Bohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2560 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4584 times:
When Aeroflot used to operate the IL-62 into IAD, I noticed they would drop the tail wheel as they made the turn into the gate. The tail wheel was retracted just prior to pushback. I never saw it taxi with the tail wheel down outside the gate.
Certainly. I guess since the IL-62 is very tailheavy, probably more tailheavy than other aircraft with tailmounted engines (e.g. the VC-10, TU-154, B727), it actually needs that support wheel, or else it could tip up and have a tailstrike when the CG is too far aft.
Legacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 27 Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4163 times:
All I am going to write down now is speculation, based on 20 years in aviation on different types of airplanes. So my imagination goes this way:
A loaded IL62 would not use the wheel, as the load brings the aircraft in to balance. Otherwise it would simply not be flyable, as the Centre of Gravity would be ways out of permissible range. If the plane is on low load or for ferry flights, they probably need to bring ballast into the forward section of the plane. So the aircraft is basically held in it's balance by the engines rear of the wing and the load, mainly forward of the wing. If the aircraft isn't loaded, it probably could fall on it's tail.
So if they need the aircraft to tow on ground or taxi to maintenance etc. it seems that they need to have this wheel for. However, I think it has to be used carefully for taxi, as the fuselage could otherwise be bended, what is worst, that could happen to an aircraft.
Another aspect for the wheel: The IL62 is a long range aircraft, so taking considerable amounts of fuel. If you choke an aircraft's nose-wheel and the main-wheels or put the breaks on, the aircraft can dis-stress considerably into the chokes during fueling. This can in the extreme be that much, that the chokes get nearly impossible to remove or a risk for damage to the structure is there. So having a wheel is very smart, as the fuselage can dis-stress under the load.
Still, all I wrote now here, is speculation. Maybe somebody familiar with Russian aircrafts can bring in some professional knowledge.
CIO666 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 24 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4019 times:
As Legacy135 points out, an aircraft that needs an extra tail support wheel to prevent tipping during taxi would be outside of its legal weight and balance limit to fly, and would probably be fatal to anyone unlucky enough to be on board or nearby when said aircraft stalled and crashed. The tail wheel is for imbalances during loading. When the plane pulls into the gate, the passengers depart from the front of the aircraft. After the first 20 rows clear out, the front is very light, and the fuel tanks are relatively empty, but the rear, with 4 engines and a bunch of passengers still waiting to deplane is heavy. This is when the tail prop is needed. After the plane is refueled (providing balast to balance the aircraft), the passengers and cargo are loaded and the weight and balance are checked, the aircraft should be balanced enough to retract the tail prop and taxi safely.