N199TW: Horizontal Stabilizer

So I built my own horizontal stabilizer after looking at several. I know flat is not as efficient as airfoil, but for my first stab at it (ha ha) I preferred the simplicity of this simple flat tube-n-fabric construction. And it seems pretty effective on many other brands of gyros. I also wanted the option to experiment with vertical winglets and to have more area further back than I had ever seen installed on an RAF 2000.

So, I went back beyond the tail wheel. 11" back! The trailing edge is directly below the rudder's trim tab. The leading edge is swept at the same angle as the vertical stab, and they all meet at the tips. The width is the same as the wheel base, making the shape and size aesthetically pleasing. It's mounted mid-keel to give plenty ground clearance, but keep it under the rudder cables and horns. The dihedral is mostly to make sure the tips way back there don't drag if the ship lands in a slight lean to one side. The dihedral also lets air out so the tail can come down during flare.

Well, it seems to work just fine! I am now flying it and so far so good. It's nice and stable in flight. The only issue is on the ground. No matter how much I eat, I can't gain any weight. So all that extra weight way back there makes the nose light when I'm solo with little fuel. Ground handling can be scary if the nose wheel is skipping off the pavement. So to be safe, I'm flying with balast in the nose for now. I may look at trying to move the main axle back in the future for better ground balance. Thanks to the adjustable CG mast, hang test and balance in flight is just fine. In position 1 for me and optional passenger.

Yes, the hole in the center is not symmetrical. It's shaped to fit around the tail wheel bracket and optional pant which are off-center.

If I had it to do over, I would change a few things. I like the basic size and shape, but here's a drawing of ways to improve it:

Timothy D. Witham <twitham@quiknet.com>
Last modified: Sat Dec 23 21:26:46 PST 2000