Heel Brakes

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Terry Hand
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm

Heel Brakes

Post by Terry Hand »

And Now For Something Completely Different -

After a too long hiatus on my Pietenpol project, I am back at it. I need some constructive ideas.

I have made the decision to go with manual drum brakes. I did not want super strong hydraulic brakes that would either flip me over if I stomped too hard or leave me stranded if I had a leak. Simplicity was my goal. In addition, I am installing rudder pedals in the rear seat of my steel tube project. I have steel tube tail feathers (a la Scott Liefeld, so it is a long-flown, proven design). I am comfortable with rudder pedals over the rudder bar.

I have seen the Bill Rewey style brake pedals, and as nice as they are, they will not likely work with my setup. So I have elected to go with heel brakes. I have a set of Champ pedals that I am thinking about using, but the rest of it I am still mulling over. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on the best way to fabricate this set up? Or better for a non-engineer, non-gearhead pilot such as myself, got any pictures?
3CD53954-64AD-4ECB-87BC-6A3B826E5E6D.jpeg
Thanks in advance for any help that you may provide.

P.S. Come on, Oscar, I know that challenges like this get your engineer juices flowing. ;0)
Semper Fi,

Terry Hand
Athens GA
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taildrags
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:39 pm

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by taildrags »

Terry; I have seen pix of some very elegantly executed heel brakes and if I were building a new Piet I would consider that setup. That may be partly due to the fact that my first training, and my first supervised solo, were done in a J-3 with expander-tube brakes with heel actuation. The expander tube brakes are just about the right 'strength' to do what's needed without feeling like you could go over on the airplane's nose if you stomped them. That said, I've never gotten the feeling that the Clevelands on 41CC were going to nose me over even though they likely have the power to do that since they are from a C172, an airplane twice the gross weight of the Piet. I have grown to like the rudder bar setup but have never flown a rudder bar with heel brakes so have no personal experience with that combo.

I'm currently down in Texas for this week, visiting with family, and it's not convenient for me to dig through my reference material for pix of the heel brake setups that I think are nicely executed, but can do so when I'm back home. I have thought up some Rube Goldberg-ish setups to translate mechanical fore-and-aft motion into brake cable motion for mechanical drum brakes, but none as nice as the setups that others have actually built and flown. In particular, there was an award-winning scale Jenny with a Geo engine on it that had a very nice heel brake setup for the drums on the spoked wheels and those pix are the ones I'll try to locate first.

Oscar Zuniga
Laredo, TX (for the week ;o)
Medford, OR (regular home)
Air Camper NX41CC, A75 power
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Terry Hand
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by Terry Hand »

Oscar,

At your leisure. Have fun with family.

(I figured you would have a picture or two.) ;)
Semper Fi,

Terry Hand
Athens GA
danoliver
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:58 am
Location: Cincinnati

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by danoliver »

I’m still in the building stage so who knows how well my setup will actually work but for what it’s worth here’s a couple shots of how I did mine. The design is inspired from pictures on West Coast Piet of Charlie Miller’s design.
1919F80B-4137-4798-BB89-715391BCE475.jpeg
It’s really hard to get a good picture under there.
38863688-CD5F-4D22-AF0F-B916D789BF43.jpeg
A48A9EF5-43F3-4CF3-81C4-9C62BC15EC81.jpeg
And here’s the mess makes underneath.
37C3CB9C-CF34-4FC5-90C2-0A5E15659D5E.jpeg
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taildrags
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:39 pm

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by taildrags »

Dan; does the brake cable go around a pulley to change direction before entering the outer sheath? Looks that way but I can't be sure.

-Oscar Z.
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Richard Roller
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Location: Olathe, Ks.

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by Richard Roller »

Dan. Are the red straps control stops?
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Richard Roller
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Location: Olathe, Ks.

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by Richard Roller »

By the way Terry, good to see you back on the site.
danoliver
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:58 am
Location: Cincinnati

Re: Heel Brakes

Post by danoliver »

Oscar, the cable does not currently go around a pulley. It just bends 90 degrees around a wood curve. I figured that would be a simpler installation (always on the quest to reduce parts count). However, I made the dimensions match that of a pulley so that if it proves to be a problem then it would be relatively easy to add them.

Richard, yes the red straps are my rudder control stops. I was going to add the wood blocks in front of the rudder bar as stops but they would of been like an inch and a half deep. looked like a lot of block! So I decided to try straps instead. The only thing I could think of that might be an issue is if the strap slid in or out on the bar then your travel would lessen. That's why you see the safety wire clamping them in place.

None of this stuff has been tested in the field mind you.
I posted mostly just to point out that heel brakes can also be installed sideways.
Another cool sideways set up is pictured on West Coast Piet under Alan James.
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