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Thread: Heel to Toe brakes

  1. #1
    Tadpole's Avatar
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    Default Heel to Toe brakes

    So it seems to me that alot of planes that originally were heel brakes have been converted over to toe brakes. Now, I'm a new guy, but I kind of liked the heel brakes in the Super Cub I did my TW training in.

    I know this could probably go into the conversations like low vs. high wing and nose vs. tail dragger....but is there a reason it seems so many planes have been converted to toe brakes?

  2. #2
    rmalone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    Now wait just a minute..........nose vs taildragger?

  3. #3
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    Think about steering your airplane with the rudder pedals and also trying to differentially brake with your heels while you pushing the rudder pedal with the ball of your foot. It is like herding cats even after you get use to it. I tried it several times and didn't like it.

    Kinda like why folks take the nose wheel off and put a tailwheel on but nobody goes the other way.

  4. #4
    Tadpole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    I've not flown a taildragger with toe brakes in it. My friend says he doesn't like toe brakes on taildraggers, something to do with not being able to get on the brakes as quickly if needed since he needs to slide his feet up to hit the brakes. I've only flown toe brakes in 172s and heel brakes in a Super Cub and a Tcart.

  5. #5
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    I had to lift my heels off the floor to use the brakes on my Clipper. That is good. Short Wings are not an airplane you need brakes to keep straight. They have plenty of rudder and in my opinion if you have to use brakes to keep it straight you need to go around. I think maybe one time in a really, really, really bad crosswind I had to use a little brake in a Short Wing. I also much prefer the brake pedals in a Clipper or stock Pacer over the Cessna style pedals in a Univair or Williams brake conversion. Now a Super Cub is whole different story.

  6. #6
    av8ing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    Hey this is a family forum! Please refrain from using language such as Cessn@ and 172! I had to cover my grandkids eyes!

  7. #7
    d.grimm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    In training I repeat on short final "feet off the brakes". Toe brake equipped taildraggers can get you in big trouble real quick
    if you land with brakes on. I prefer heel brakes for that reason. Whatever is installed is what I'll work with, I would never consider changing, too much work.
    Dave

  8. #8
    Clipper Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    All good advice. I've flown tail draggers with heel brakes and toe brakes - mostly my Corben Baby Ace with heel brakes, and Clipper with toe brakes. The main thing I found with heel brakes is to take some extra time to adjust your seating position (if possible - tall folks maybe can't) so your feet can reach them when (and only when) needed. The Baby Ace can be a little tricky on cross-wind wheel landings because it runs out of rudder before it runs out of elevator, and sometimes needs a bit of brake in addition to rudder before the tail comes down. Pushing on both at the same time with just the right amount of pressure/movement requires a bit of dexterity. Other than that, it's easier to keep pointed straight than the Clipper. In the Clipper, you mostly have to be sure you don't inadvertently apply brakes. Like Steve said, the Shortwings have big rudders, and that's all the control you should need except in extreme circumstances. I try to stay away from extreme circumstances. I've never used brakes to stay straight on takeoff, and can't remember using them intentionally on landing either.

    Unintentional use is something else. I've had one runway "excursion" with the Baby Ace and one with the Clipper during crosswind landings. In both cases, I had inadvertently applied brake on one side while using the rudder to stay on centerline near the end of the landing roll. Fortunately, I had slowed down a lot in both cases and there wasn't anything in my path, so the only damage was to pride. To word what Dave said another way - it's almost more important to know how and when not to use brakes. Although necessary, they can get you in trouble real quick.

  9. #9
    Tadpole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    Good points, thanks. So did the shortwings start off with heel brakes and slowly folks have been putting toe brakes in them, or did they just come that way? My friend did his TW training in a Tcart, then some in a Citabria, now he owns a 180. He has toe brakes but he says he likes heel brakes better. I think he's concerned of inadvertant use by his foot slipping up and grabbing the brake.

    Good point about the Shortwings have plenty of rudder, that's good to know.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Heel to Toe brakes

    Just had to add my two cents here, in an earlier time (before 3 kids, collage and an exwife) I owned a J-3 cub with heal brakes, a Cessna 120 with toe brakes and a 53 Tri-Pacer with lousy brakes! N0 problems getting out of one airplane and getting into the other. I just kinda run what I brung ! Didn't much think about it, just got in and flew.........

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