Airframes Alaska announced the addition of a new product line of shock-absorbent tailsprings: T3 Tailwheel Suspension Systems. The line consists of three bolt-on coil shock setups, the T3 Heavy Duty, T3 LSA, and T3 Super Heavy Duty. These cushioning "tailshocks" replace standard leaf springs.
The T3 suspension tailspring was originally developed by Dan Dufault of Supercubs North. An A&P and IA with more than 30 years of experience building planes, Dufault saw the need for a direct replacement rear suspension for taildraggers. After building the first prototype in less than a week, Dufault bolted it onto his experimental Super Cub. "It felt like the tail was floating with no sensation of it touching the ground," Dufault says. "I couldn't believe what a difference it was over traditional leaf springs."
In late May 2016 Dufault partnered with Airframes Alaska, now the manufacturer and sole distributor of T3 Tailwheel Suspension Systems, to make taildragger rear suspensions available to a wider market. Dufault will continue developing new models for more aircraft. "We see every taildragger from classic Cubs to the newest experimental LSAs running a T3," says Heather Montgomery, Airframes Alaska Chief Operating Officer.
T3 tailshocks dampen the impact of hard tail landings, soften shaking during rough off airport taxis, and potentially reduce tailwheel shimmy. The current product line includes:
- T3 Heavy Duty - Available mid-June 2015 for experimental Piper style aircraft with 2000 lbs GW
- T3 LSA - Available mid-July 2015 for experimental LSA (homebuilds, Kitfox, Rans, etc) with 1320 lbs GW
- T3 Super Heavy Duty - Double coil design available mid-August 2015 for heavier experimentals (Maule, Bearhawk, etc) with 2500 lbs GW
T3 Tailwheel Suspension Systems bolt onto Scott/ABI 3200 single bolt tailwheels. Airframes Alaska will also sell steering chains and aircraft-specific mounting hardware. All T3 tailshocks are currently for experimental use only while Airframes Alaska pursues STCs for the T3 Heavy Duty and T3 Super Heavy Duty.
T3 suspension tailshocks are just the first step in the company's plan to develop a series of next generation landing systems. "A lot of the parts on these planes still have the original designs," says Montgomery. "With relatively minor changes we can make bush flying, and really all general aviation flying, better and safer."