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Thread: TK1 vs. Acme Aero (SEP 2020)

  1. #41

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    In my opinion, and only my opinion, the single biggest failure item in the Cub Crafters lineup is the Acme Aero shock causing the most financial damage and contributor to the most accidents. This is probably why the XCub changed the landing gear design moving away from these shocks. I do have a mechanical engineering background and what stands out to me as two weaknesses in the Acme Aero design is the attach point at the top using the shock casing material as a mounting point instead of a stronger metal such as the TK1's do and the extreme extension of the shock strut causing a very weak point where the strut meets the shock itself if it is subject to any lateral forces. Again, a better design in the TK1. Now it seems that Acme has the better shock design which is why people choose it, again, this is only my opinion. So you either choose for the shock effect or the strength of the entire assembly. Acme with a better shock and TK1 with a better and stronger design using steel at the mounts and shocks in between.

    As a pilot we have to know the weaknesses of our airplanes whether it's an aerodynamic issue that needs attention or a structural issue that pilots have to be aware of. If using Acme's know the limits of the shock design and handle accordingly but this requires TRAINING and EDUCATION and I think this may be a contributing factor to some of these items as cub owners like me have little TW experience at entrance and the manuals don't have bold face sections pointing out concerns. I may have several thousands of hours of flying and 30+ years of it but it doesn't qualify me as an experienced TW or cub pilot so it is very important to be aware of and be trained on the weak points to avoid these situations.

    A friend of mine compiled the accident data on E/FX's and SS's. SS's have obviously been around a lot longer but the trend is they are nosing over far more often, you'll find a lot of SS's on their back in accidents. I'm not privy to share his data, maybe he will at some point but if interested just go through the NTSB accidents for the CCX and CC11's and see what you determine.

    People have confirmation bias swearing by what they use which can cause them to overlook the flaws when compared to others. I have zero experience at this point and am only doing research to make a decision of what goes on my plane as I own neither and want to make the smart choice of what goes on my very expensive cub (FX3). I really want to put TK1's on but there is one report that outlines crosswind handling in a comparison test on the CubCrafters forum by John Hodges I believe that concerns me a little so I will likely go with the Acme's knowing I have to be extremely careful landing them and also I will add safety cables for my build. I still have plenty of time to be more educated on which to choose, I see many of the Flying Cowboys folks including Mark Patey choosing TK1's which is telling. My research continues and my ears are wide open listening to all of you to take it all in and learn from you.

    Airplanes have to have robust gear as they obviously take the highest stresses and there are conditions that simply happen that the gear has to handle. A weak component is something that needs careful attention and not an excuse. I believe Acme's are getting certified so that will be interesting to see if their history becomes a problem as they have quite a few accidents on their record which of course blame was placed on the pilot. I hate seeing pilots blame themselves because they stalled from X feet. The drop test by Acme is irrelevant in my opinion, way too low.

    My $.02.
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  2. #42
    40m's Avatar
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    Whether it be a Cub or a Colt put an idiot on the stick or trigger and bad things can happen, no point blaming the tool.

    From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be
    found in all corners of the earth."

    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

  3. #43

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    Here is a recent mishap (non cub) and good job Jonas for sharing. No shocks involved but another stall caused failure so pilot error and a good discussion on this topic. These stalls X feet up seem to happen too much and cause damage. Ouch.

    https://youtu.be/e7Pzakaeb1w

  4. #44
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    A lot of YouTubers fly what they get for free. And believe it or not, there are other 'real engineers' on this forum. But it has also been my experience that years of working 'in the field' can trump engineering. As you know, that's why 'field failures with cause and failure modes' are so important.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either setup. Just keep it straight and avoid the side loads.

    I saw the Jonas video last night. Not that it matters but I have met the crew and have seen there planes. My opinion 'pilot error', landing downwind on a short strip, stalled a wing and went in. Fortunately everyone is ok. Not sure any landing gear configuration would have helped.
    Last edited by aeroaddict; 10-11-2020 at 09:28 AM.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by aeroaddict View Post
    I don't think you can go wrong with either setup. Just keep it straight and avoid the side loads.
    Absolutely agree. I emailed my sales guy last night for now I'm staying with the Acme Gen3's. I'm going to do a week of TacAero training in the FX3 in January and they use the Acme Pro's so that will be interesting to experience and that is when I'll be able to make a better informed decision for my plane.

    The biggest thing from this thread and others is learning and awareness. I will know to be eyes wide open to ensure that fuselage is lined up properly at touch-down and also go around if something is not right. A lot of learning ahead and thanks all for sharing the knowledge.

  6. #46
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    So how many of the gen 3 shocks are failing at the top attach point? The problem i see is lack of training. Landing or taking off at too high of a speed and loosing directional control. I bet if you stalled the airplane at 200 ft you’d break the tk shocks. Maybe just maybe with some training you’d have less losses and failures.
    We all have bad landings once in awhile and that’s where the shocks help out, along with less wear and tear on the airframe on not so smooth surfaces. You have to take these YouTube “influences” with a grain of salt. All this popularity is going to there heads. Seems like it’s totally ok to wreck an airplane when they run out of talent before airspeed as long as they make a video telling everyone how they screwed up


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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawgdrvr View Post
    Here is a recent mishap (non cub) and good job Jonas for sharing. No shocks involved but another stall caused failure so pilot error and a good discussion on this topic. These stalls X feet up seem to happen too much and cause damage. Ouch.

    https://youtu.be/e7Pzakaeb1w
    20 some miles away from me, and I find out about here, from a guy in Virginia! I have not seen the local TV news or the Sunday paper yet, but I'm sure it got plenty of coverage, great.

  8. #48

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    I think the perfect marriage would be Acme shocks in a TK1 assembly. By the way, here is Mark Patey's video and review on the TK1's.

    https://youtu.be/mi5k6WOwmX4

  9. #49

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    For a guy with no Cub time and no gas shocks on Cub time you sure think a lot!

  10. #50
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    Having been around to see the evolution of these things I think you have been misguided. The spring gear from Cub Crafters did not evolve out of failed Acmes. The spring gear was engineered into the X Cub for speed like the push rod aileron controls and the multiple fairings that will wear any good Cub mechanic out in short order. Believe me I know I just finished an inspection on one. What has been learned from the spring gear just like any good Cessna pilot knows is the rebound effect. The evolution of the bungee cord, bungees on hydrosorbs, Alpha Omega Shock Systems and now TK1s and Acmes are the result of pilots exploring the edge. You drop a bungee geared Cub in on a short spot and you bounce hard and it gets little rodeo. You drop an Acme or a TK1 in and it absorbs and you stay stuck and in good control. I have picked up more wrecks than I care to think about and have been privy to even more. I have also read a lot of NTSB reports as well. I take them with a grain of salt for good reason. I have flown with some great pilots and we have all either screwed the pooch or dam near did. I think if you learn to fly the airplane you are not gonna break it. Cubs don't just stall. A Cub tells you what it is doing and it has a feel especially when you get it to the edge. You can read, study and research all you want but I think once you start flying the FX3 you will realize what a great flying airplane it is and what it and you can do. Most pilots do not push it to the outer edges of it's limits and that is good because anything can be broken and when you are exploring the edges sometimes you find them. I believe if you are a decent pilot, learn the airplane, it's limits and your own you will not have any issues with whatever shocks you use.
    Steve Pierce

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  11. #51

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    Thanks Steve. This is the article I read on it. And I agree there is a drag part of this too as you alluded.

    https://bit.ly/2GMkVGh
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  12. #52

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    [QUOTE=hawgdrvr;784783]In my opinion, and only my opinion, the single biggest failure item in the Cub Crafters lineup is the Acme Aero shock causing the most financial damage and contribtor to the most accidents. This is probably why the XCub changed the landing gear design moving away from these shocks.



    The spring gear will give you about 10 -15 mph(depending on who you talk to) more top end speed. That is most likely the reason for the change.. This extra speed is a big selling point to some. It is not a preferred gear setup for rough off runway work. You are way overthinking this gear thing. The ACME gear is not the issue and has most likely prevented several due to lack of bounce and better control. The weak point causing the most financial damage and contributor to the most accidents is the pilot. The gear was just along for the ride.
    DENNY
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  13. #53

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    Thanks all. Appreciate the constructive inputs and continued learning. As mentioned, I'm going with the Acme's. Biggest takeaway is nothing replaces proper pilot skills and the decision to go around. I am learning to respect the plane and flying where it is needed most.
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  14. #54
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    I read that article when it came out. I was actually told about it right after it happened by one of the other pilots in an FX3 that was with him. Having flown the X Cub I believe it is a nice flying airplane but not for my type of flying. It is not the choice of Cub pilots wanting to explore off airport landing areas for the reasons I posted earlier. Having banged around on about 30 gravel bars in the last few days even my certified AOSS shock struts were adequate and hopefully soon I might decide to trade them in for aset of Acmes once they are certified for the PA18.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve Pierce

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  15. #55
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	CA0273B7-9CBE-45BB-AFCF-EC532E04BCF9.jpg 
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ID:	51575Confucius say....learn to putt with the putter ya got!
    Go all over , See some Purty rough stuff ...Redneck + TK’s for rebound only works really good! $800.00

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
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    That spot looks like a goody!

  17. #57
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    Good ol days:
    Damage your plane, cuss, kick and empty the bird. Get word to your one or two best buds and they show up with a trailer and a toolbox. Transport the plane back to any available barn or garage or tarp covered lean to. All drink beer till dawn's early light while formulating a plan. Fix everything with a torch and splices. Mum's the word.

    Now:
    Call every law/legal entity in the area. Film yourself with a big smile on your face breaking down what you think went wrong. Transport plane back to $500,000+ hanger. Film yourself again, smiling and welcoming yourself to the "club" like it's some sort of honor. Fix everything with insurance and a credit card. Upload to youtube and watch your popularity rise. Repeat.

    Joe
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  18. #58
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    Oh come on Joe! It's just money! Think of the braggin' rights, lol.

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  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawgdrvr View Post
    Thanks all. Appreciate the constructive inputs and continued learning. As mentioned, I'm going with the Acme's. Biggest takeaway is nothing replaces proper pilot skills and the decision to go around. I am learning to respect the plane and flying where it is needed most.
    ”the proper pilot decision to go around”

    Just a thought on the decision to go around:

    As students, it been pounded into our heads that the go around is what you default to when things don’t look right.
    Its a tough habit to unlearn and has resulted in an alarming number of fatalities and bad wrecks in the off airport community, where often a go around is ill advised or impossible.
    A low recon pass should tell you all you need to know about conditions on an established strip. If you you fail at an attempted landing and need to go around you’re probably playing beyond you skill level.
    Sorry for thread drift
    Fly safe.
    Last edited by Oliver; 10-11-2020 at 04:43 PM.
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  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawgdrvr View Post
    In my opinion, and only my opinion, the single biggest failure item in the Cub Crafters lineup is the Acme Aero shock causing the most financial damage and contributor to the most accidents. This is probably why the XCub changed the landing gear design moving away from these shocks. I do have a mechanical engineering background and what stands out to me as two weaknesses in the Acme Aero design is the attach point at the top using the shock casing material as a mounting point instead of a stronger metal such as the TK1's do and the extreme extension of the shock strut causing a very weak point where the strut meets the shock itself if it is subject to any lateral forces. Again, a better design in the TK1. Now it seems that Acme has the better shock design which is why people choose it, again, this is only my opinion. So you either choose for the shock effect or the strength of the entire assembly. Acme with a better shock and TK1 with a better and stronger design using steel at the mounts and shocks in between.

    As a pilot we have to know the weaknesses of our airplanes whether it's an aerodynamic issue that needs attention or a structural issue that pilots have to be aware of. If using Acme's know the limits of the shock design and handle accordingly but this requires TRAINING and EDUCATION and I think this may be a contributing factor to some of these items as cub owners like me have little TW experience at entrance and the manuals don't have bold face sections pointing out concerns. I may have several thousands of hours of flying and 30+ years of it but it doesn't qualify me as an experienced TW or cub pilot so it is very important to be aware of and be trained on the weak points to avoid these situations.

    A friend of mine compiled the accident data on E/FX's and SS's. SS's have obviously been around a lot longer but the trend is they are nosing over far more often, you'll find a lot of SS's on their back in accidents. I'm not privy to share his data, maybe he will at some point but if interested just go through the NTSB accidents for the CCX and CC11's and see what you determine.

    People have confirmation bias swearing by what they use which can cause them to overlook the flaws when compared to others. I have zero experience at this point and am only doing research to make a decision of what goes on my plane as I own neither and want to make the smart choice of what goes on my very expensive cub (FX3). I really want to put TK1's on but there is one report that outlines crosswind handling in a comparison test on the CubCrafters forum by John Hodges I believe that concerns me a little so I will likely go with the Acme's knowing I have to be extremely careful landing them and also I will add safety cables for my build. I still have plenty of time to be more educated on which to choose, I see many of the Flying Cowboys folks including Mark Patey choosing TK1's which is telling. My research continues and my ears are wide open listening to all of you to take it all in and learn from you.

    Airplanes have to have robust gear as they obviously take the highest stresses and there are conditions that simply happen that the gear has to handle. A weak component is something that needs careful attention and not an excuse. I believe Acme's are getting certified so that will be interesting to see if their history becomes a problem as they have quite a few accidents on their record which of course blame was placed on the pilot. I hate seeing pilots blame themselves because they stalled from X feet. The drop test by Acme is irrelevant in my opinion, way too low.

    My $.02.
    You are waaaay over thinking this thing. You’re imagination is taking over. Seriously- you just need some good tw training in a Cub then pile up the hours. Something is missing no one has yet mentioned - cubs are very easy to fly including landings and takeoffs, especially in light wind conditions. Very docile planes.
    Worrying about stalling too high should never be a worry. With proper training and currency, stalling too high and breaking the gear is all but inexcusable. And if you do this, and break the gear, it’s time for a ground based hobby.
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  21. #61
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    Cubs have very tough gear already. The modern shocks let us get away with even more. Its likely that CC accidents and incidents would be more frequent and worse with bungees. I think my TK1 incident would have been worse. And Pierce is right a bounce sets up a directional control issue. Search "How to set up a groundloop" by Bill Rusk.

    Carbon Cubs have something in common with the "doctor killer" Bonanza. Anything really unsafe about the aircraft? The statistics are showing more about the judgement and proficiency of those buying and flying than about the design.

    You are gonna love that FX3 with Acmes. If you want to love it even more, go try a stock Cub with bungees.

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  22. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ View Post
    Cubs have very tough gear already. The modern shocks let us get away with even more. Its likely that CC accidents and incidents would be more frequent and worse with bungees. I think my TK1 incident would have been worse. And Pierce is right a bounce sets up a directional control issue. Search "How to set up a groundloop" by Bill Rusk.

    Carbon Cubs have something in common with the "doctor killer" Bonanza. Anything really unsafe about the aircraft? The statistics are showing more about the judgement and proficiency of those buying and flying than about the design.

    You are gonna love that FX3 with Acmes. If you want to love it even more, go try a stock Cub with bungees.
    Thank you, much appreciated. When buying your first plane and you see a bunch of accidents you too will over analyze. Not ashamed, I'd rather learn and be safe and learn from others.

    I have considered, and still am considering holding off on the Acme's so I can fly maybe the first 20 hours of the EAB fly off on bunjees then have TacAero install Acme's so I can appreciate them. My TW endorsement was in a sport cub on bunjees, I'm not sure why my instructor didn't triple the number of landings logged as I'm sure it was three per stop and go Having flown the sport cub on bunjees I'm not afraid of them, it was a good learning experience. I'm looking forward to acme's but it won't take away from the landing effort required to do it right.

  23. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrite View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	51575Confucius say....learn to putt with the putter ya got!
    Go all over , See some Purty rough stuff ...Redneck + TK’s for rebound only works really good! $800.00
    How long of a stroke are those shocks? I've been kicking around the idea of rebound-only shocks. Those look close to what I've been imagining.

  24. #64
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    Yep I did over analyze too. It can be hard to sift through the internet static and get good info.

    You are gonna love those Acmes!!!

    BTW here is what my version of stupid looks like....not bad design. This impact bent all the bolts in the landing gear system. The safety cables caught it. I doubt you will duplicate this level of dumb but saftey ropes from Airframes are pretty cheap/light insurance off airport.Click image for larger version. 

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    I have personally watched two CC (one SS and one fx3) wreck in the back country here. Also observed a CC specific flyin a few years ago where they wrecked three in two days. Not one related in any way to the landing gear (brakes were an issue on two of them). Every one was pilot induced. Tom
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  26. #66
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    John Roberts of AvWeld in Idaho made my gear for my S-7S. He claims to be the first to come up with the concept of arranging the shock struts so that the shock works in compression, not tension. Mine uses bungees to take the impact, exactly like an old style Cub gear, but the Fox air adjustable shock controls the rebound. It works great, and I wouldn't change a thing, coming up on 2000 hours since I installed it.
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  27. #67
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    ...He claims to be the first to come up with the concept of arranging the shock struts so that the shock works in compression, not tension. ... shock controls the rebound. ..
    thats the NORMAL supercub Bungie setup that been around for?? 70 years?? just not adjustable...

    that every one replaces with better solutions...

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    Can anyone articulate what is better about the Acme offerings compared with the AOSS that CC offers as a factory option on the FX(on their website form)? Do they put Acmes on FX builds for an additional charge? I have broken a spring gear on a cessna on some rocks so I am concerned (luckily the plane was so old, the gear leg must've been rusted in place enough for me to limp home on a sheared bolt after I rejected the landing).
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  29. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    thats the NORMAL supercub Bungie setup that been around for?? 70 years?? just not adjustable...

    that every one replaces with better solutions...
    I may have explained it backasswards, wish I could find the picture I took of the insides. It is not like the stock cub setup, other then the bungees and how they work, there is an extra strut in there that the air shock mounts to. The one thing I know is it works great, it was a $1800.00 upgrade over the bungees only I had before. All nicely faired too.

  30. #70

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    Bungees don't allow any dropout. Why ruin a good gas shock by strangling it with rubber bands?
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  31. #71
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    I just fly them, I don't know all the why's and wherefores! But now that I think about it.....I have the reliabilty (??) of the known "technology" of bungees, without their springback/relaunch tendencies. A conservative approach, not trusting the whole shock only thing I guess? 12 years old now, back before the tech of aircraft shocks was advanced as it is now. If I wiped it out tomorrow, I'd go straight Acme or TK's. But either way, I'd have to fair them, they both look pretty draggy.
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  32. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal747 View Post
    Can anyone articulate what is better about the Acme offerings compared with the AOSS that CC offers as a factory option on the FX(on their website form)? Do they put Acmes on FX builds for an additional charge? I have broken a spring gear on a cessna on some rocks so I am concerned (luckily the plane was so old, the gear leg must've been rusted in place enough for me to limp home on a sheared bolt after I rejected the landing).
    It is my understanding that the engineers at Cub Crafters have tested and approved the Acmes on the FX series and it is now a factory installed option. There is an opinion piece written by two high time FX pilots who gave PIREPs on flying all the different options. I know burl at AOSS is sitting on several sets that Cub Crafters wanted but have now cancelled. AOSS is simple and is a polymer and really no maintenance. The Acmes need to be checked by hoisting the aircraft with weight off the shock and checked with a good gauge that will not let any pressure out and serviced with nitrogen using that gauge and fill valve.

    http://forum.cubcrafters.com/showthr...-Ops-quot-Gen3

    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...uspension-Test
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    To the unknowing, Acmes and TK1s are best charged to desired gas pressure which no weight on the shocks. It isn't difficult to do it with the plane on the ground but it isn't as accurate. Better said the shocks are less sensitive to changing length with added pressure, but that's easy to deal with. Pressurize, roll the airplane around to normalize the shock
    Length, repeat if necessary. If I have 180# of pressure in my shocks and one leaks down to 160# (it's never happened) it would be very easy to recognize. If it did happen I'd send the shocks to TK for servicing. The truth for these shocks is we set em and forget em. They're very low maintenance.
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  34. #74
    spinner2's Avatar
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    I've had bungees, AOSS and Acme's all on the same plane. The OP asked about application on an FX3, my experience with these is on an EX, so very comparable. In my opinion the most noticeable improvement was going from bungees to AOSS. A very big step up. AOSS stay glued to the ground in most situations. The Acme's are better yet but the AOSS are good enough that the difference is not as great.

    I would not consider ordering a new FX with bungees. You'll soon switch to one of the better systems and then be trying to sell your bungees at a big discount.

    No Experience with TK1's. But I did recently put a T3 tail spring system on and that's a big, big step forward too over the Pawnee spring I had. And I'm a wheel-landing guy 99% of the time.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
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  35. #75

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    This thread has been a fun exercise with lots of info hidden within it. I’m not trying to be a smarta$$ but why doesn’t the OP just buy a set of each. Run each model for 25hrs then sell the least favorite one? Yes it’s real money but each system costs roughly 1% of the all in price of the FX3. Big picture, that’s not much. Then, maybe you take a $500 haircut on the 25 hr used shock system you don’t like as well AND you get to be the guy that can actually testify to running both on your cub giving the pros and cons of each
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  36. #76
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinJ View Post
    This thread has been a fun exercise with lots of info hidden within it. I’m not trying to be a smarta$$ but why doesn’t the OP just buy a set of each. Run each model for 25hrs then sell the least favorite one? Yes it’s real money but each system costs roughly 1% of the all in price of the FX3. Big picture, that’s not much. Then, maybe you take a $500 haircut on the 25 hr used shock system you don’t like as well AND you get to be the guy that can actually testify to running both on your cub giving the pros and cons of each
    You mean run one on each side? Ha Ha. That would give you a side by side experience. The joys of EXP i guess
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  37. #77

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    I will have the opportunity to try each, actually 3. I have FX3 training in Jan so I'll experience the Acme Pro's on that plane. As of now I've changed my mind and do not feel comfortable going with Acme's for multiple reasons. I don't think the design is sturdy enough, the history of failures, and the email exchanges I've had with the company inquiring about the FX3 accidents. This morning I googled "acme aero shock failures" and found another incident resulting in $55K in damage to the plane. I don't have all of the details but you can read the thread:

    https://bit.ly/2GTt5wA

    I've been pleased in my communications with Tony regarding TK1's and have read and viewed many great reviews on the TK1's. I feel more comfortable with this design underneath my $330K airplane. I will order the plane with stock gear (bunjees) and have TK1's installed after delivery therefore allowing me to fly all 3 gear systems at some point in this process.

    In post #72 above by Steve Pierce, the 2nd link about 3rd post from the end raises a valid point. Follow the money, those that are doing testing or pushing a product potentially have a financial gain from it. Know who the dealers are when getting recommendations.

    Moral is based on what I've seen in the past few weeks and been exposed to from various people and companies, I would never feel at ease with Acme's on my plane. That is my personal feeling and what I choose is something I have to have confidence in. This could change but as of now, it's no go for Acme's for me.

  38. #78

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    That's as good an answer as any and more honest than most. It's your plane. Do what makes you happy. You're living a lot of guys' dream.

    I'm a TK-1 fan. Good products. Great support. I can't imagine you'll be disappointed.
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  39. #79

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    I'll probably get laughed at for even asking about this - but an FX3 is a pretty fast cub. I am reading that the AOSS has the ability to wear bungee fairings for a gain of 1-2 mph (at the cost of a few pounds of weight, I guess). Is that even a valid consideration? If you're going to spend the money on a 186 HP motor and constant speed prop, might as well get every last mph. How about fairing for the Acme and TK-1? I'm guessing it wouldn't make sense due to the necessity of servicing the nitrogen charges. Probably silly to ask, but nothing else to think about while I'm in quarantine.

  40. #80

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    I have read talk of fairings over the TK1's. It is added drag for sure. I'm just not sure how much I care about speed. I'd certainly be interested in making it aerodynamic but also protect it from the elements, exhaust, etc. but not if there is risk of something flying off and hitting the tail.
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