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Trick Air Alpine 3000 install on my Cessna 180

Paul Jackson

PATRON
MN
I had new skis installed over the holiday break and took them out for the first go on snow today. I am an admitted newbie on skis with limited experience, but I really thought they got up and on top very nicely and take offs and landings went very well. I have been very happy with them in cruise and all regimes of flight. I did a quick install and removal in the shop before leaving and they were on and off in minutes with my biggest slow down being the big cotter key removal (user error I am sure). I have known Steve the owner of Trick for a few years now and he sponsors my ski fly-in so I got some really good service on the install, but I am am sure he would jump through hoops for his customers.

We hung the plane with the float rings and removed the wheels to install the ski axles. Note that you have to go to 850-6 tires and they have to be inflated to 55 PSI for the install.

4757U Axles.jpg

We found out during the install we could not use AN hardware on the axle bolts and Steve supplied me with the NAS hardware replacements. Axle install was pretty straight forward.

We had some issues with the attach brackets which mount on the gear legs. Cessna apparently had a bit of variance in gear width from year to year and Steve had to get us some wider back plates to make it work. We also had to work some of the mounting holes and my mechanic really spent some extra time "forming" them to match the fuselage lines and conform bracket to gear leg. These with stay with the gear off season so the fit and finish was worth it.

4757U Ski Bracket.jpg

Next was rigging them. My guys played with this for a bit and they ended up not having to use shims.

4757U Ski install.jpg

The gear really flattens out under load and they set up very nicely. Rigging wires turned out clean looking and it is a very nice looking install in the end.

4757U Skis Front.jpg

Here is finished product. I will have the 180 at the Ski Plane fly in at McGregor on the 26th.

4757U Trick Skis.jpg
 

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Don't think they are going anywhere they bolt through into the gear shims. The two visible bolts are just to hold two brackets together. Mechanic was very happy with the mounting system compared to others he has installed.

PJJ
 
Don't think they are going anywhere they bolt through into the gear shims. The two visible bolts are just to hold two brackets together. Mechanic was very happy with the mounting system compared to others he has installed.

PJJ

common failure point... only seen ONE set of those Cessna cable attach points used in over 30 years used in Alaska.... but it's your plane to wreck!
 
I've got a couple of that style mount, from the previous owner, that are mangled, the force on them is so great since the cables are at such a shallow angle, the Atlee Dodge mounts are good insurance in case you pull on one of those cables real hard.
 
The top of the gear leg geometry makes me very nervous, the upper fuselage area behind the cowl is a much better and safer location to attach rigging.
 
Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks as if the Atlee upper ski cable attach bracket may already be installed. And I see the aft float attach piece. The cables should be attached to those two points. At any rate, the cables should not be as presently installed.
 
Airglas discarded the gear leg cable/bungee attach plates some years ago for good reason.

Some advice here has been given in an abrupt tone. Take the advice. It comes from experience over the years.

These guys are not trying to hurt you. When advice says "DON'T", it is saying "..don't hurt yourself.."
 
Steve from TrickAir, here. I’ve been watching this thread with great interest and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and feedback.

I spent some time today researching the facts of AD 98-23-02 / 80-10-01. Subsequently, Paul and I have been talking and have agreed we’re going to make some changes to his install. I’ll let him share the specifics if he wishes to.

A little background is probably helpful here. When we purchased the TrickAir Company and relocated operations to Minnesota a few years ago, we noted that that there were no ADs associated with TrickAir skis and that the Cessna models 180 and 185 had received STC approval from FAA in 2011. This is an important market for us and we hoped that the simpler, gear-leg bracket for attachment of bungee and safety cables would be valuable to our customers.

Paul’s airplane was our first Cessna 180 installation since we took over the business so I attended the install to learn a few tips and tricks to help future customers. I didn’t anticipate the reaction, but I’m glad that Paul posted the install pictures; and I appreciate all of you sharing your knowledge and recommendations drawn from many years of experience. At TrickAir, the safety of our products is our highest priority and so we will be looking at options to address the issues noted in the ADs.

Thanks again,
Steve
 
Steve from TrickAir, here. I’ve been watching this thread with great interest and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and feedback.

I spent some time today researching the facts of AD 98-23-02 / 80-10-01. Subsequently, Paul and I have been talking and have agreed we’re going to make some changes to his install. I’ll let him share the specifics if he wishes to.

A little background is probably helpful here. When we purchased the TrickAir Company and relocated operations to Minnesota a few years ago, we noted that that there were no ADs associated with TrickAir skis and that the Cessna models 180 and 185 had received STC approval from FAA in 2011. This is an important market for us and we hoped that the simpler, gear-leg bracket for attachment of bungee and safety cables would be valuable to our customers.

Paul’s airplane was our first Cessna 180 installation since we took over the business so I attended the install to learn a few tips and tricks to help future customers. I didn’t anticipate the reaction, but I’m glad that Paul posted the install pictures; and I appreciate all of you sharing your knowledge and recommendations drawn from many years of experience. At TrickAir, the safety of our products is our highest priority and so we will be looking at options to address the issues noted in the ADs.

Thanks again,
Steve

haven't looked up the AD yet, but have been thinking of the failure mode of that style bracket, and a SIMPLE safety improvement....
the root cause is the nut plates on gear shoes gets stripped out from people over tightening the 1/4" bolt(bottoming out the threaded portion of bolt), or skis pulling on them...

simple solution is use a bolt with longer threaded area and add a metal nut inside gear box on the side of shoe where the nut plates are located.....
 
Thanks for chiming in Steve! I hope my delivery wasn't too harsh, I just don't want to see Paul have issues. We lost a close friend of our family in 1980 due to a ski issue and it still stings to this day. Pauls airplane sure does look good on the skis, when he gets the rigging sorted out he is going to have a blast with it!

I must say, I was a bit surprised to see no spreader bar on the lift rings. Paul, make sure you use one next time you hoist.

Kurt
 
As Steve said above, he and I had a conversation after this thread blew up. He has told me he is going to go away from the landing gear bracket set up.

Trick Air is going to pay for my mechanics time and also for the parts needed to convert my aircraft to a more vertical attach in the front and likely we will use the rear attach fitting for the float. From there I will need a field approval which should be pretty straight forward as this would mirror other ski rigging installs on 180's.

Not my float lift; it is my mechanics. I will ask them to use a spreader bar on my aircraft. I didn't note its omission that day.
 
Sounds like Trick Air is making every effort to be a stand up company. Good for them! It's always good for business in the long run.

In addition to being safer, the more forward mounting of the front cables and more aft mounting of the rear cable provide a MUCH better geometry for the ski rigging.

For that reason, on Cubs, I really prefer having the front cables attached to the lower engine mounts.

MTV
 
Hey Paul , you will love your new skis .
I have been running trick airs 2250 on my cub for the last 4 years and have a blast .
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This is EXACTLY the kind of interaction I like to see here with manufacturers. They can learn a lot from the base of knowledge here, and in this case it is a win for everybody.

sj
 
As Steve said above, he and I had a conversation after this thread blew up. He has told me he is going to go away from the landing gear bracket set up.

Trick Air is going to pay for my mechanics time and also for the parts needed to convert my aircraft to a more vertical attach in the front and likely we will use the rear attach fitting for the float. From there I will need a field approval which should be pretty straight forward as this would mirror other ski rigging installs on 180's.

Not my float lift; it is my mechanics. I will ask them to use a spreader bar on my aircraft. I didn't note its omission that day.

Paul - I wouldn't say the thread blew up. It was an interesting, important read and clear to me that it was just some folks with lots of experience quickly helping a fellow pilot before anyone got hurt. Just another example of why I, for one, very much appreciate this forum.

Glad it is working out.

The TSB report was pretty sobering. Its conclusions:


Findings


1. The pilot was qualified for the flight.

2. Airworthiness Directive CF-80-18 relating to the installation of steel cables and bungees had not been complied with.

3. The nut on bolt AN-7 that fastens the landing gear leg was incorrectly tightened when the skis were being installed, and the bolt failed in flight.

4. The bungee on the right ski failed in flight and allowed the ski to rotate downward. The bracket tore off the ski and was thrown into the propeller causing the engine mounts to fail.

5. The right ski and landing gear separated and struck the right wing of the aircraft.

6. The aircraft broke up into several pieces in flight.


Causes and Contributing Factors


An incorrectly tightened bolt and non-compliance with an airworthiness directive allowed the right ski and landing gear to separate from the aircraft in flight and strike the right wing. The aircraft subsequently broke up and fell to the ground in pieces.



 
6. The aircraft broke up into several pieces in flight.

An incorrectly tightened bolt and non-compliance with an airworthiness directive allowed the right ski and landing gear to separate from the aircraft in flight and strike the right wing. The aircraft subsequently broke up and fell to the ground in pieces.
Is this the one in Canada in which the passengers in the back seat survived with no fuselage in front of them? That was a miracle!
 
Paul,
How'd your season go last winter with those new skis? I'm musing on getting a pair for our 180J.
 
Paul,
How'd your season go last winter with those new skis? I'm musing on getting a pair for our 180J.

Johnny:

Sorry I had a busy week and missed replying to you in a timely manner.

I had a great year on the skis and was able to use them in everything from deep powder on a cool day to sloppy snow on a lake late in the season. I was pleased with performance on the snow and thought they performed better than most penetration skis I had flown and slightly below hydraulic skis. For me, without hydraulics, they were a great solution and I don't feel like I gave up much performance.

In the air I didn't see much degradation in speed and I felt like they handled well and really didn't notice them much at all in flight. On the ground I had some issue with toe in and toe out and would highly recommend adding the gravel kit which gets more metal on the edges and likely wear points on touch down on the runway. The wheels in the aft do take a little getting used to in relation to sound when you taxi. It sounds like you are really dragging them but it is just the acoustics of the wheels on the pavement.

I changed over to the Atlee Dodge mounting system that Trick went to on these skis after I purchased them when I removed them for the season. My mechanic has installed the system several times and had no problem putting in the attach points. I will be re-rigging the skis this winter before I put them on to finish the conversion. I would expect it to be minor work and don't expect much change with the new mounts.

Customer support has been great and Steve (owner) has answered every question and worked closely with my mechanic on the install and Atlee Dodge conversion at the end of the season. The drawings were good and the install went well with the exception of sourcing the bolts that attach the new axles to the existing axle assembly. I believe Steve has sourced a supplier and should have those bolts in stock now.

Admittedly, it has helped that I am in MSP where Trick is based and I know Steve from his sponsorship of my ski plane event. Having said that, I believe that Steve and his company are straight shooters and will stand behind their product.

Very satisfied and looking forward to another season of ski flying.
 
Hello Paul, can you share photos of the final installation of the TrickAir 3000 c/w new cable & bungee brackets on your C180. We are in the process to install the very same skis on our C180F.
Regards, Pierre


Johnny:

Sorry I had a busy week and missed replying to you in a timely manner.

I had a great year on the skis and was able to use them in everything from deep powder on a cool day to sloppy snow on a lake late in the season. I was pleased with performance on the snow and thought they performed better than most penetration skis I had flown and slightly below hydraulic skis. For me, without hydraulics, they were a great solution and I don't feel like I gave up much performance.

In the air I didn't see much degradation in speed and I felt like they handled well and really didn't notice them much at all in flight. On the ground I had some issue with toe in and toe out and would highly recommend adding the gravel kit which gets more metal on the edges and likely wear points on touch down on the runway. The wheels in the aft do take a little getting used to in relation to sound when you taxi. It sounds like you are really dragging them but it is just the acoustics of the wheels on the pavement.

I changed over to the Atlee Dodge mounting system that Trick went to on these skis after I purchased them when I removed them for the season. My mechanic has installed the system several times and had no problem putting in the attach points. I will be re-rigging the skis this winter before I put them on to finish the conversion. I would expect it to be minor work and don't expect much change with the new mounts.

Customer support has been great and Steve (owner) has answered every question and worked closely with my mechanic on the install and Atlee Dodge conversion at the end of the season. The drawings were good and the install went well with the exception of sourcing the bolts that attach the new axles to the existing axle assembly. I believe Steve has sourced a supplier and should have those bolts in stock now.

Admittedly, it has helped that I am in MSP where Trick is based and I know Steve from his sponsorship of my ski plane event. Having said that, I believe that Steve and his company are straight shooters and will stand behind their product.

Very satisfied and looking forward to another season of ski flying.
 
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