Some years ago Miles McCallum of Flyer magazine approached us to help design a conventional landing gear for the Europa. The project took some time before a design was finalised but it was worth the wait.
The basis of the conversion are two trigear main legs reversed. Customised reinforcements consisting of Y shaped webs are added. These nestle under the knees and act as an aid to entry and egress as the seat base is no longer needed as a step.
The Flyer Europa was sold and Mike Davis purchased the aircraft and completed the taildragger build as G-MLXP. The LAA took their time approving the modification, however, it is now fully approved.
Recommended for mono owners who cannot quite accept the trigear route.
We can arrange supply and fit of the landing gear conversion - price on application as it depends on the age and configuration of the donor aircraft.
This modification is available optionally as a license only (applicable mainly to non-UK countries such as USA, NZ, Australia, etc.) where local supplies can be sourced.
Our intent in 2020 was to provide a full kit consisting main gear legs (see below), pre-cut plies for all reinforcements (as the orientations vary significantly to match the load distribution into the primary structure), main wheels, brakes, finger brake kit and a flap actuator.
All options included step by step instructions.
However, COVID-19 slowed and then halted the development of the main legs and, due to a significant increase in consulting work, we have not been able to fully test the instructions. Our intent is to complete these steps in 2021. In the meantime we have offered the license-only option for builders who are able to proceed with their own parts.
Prices vary according to the level of equipment chosen. For example the basic kit consists of pre-cut GF and CF plies, web reinforcement, landing gear sockets and gear legs (Acroflight custom design with undrilled headstock for better accuracy. Additional equipment required can be purchased from Europa Aircraft or via Acroflight, this includes, finger brake kit, flap actuator and fixing kit, brakes (options available for Beringer or MATCO), spats and fairing covers.
We have arranged a partner, to install taildragger kits into owner's aircraft. Hence the top price option is for a 'turnkey' conversion - we even collect your aircraft and deliver it back to a location of your chosing when completed. Rob has many years of experience working with composites - the work is 5-star quality.
Current indicative costs:
Kit - which is a license for a particular reg aircraft plus cutting templates for the plies (in a PDF format ready to print onto 1m wide paper). Instructions (we have changed the sequence of build in light of the issues we found).
Beringer are now almost ready to supply brake/wheel kits. Existing Europa fit brakes and wheels go straight on. For non-tri-gear conversions finger brakes are needed (again Beringer has designed a system and will supply). A material BoM. Kit cost is now £650 (up from £500 since 2020).
Estimate for builder purchased materials, etc.
Metallic kit - 2 x sockets, cross tube - we supply these ready to install or with a variable length cross-tube (requires jigging then a weld to set length). £500 per set.
Composite materials ~£600 (a BoM is available). Matched system from PRF plus 280gsm GF 2x2, foam and plywood for the support webs/reinforcements.
Main gear legs £2750 (pair).
Finger brake kit - factory or Beringer. Europa listed the mod kit for £1000 MOD 65 plus master cylinders (MATCO) £1250.
The cosmetic fairings and wheel spats are being developed now. Estimated at £2000.
Labour man-hour estimate is 40hrs (as a repeat job), new installer or owner-install this might be 80+ hrs. Excluding paint and painting (external plies need to be surface finished and painted a band 450mm wide around fuselage). Average 60 hrs.
Budget cost is therefore £4k of bits (tri-gear conversion) plus labour 60hrs x 50 = £3k. Making it £7k plus paint.
A mono will be around £4k more due to extra parts needed.
The insurance people reckon the value will increase by £15k on average after TD Mod
Europa taildragger conversion
Due to the customised nature of the product we do not accept returns unless the product is defective on delivery.
We ship by courier using the cheapest means possible. P&P is extra, typically UK delivery is under £100. Overseas P&P can be quoted.