Airplane Wheel Balancing
Ascutney Air is a shop that provides a variety of general aviation repair services. In 2014, Ascutney purchased a DynaVibe so that it could offer dynamic propeller balancing as a service to its clients. Ascutney owner Steve Keen is an EAA tech counselor, and also flies a Cessna 172. Some time ago, he noticed that his 172 had a fairly severe vibration on landing and rollout that was getting progressively worse.
The left wheel was the vibration source, so Steve tore it down but found no problems other than an out of balance tire. He balanced the tire with a cone-type static balancer, but he could not achieve good balance when the tire was mounted on the wheel assembly. Understanding that his new DynaVibe can balance anything that spins, he set the system up on the problem wheel and balanced it, sharing that, “It worked really well!”
Steve’s experience with his 172 caused him to realize there was a business opportunity to dynamically balance airplane tires: “Out of balance tires can beat an airplane up. Tires aren’t always perfect, and static balancing may or may not work.”
Just like prop balancing, Steve understood that the best way to balance a tire is when it is mounted to the wheel assembly on the airplane, and it is spinning at takeoff or landing speed. So he built a tire-spinning device to get the wheel turning at the proper speed and he now uses the spinner and DynaVibe to balance airplane tires.
The experience Ascutney Air has had balancing airplane wheels with DynaVibe has been good for the airplane owners and the pilots the shop serves.
Balanced tires add a new level of safety. Out-of-balance tires can cause torque links to wear, or affect braking action: “Many pilots think vibration or rumbling noises are due to bad runways. They don't know that tire balance is the cause.” For example, one pilot came to Ascutney Air reporting a vibration on landing. Using the DynaVibe, Steve was able to get the tires on this pilot’s airplane perfectly balanced, and the vibration went away.
Steve credits the dynamic balancing process with generating these positive outcomes, because the process balances the entire wheel assembly, mounted on the airplane, while turning at takeoff or landing speed: “Dynamic balancing equals certainty.”
For Ascutney Air, dynamic wheel balancing with DynaVibe has created a new revenue stream for the shop. Testing to see if wheels are out of balance is easy using the wheel spinner Steve fabricated to do the balance test when the wheel is on a jack. If the wheel is out-of-balance, he hooks up DynaVibe to balance it.
Ascutney Air continues to balance propellers, and as far as balancing tires, “It’s just like doing a propeller,” concludes Steve. “DynaVibe has paid for itself more through tire balancing than prop balancing. Balanced tires make flying a little easier. There’s a huge benefit to taking off and landing with smooth tires, such as better braking.”
Shops interested in building a spinner for balancing airplane tires can purchase the plans and parts list by contacting Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about DynaVibe or purchase one for dynamic prop or tire balancing, contact the RPX Technologies team: 405.896.0026 or email@example.com.