If your going to be doing a lot of back country flying they will be well worth it. I got into a lot of very rough fields with mine.

    Having 26" tires would have made it even better.

    I plan on doing that again in the future.

    Watching those video's will cause you to spend money

    And your plane is really looking nice.
    Glenn
    Avid Flyer, S6ES, S19, S20 In Progress
    http://websites.expercraft.com/s19flyer/
    Remember, I am not immune to mistakes!
    What works for me may not work for you.

  3. #3
    Basic Member emflys's Avatar
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    I can tell you for me personally - I will never be without my bushwheels again. The particular tire may change, but I won't be without them. They simply open up a whole new world to you plane (not unlike floats or skis), and give you another flight regime to become proficient at (which I also love).

    My flying has changed too. Every approach I do now is at 42-45 mph. To prevent asphalt wear, I land on a short peice of dirt/grass between my runway/taxiway. So, I have just become really proficient at landing slow and short. Its a fun challenge, but its also a practical one - SAFETY. I focus on landing on a spot, every landing. If the day comes I have to do that becuase all other options have run out - it will pay off.

    For a Rans, the BEST option is hands down the 26" airstreak, IMHO. See my recent post to a Champ driver considering bushwheels on backcountrypilot.org below.

    But, they are not the only option. I tried the 26" Goodyear too. It's heavier, and not as soft, but has great flotation compared to even 800's, smooths out holes/ruts, and the smooth tire keeps rocks from getting flung into your wings. They are ~$900/set as opposed to the $2K of 26" airstreaks. You can also run the goodyear tubeless if you have Matcos with their innexpensive tubeless conversion kit. This will let you run them down to 4-5lbs psi and keep them soft as possible. They also wear like iron so you really don't have to worry about babying them/landing on asphalt.

    There are also the kingfox tire, but those require an 8" rim.

    Its funny, when flying a cross country, I always just looked at where I might need to land. I still look for places constantly, but now it's "Hey, I could land there. Or there. Or there!" I love it - a whole new dimension.

    One piece of sage advice I read when assessing places to land from the air: If it looks smooth, it might be. If it looks rough, it definitely is." Good advice.

    Hope this helps.

    My post from BCP.org:
    "I have flown both 29" and 26" on my Rans S-7S. I know the opinion of others who have done the same. For the Rans, I have also come to the conclusion that the 26" is the best fit. Few reasons that this is MY OPINION (it may be different for a champ). Caveat, my 29" are not airstreaks, but the standard older nylon chord ABW - so a little heaver than the airstreak 29 (3lb per tire heavier) and maybe a little stiffer.

    What I like about the 29"s: Higher AOA, more prop clearance. They really slow you down quick transition to approach. They look better. I have not landed on 6" rocks, so no experience there.

    What I don't like about the 29": They affect the handling of the plane - not as crisp. The is a big weight diff. between the 26 and 29 - 10lbs/tire! They also are heavy on spring-type gear, causing a good amount of fore/aft "shimmy" in certain situations - this is not transferable to the champ. The rolling resistance is fairly high, and I think I get off the ground sooner on the 26". I think overall the directional control is slightly better on the 26", but not a really big differenc.

    Overall, I think the 26" is every bit as good at overcoming rough ground as the 29, FOR WHAT I HAVE EXPOSED them too. Rough pastures, small-rock bars, and for sure anything in Idaho that is a "strip" - Vines, Mile High, etc - heck you can do any of those places with 850's or even 800's.

    So I would think about the type of flying you really see yourself doing. If you really plan on going ROUGH, go with 29"s. If you want to land in the pastures/fields, hillsides, gravel bars, etc. - keep the plane lighter - the 26" is MORE than adequate. They are certainly more capable than I am"
    2009 Rans S7S SOLD!
    [URL]http://picasaweb.google.com/emmetw/N191EW?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeM1_yErp3MIg&feat=directlink[/URL]
    [URL]http://vimeo.com/emflys[/URL]

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    Premium Member (Donated) svanarts's Avatar
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    Just got to limit your on airport dealings or you'll be buying new tires before you know it. I ordered the upsize tires from Rans. I'm gong to see how they perform on grass before I upgrade. Watching Swingle's videos sure will make you spend more money.
    Scott VanArtsdalen
    The Flying Deacon
    S-6ES - N612SV
    http://airprayer.net

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    Basic Member emflys's Avatar
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    Sorry Chuckles - on the speed loss. 26" will yield a 2-5mph speed loss. Airstreaks are 19lbs each, where the goodyears are closer to 27lbs each if I remember. 29's, which Swingle now runs, are 29lbs and probably a 5-10mph speed loss

    800's


    26" goodyears


    26" Alaskan Bushwheel Airstreaks


    29" Alaskan Bushwheels

    2009 Rans S7S SOLD!
    [URL]http://picasaweb.google.com/emmetw/N191EW?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeM1_yErp3MIg&feat=directlink[/URL]
    [URL]http://vimeo.com/emflys[/URL]

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    Basic Member chucklesfly's Avatar
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    Talking

    Thanks for the reply's, this is very helpful info for me & I appreciate all your opinions. I'm very keen on the 26" Airstreaks as far as how they can change the capability of where we can go flying.....& they look soooooooo groovy.
    I love your series of pics Emmet, it seems as if you've been steadily progressing from phat tires to really PHAT tires. What's next???

    Cheers
    "Faster, Faster...till the Thrill of Speed overcomes the Fear of Death"

  7. #7
    Basic Member emflys's Avatar
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    Woodcomp prop??? :)

    I'm done with tires, except probably getting Matco's new 11" fat tailwheel this summer.

    That was not in chronological order, but size order. I have gone back to the 26" airstreak and that's my "std".

    But I still have my 29"s in case i need to land on 6" rocks
    2009 Rans S7S SOLD!
    [URL]http://picasaweb.google.com/emmetw/N191EW?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeM1_yErp3MIg&feat=directlink[/URL]
    [URL]http://vimeo.com/emflys[/URL]

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    Basic Member Flybymike's Avatar
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    I've been using 8.50's on my Kitfox for the past 3 years and I am pretty happy with those. But although I want a set of 26"s on my new S7 kit, I'll probably stick with the 8.50 Goodyears for a year or so. With as light weight as the S7 is, it seems like you would get a good life from the Airstreaks?? I'll probably end up letting "fat tire envy" get the best of my wallet sooner than I think!

    MC

  9. #9
    Basic Member emflys's Avatar
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    Mike - I don't have enough time on mine to know, but I think it makes sense. Especially if you can minimize asphalt time and wheel landings.
    2009 Rans S7S SOLD!
    [URL]http://picasaweb.google.com/emmetw/N191EW?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeM1_yErp3MIg&feat=directlink[/URL]
    [URL]http://vimeo.com/emflys[/URL]

  10. #10
    Basic Member Newkid's Avatar
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    Here's the S-7 with 8" wheels and 21" tires. Advantages: Light, only 10 lbs per tire, and no pitch over when landing. Cheap, only $60 a tire. They are 12" wide so they have good flotation. I've run over badger holes on take off and hardly felt a thing. They work great for rough pastures, hillsides, beaches, gravel bars, just not huge rocks. If you already have Matco hubs and brakes the wheels bolt onto their hubs.
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