Picking the Right Wheels for a Gyrocopter
A tire for a gyrocopter, like any aircraft, is specialized and has little in common with an automobile tire. These tires are made from steel, rubber and fabric. Tires for this kind of aircraft usually have a tube and are bias-ply brands. There are usually choices in quality from economy to high-end models or a retread.
If you are replacing tire then check out the existing tire. It has a lot of information to offer.
- Tire name
- Serial number
- Part number
- AEA carcass / Tread code
- Molded skip depth
- Tire size
When selecting a tire, check the POH (Pilot’s Operating Handbook) for the requirements for your specific gyrocopter. It will include a size, a ply rating, and sometimes a brand and model recommendation. For safety you should choose tires within the parameters suggested. This assumes you bought a commercially-produced gyrocopter. If you built the gyrocopter then consult the manual for the kit or plans you used for recommendations.
When choosing a tire there are many factors to consider and some of the terms may be unfamiliar. It can be helpful to understand how these factors affect your choice of tire.
Ply – an indication of tire strength and thus the load it can carry
Thread – the area of the tire that is in contact with the ground
Undertread – a layer of specially rubber that bonds the outer tread to the body of the tire
Carcass Ply – fabric cord between two layers of carcass plies to add to load capacity and strength
Bead Wires - these are made of steel wires layered together and coated with rubber
Chafer Strips - strips of rubber or fabric that protect the carcass plies from damage from installation or wear and tear between the tire and rubber bead
Sidewall – a layer of rubber that protects the cord plies and releases anti-oxidants over time to protect t tire from ultraviolet rays and ozone which can cause the rubber to crack.co
Smaller gyrocopters may use cycle tires. The simplest gyrocopters are very light and weight is a major consideration. These may use small wheels that are foam filled.
Once a tire is installed it will stretch pressure. The tire should be re-inflated to the correct pressure. To keep tires in good condition they should be kept clean especially of anything that would damage the rubber, such as oil, grease, hydraulic fluid and degreasing solutions. Wipe these off with denatured alcohol and wash the tires. For the best protection apply a waterproof barrier.
Like anything made of rubber they can be affected by sunlight and extreme temperatures. Therefore covers are recommended when it is being stored especially in hot climates. Also store spare tires away from electric generators, battery chargers and fluorescent lights, which can harm the rubber.