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Flat Left Main Tire

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I've experienced flats on all the planes I've owned, usually while taxiing and once immediately after landing a C-172. It's always been pretty much a non-event, even with the 172 landing. 

I suffered my first flat on the CTLSi last week, left main, while taxiing. The tire must've lost all pressure immediately because before I could react, the plane veered quickly off the taxiway and halfway into the grass. I mean there was no warning or slow move to the left - it jerked to the left, as was evidenced by the skid mark left on the taxiway. Startled the shee-it outta me! 

I never did determine what caused the flat, but I suspect it was a mesquite thorn, as those have been the culprit in the past. I use the best quality Leakguard tubes from Desser. 

My point is, if the CTLS loses directional control that quickly from a flat when taxiing, how's it going to behave if a flat occurs upon landing? Got to admit, it has me spooked.

Anyone had a flat when landing your CT? 

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I had a flat upon landing on my front wheel last year. It was not an issue with that wheel, as I could tell it was flat, but it did not jerk the aircraft one way or another. I have not experienced a flat in on the two rear mains, so I can not speak to that. 

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I had a flat right main on landing at Borrego Valley several years ago.

We were on our way back from New York and at the last minute I decided we didn't have enough fuel to comfortably make it over or the mountains into the LA basin. I chose Borrego Valley as a fuel stop. That was kind of dumb, stopping so close to the mountains, in that we would have to circle and climb thousands of feet to get over them rather than a more efficient cruise climb if I had fessed up to the problem sooner. Also, with a little more planning I could have picked an airport with autofuel, like Chiriaco Summit which has a gas station just over the fence.

Anyway, on landing the plane pulled hard to the right immediately. Even with full opposite rudder, It still veered to the right. Fortunately, I always land with minimum speed (fully stalled), usually with 15 degrees flap and never any power, so the roll is generally pretty short anyway. And I always pick up the flaps immediately on touchdown to get weight on the wheels. This keeps us on the ground in gusty conditions and makes the brakes more effective. In this case I was on the brakes quick and hard. And of course, the flat tire was helping to. So, we stopped very quickly, over on the right-hand side of the runway but still on the pavement.

At low speed I think I could get the plane to straighten out enough to taxi to the first turnout, which happened to be very close. From there we got out and pushed.

I keep spare tubes and a few tools in the plane, so we were on our way again in a hour or so.

Mike Koerner

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3 hours ago, Mike Koerner said:

keep spare tube

That's a great idea.  I have the "Tundra" main tire.  Does anyone know of a video that reveals how to change the tube?  I do carry tools with me but not the ones to change a tube/tire.  Thank you in advance.  EB3 glad you and the plane are safe.

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This vid is about assembling a new Matco wheel with Tube... it probably isn't the same part # as what goes on a FD plane... if anyone has a better tube change primer vid, please post.  

 

 

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My Matco wheels/brakes are not like what is shown in the video. My plane, a 2007 CTSW, came with the Italian jobs. I replaced them early on with what might be the first Matco design for the CT. The Matco designation is WHLW162L.

I have the Tundra gear with 6:00x6 tires. The wheels do not have the large, flat mating area that easily joins up as shown in the video. The mating surface on mine is very narrow and "slotted" for a precise fit. I also use Goodyear Custom III's or Desser which are really stiff compared to the thin rags that came on the plane. These tires resist punctures from thorns.

To get the wheel halves mated requires the use of 3 or 4 clamps to squeeze the sidewalls to the point where the wheel halves come together. When the halves are together there is no way to verify the tube is not being pinched. You just have to hope you did a good job of separation as the halves come together. Some people use a cord which can be used to run around between the wheel and tube to verify the tube isn't being pinched just prior to tightening the bolts.

One time I tried starting with longer bolts to bring the halves close enough together to swap the long bolts for the factory bolts. Worked pretty good except that was the only time in 13 years I pinched the tube. Didn't do it that way again!

There's got to be an easier way. Anyone?:ive_got_it-1379:

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SandP, I too have the larger wheels.  Do you bring a tube and tools with you in the plane ?  If so, you mentioned the clamps (size please?) anything else ? Thx !

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I pinched a tube, maybe 2 when I put a set of Matco wheels on a CTSW. The pinch was so good that I didn't find it until I unmounted the tire to rotate it for wear. When I took the tube out there were little football shaped pieces of rubber cut from the tube. When I found the first one pinched I then unmounted the other to find it also pinched. So that was 2 on one airplane. The only other time I have pinched a tube was on a Piper Warrior, and it was because I reused the tube. Tubes stretch over time, and if you pull one out of a tire and try to put in in a new tire it will bunch up because it is to large for the space. 

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Learned a pile of helpful tips in the 16 hr class this weekend, on the subject of tires loosing air over time, instructor shared to check that the valve is tight in the stem.  He often finds these loose allowing the slow leak, even on new tubes.  I had a slow leak on my CT when I bought it which was a new tube replaced the week prior during annual, purchased new tube and did not find a pinch when I opened it up - I'm wondering now if it was as simple as the valve was not tight on that one.

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21 hours ago, AGLyme said:

SandP, I too have the larger wheels.  Do you bring a tube and tools with you in the plane ?  If so, you mentioned the clamps (size please?) anything else ? Thx !

I don’t carry a tube or any tools to pull the wheel off and fix a flat. 
but, for as long as I can remember I have carried one of those aerosol fix-a-flat cans. Never had to use one. 
These are the clamps I use. 

328E80A7-1C28-463D-AFAD-CF12709F2E16.jpeg

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Hey folks. I screwed up.

Since posting about landing with a flat tire I talked to my passenger and checked my log book. We had a locked brake, not a flat tire. And we didn't replace the tube. My passenger said we applied cooling to the stuck brake with water and some "percussive maintenance".

Apparently, I had let the brake shoes wear to the point that the pistons were extending beyond their normal range of travel. My log book reports I replaced the shoes thereafter and I have had no further problem since.

I have had the nose wheel go flat on landing a couple times, but I have not landed on a flat main. I do carry tools and spare nose and main wheel tubes and I have repaired both while on the road... but hopefully those problems are behind me now that I use heavier duty tires and maintain pressure in the nose to keep the tire from slipping on the rim and ripping out the valve stem.

Sorry for my incorrect post.

Mike Koerner

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On 6/21/2020 at 8:50 PM, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

Learned a pile of helpful tips in the 16 hr class this weekend, on the subject of tires loosing air over time, instructor shared to check that the valve is tight in the stem.  He often finds these loose allowing the slow leak, even on new tubes.  I had a slow leak on my CT when I bought it which was a new tube replaced the week prior during annual, purchased new tube and did not find a pinch when I opened it up - I'm wondering now if it was as simple as the valve was not tight on that one.

Was this a ct specific course or another? Thanks

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Rainbow Aviation 16hr LSRIA course, search Rainbow Aviation, they do these all around the country.  Instructor was Jim Scott, mainly focused on getting you a decent score on the test and a certificate at the end, he did a great job on the class - he focused a lot on Rotax, and is familiar with CT's but no more so than the forum players here.

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I have had 3 flats on landing in my 2007 SW over the past 13 years.

Always carry a spare main and a couple of tubes, plus the wrenches to change tire and tube.

It is easy to pinch a tube.

Maybe I let the tires wear too much, getting maybe 100 hours on a 6 ply smaller tire.

My 8 ply nose tire looks like it will last forever.

Now I have 8 ply mains so hoping for better outcomes.

WF

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With the smaller non-tundra tires, I lay the tube in the tire and then inflate it just enough for it to take its full shape.  I lay the stem half of the wheel in, then run my finger around it to make sure the tube is well away from the wheel and the stem has plenty of clearance.  Then I carefully lay the other half of the wheel in and tighten it up, then inflate the tube the rest of the way.

I have had one pinched tube in six years, and it was when I got in a hurry and rushed the procedure.  And I changed a LOT of these tires, probably did it 20 times back when I had excessive tire wear issues.  I can't speak to the Tundra tire setup, it's a different beast.

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