View Full Version : TOE BRAKES

Henry Baker
04-24-2005, 08:26 PM
Hello guys!
I;m in the process of building the L4 and am working on the brake pedals, when a guy strolls in my shop with 15000 hours of flying and says he would,t put heel brakes on it, says there fine but if he had a choice he would go with toe brakes instead. Could I get some insite, or just take his advice. My plans does not show anything for this . :o

Sam Beckett
04-24-2005, 08:54 PM
No don't do it!!
Stay with the heal brakes! People who suggest changing just do not know how to use the heal brake!


bob turner
04-24-2005, 09:11 PM
Yeah - you are about to get a bunch of responses just like that! I too have 15000 hours; over 4000 of which are in the Cub with heel brakes. I fly a Tango cub with toe brakes; it destroys the feel of the rudder, and can be dangerous if mis-adjusted. My Decathlon has toe brakes, and I like them fine, but I just know you will love the heel brakes.

If you keep the 8:00x4s, do get a set of Groves' disc brakes. Trouble-free, and the pedals stay firm.

04-24-2005, 09:35 PM
Anyone with heel brake experience in a Decathalon/Citabria would probably advise against them. They are difficult to use, especially for those with shorter feet. Like me. I hated mine and thought the toe brakes in my later Citabria were the ticket. Piper heel brakes are far better and those in my Cub are awesome. Good position for short feet and allow for excellent rudder feel.
I would recommend the heel brakes. Just make sure they are positioned so you can affect full rudder while still allowing for use of the the brake. With the same foot that is.

Bob D

Steve Pierce
04-24-2005, 10:07 PM
a guy strolls in my shop with 15000 hours of flying and says he would,t put heel brakes on it

He is obviously not a Cub pilot. 8)

04-24-2005, 10:38 PM
Yeah, maybe put a wheel in instead of the stick, a throttle on the right side, doors and windows that don't leak, and a nosewheel up front!

04-25-2005, 07:08 AM
Having owned both a toe brake and a heel brake cub I would say heel brakes for sure for the above sited reasons.

The toe brakes on the Tango cubs tend to be activated during full rudder delection (which you can't really quite get) and you have to conciously keep your feet down off them (at least until you get the hang of it).

Just learn how to use the heelers. You will have a LOT less brake wear also since you will rely on the rudders more.


Gary Reeves
04-25-2005, 07:43 AM
When I first got the supercub all my experience was with toe brakes and I was in and out of the cub, spam cans, Stinsons and Decathelons at the time. When I went to Cleveland brakes, I made a the descision to also put in toe brakes so everything braked the same way.

Now that all my time ( well 90%) is in the cub, I would like the heel brakes back. Especialy on floats when all you need is the rudder bar.


04-25-2005, 07:45 AM
Definitely put heel brakes in it. Toe brakes in a cub aren't very comfortable to use cause you sit high and it's impossible to position the toe brakes so you don't activate them when using the rudder.


Henry Baker
04-25-2005, 08:26 PM
OK! OK! If you guys feel so strong about it, then i'll go with the heel brakes! All you guys can;t be wrong, and thats why this web site is so cool, because i have never flown anything other than a 1958 cessna that i owned for ten years and i wouldn;t now the difference if it smacked me in the chops, Im glad anyway because i already had them built! :crazyeyes:

04-25-2005, 09:03 PM
Factory toe brakes with factory flap handle in a PA18-105 Special.
Click to enlarge

http://supercub.org/albums/supercubs/adq.thumb.jpg (http://supercub.org/albums/supercubs/adq.sized.jpg)

http://sparky.supercub.org/photopost/data/513/thumbs/toe_brake.jpg (http://sparky.supercub.org/photopost/data/513/medium/toe_brake.jpg)

04-25-2005, 09:50 PM
Kase--Nice pics, thanks for posting. But what's with all that wear pattern on the brake paddles above the rudder bars?

And what's with that flap handle on a 105SP?

And yeah, my first hunnert hours or so of SC time were in a 105SP with toe brakes. And yeah, I've gotta agree with the other fellers, heel brakes are WAY better, once't you catch on.

The PA-25 has toe brakes (sorta like the PA-24-Comanche setup). and had to replace the assemblies, owing to the Bigfoots riding the brakes rather than the rudders. Excessive wear in the brakepedal pivots, and WAAAY excessive brake wear, too. And a much better setup than the 105SP.

Given a choice, heel brakes on a Supercub.

Just my warped opinion.

Thanks. Cubscout

Brakes are an axulliary tool at very low speeds.

04-25-2005, 09:56 PM
Piper has a factory blueprint for installing flaps in a PA18-105 Special. I hate the toe brakes but love the flap handle location. Notice how it is attached to the frame and not the seat. Very easy to grab and it doesnt hit your leg in a crosswind.

04-25-2005, 10:37 PM
How firm do you guys run your brakes?

Let me put it this way, I can't hold my cub with more than about 2000 RPM, and that's with my feet all the way on the brakes. I wonder if that is enough; then again I don't use them that much.

Steve Pierce
04-26-2005, 07:11 AM
Joe, top off your cylinders and try it. You will probably like it just in case you need them.

04-26-2005, 06:02 PM
Hey Henry, just trying to make a friendly suggestion, but since you're putting all the time into building it why not take some time & $$ and get a couple hours instruction in the front seat of a cub with heel brakes. I bet you will probably like them, I did, however then again you might not. I got about five hundred hours into my Cub project before it occured to me that I ought to get some time in one so I knew what I was working for.

bob turner
11-04-2005, 08:28 PM
Hope you guys don't mind me pulling this up in the queue - a new friend just asked about toe brakes for his experimental PA-11. I said: NO NO a thousand times NO - then suggested he have a look at our supercub.org for more info.

11-05-2005, 12:21 PM

Chuck E.
11-05-2005, 04:26 PM
I find it interesting reading these forums, this one on brakes is interesting because I am in the process of building a Cub clone that I will put on amphibious floats.

My reason for building it is to give dual to commercial pilots just starting out to possibly get lower minimum times for insurance on that first bush flying job.

To make it more acceptable to newly trained pilots I plan on putting toe brakes in it as they will not be flying Cubs after I give them the dual time.

I of course can see the purist slant to this with wanting a Cub to be a Cub however sometimes we have to compromize to make things easier.

Chuck E.

11-05-2005, 06:28 PM

The problem with the toe brake implementations I have seen in most cubs is that you hit them when you are wanting to hit the rudder. Heel brakes work great and they are "out of the way". Obviuosly, in a nose dragger you can get away with toe brakes but I would say that in taildraggers they cause a lot of unwanted noseovers. Plus, with good planning you only need the brakes when taxing, and when you are done with them, they are out of the way.


Chuck E.
11-05-2005, 06:52 PM
Steve :

You say..

" The problem with the toe brake implementations I have seen in most cubs is that you hit them when you are wanting to hit the rudder. "

Would that not hold true for any airplane with toe brakes?

I do agree that Cubs do not require a great amount of braking power, however mine will be on Amphibs and thus will need brakes for steering during taxiing and there is no fear of a nose over with Amphib floats caused by improper braking.

By the way I do find a lot of pilots fail to keep their heels on the floor and ride the brakes without even realizing it.

And I have enough problems teaching most new commercial pilots how to fly without having to teach them heel brakes. :D

11-05-2005, 07:16 PM

I do about 40 tailwheel transitions a year, usually from experienced nose dragger pilots and have no problem with the heel brake transition. It is the least of the worries.

People in general (in nosedraggers) use WAY TOO MUCH BRAKE! That is why there are so many tires with flat worn spots on them. Carrying that technique to taildraggers will put you on your nose, so getting the brakes out of the way actually makes it a lot easier. I do taildraggger endorsements in a toe braked supercub and it takes extra time on final to say "feet off the brakes" You don't do that in a heel braked aircraft.

Just my experience, it can work either way I am sure.


11-05-2005, 07:16 PM
What does that tell us about new commercial pilots?

Chuck E.
11-05-2005, 07:32 PM
Steve, yeh I am in agreement with what you say I teach people to fly stuff like DC3's and C 117's and PBY's etc. and I almost go mad trying to break them of the habit of keeping their feet on the brakes.

However eventually they get the message that if you start the airplane running straight on take off or landing rudder keeps them going straight. And you can leave your feet off the brakes.

wit :

Generally todays pilots are sadly lacking in hands and feet aircraft handling skills....but what do you expect when most flying instructors are inexperienced to start with.


11-06-2005, 07:58 AM

If you ever want to swap some DC3 time for Super Cub time, let me know... 8)

That sounds like FUN!


Chuck E.
11-06-2005, 09:17 AM
Well Steve there is a bit of difference in fuel burn, outside of that the DC3 is just as easy to fly as a J3.

Oh and you should remember to wheel land the DC3, the passengers will freak if you three point it. :o