View Full Version : landing gear

05-09-2007, 06:06 PM
why did most AC during the 40's have a tail dragger landing system it seam alot easier to TO and land with a tricycle set up

05-09-2007, 06:15 PM
Tricycle landing gear was a new thing in WWII. Prior to that almost every plane used the taildragger setup.

Personally, I find taildraggers prettier to look at, except in the case of the P-38. (And the -61)

05-09-2007, 07:16 PM
Pilots laughed at the B-24 when they first saw it. The idea of a tricycle landing gear on a bomber was completely ridiculous to them.

05-09-2007, 07:25 PM
This is just a WAG ... but nose landing gear needs somewhere to go. In an aircraft like a P-51 or Bf-109 almost everything forward of the wing is engine. To add the landing gear, bay and retraction mechanism, would require more fairings and weight. This would make the aircraft draggier and less maneuverable.

Not to say it hasn't been done, but I can't think of any WWII era fighters that have tricycle gear with a front mounted engine. The P-39 is behind the cockpit and the rest are twins.

05-10-2007, 06:20 AM
Me 309, Do 335 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

05-10-2007, 09:40 AM
Do 335 is a tractor/pusher. The benefits of the tail dragger is the ability to put a small relatively lightweight wheel in the back. Can't do that with two huge props on both ends.

The Me 309 only had four prototypes that were plagued with design issues. It sounds like the nose wheel may be one of them, but can't find any definite proof only a couple articles that say it delayed the 309's production.

I'm not saying it can't be done, there are quite a few airplanes today that have this configuration. However, the tail dragger was tried and tested and these countries were in the middle of a war. Why add a bulky complicated retraction mechanism and a landing gear that could be 3x the weight of the tail gear? Plus you either have to elongate the front or fatten the fuselage to make room for it. There are certainly benefits to a tricycle landing gear and there are drawbacks also.

IMHO, I believe the engineers of these fighters wanted to focus their attention in the mode (flight) that they will be in 90% of the time and introduce as little unneeded complications as possible. Add to the fact that most of the fighters were legacies (P-51, Spitfire, Fw190, etc ...) Putting a nose wheel on one of these would be very intensive. You first would have to make room for it, run hydraulic lines and what not. Then you need to shift the whole airplanes CG forward of the mains. When the aircraft was designed with the cg behind them, you'll have a completely new untested airframe by the time you've moved wings, fuel tanks and cockpits around.