After lots of research and discussion, we decided to go with the Beringer wheels and brakes for our RV-14A. These are more expensive than the standard Van’s-supplied kit, but the consensus seems to be that the quality is better, they are easier to maintain and more robust when touring.
Beringer have had a specific kit available for the RV-14 since mid-2016 – there is an excellent and detailed post about this here, which we found very helpful.
The tyres are tubeless with better resistance to punctures. They also have sealed bearings which should make them more robust and avoid lots of messy maintenance.
The Beringer brakes are more powerful and higher quality than the standard ones, and after having almost non-stop brake problems with our TB-10, getting the best possible brakes for the RV-14A was high on our list of priorities!
There is also a safety factor in that the brake lines are braided steel, which is more robust than the standard plastic tube and reduces the risk of brake fluid leaking on hot brakes(!).
We have also gone with the Beringer nose wheel (which makes sense if we are doing the main wheels and brakes anyway), as we understand that it reduces the reported issues with shimmy on the Van’s standard nosewheels.
Given that an important element of our plan for the aircraft involves flying it long-distance for extended periods of time and needing easy maintenance we can do ourselves, we decided that on balance the additional cost of these items made sense for us. That may not be the case for everyone as different builders will want different things from their aircraft, but this is an area where we were happy to spend a bit extra.
LAA process for submitting modifications (UK)
The first thing to do if you wish to deviate from the standard plans is to fill in a Mod Proposal Form (MOD2) and send to the Engineering department of the Light Aircraft Association (LAA). This form requires basic information about the planned modifications, expected alteration to the structure and impact on things like drag, weight and overall performance. The form also asks if you’re aware of any flying LAA-certified aircraft that have used the same or similar modifications – it can of course speed up the process if the assessment has been done before.
The LAA took quite a while to come back to us (almost 6 months!) and we had to chase a couple of times to check they had received our form.
The form was eventually acknowledged and we were told to proceed with the build as planned. The next stage is to fill in the full Mod Application Form (MOD3) before any test-flying takes place. We already had to contact Beringer to help with some of the details for the MOD2 form – they were really helpful and I expect we’ll need to get in touch with them again when it comes to doing the full application.
We ordered the Beringer wheels and brakes from Adams Aviation (who were very helpful) at the same time as we ordered the fuselage, and they arrived about the same time too. Having unpacked them, we could instantly see how solid and well-designed they are. Looking forward to installing them on our build soon!
I hate to be that person, but besides all of the eminently sensible and well thought-out reasons for ordering these wheels and brakes explained above – THEY ARE SO PRETTY! I am aware of how geeky and ridiculous it is to say that about wheels and brakes, but LOOK… 🙂