If a tail dragger airplane is converted to one with conventional tricycle landing gears, how will this affect the balance of the airplane? It is possible to offset the effect by shifting weights around the airframe?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Is this a homework or exam question? $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 9:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Generally, we don't answer homework questions without more information from you. You need to show what work you have done, and explain what it is you don't understand. Personally I don't understand the question so unless you can edit your question and explain more I can't help. Sorry! $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Taking an existing taildragger and redesigning it for tricycle gear use would be a significant engineering job, it would need more than just weight and balance checks. (For example, changing the position of the main wheels, stengthening those new positions, checking for propeller strikes or tail strikes etc.) That may be a good start. (Note some small aircraft are available in multiple versions so redesign is possible.) $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ So what will happen to the datum and moment? Sir andy $\endgroup$
    – jericho
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ An aircraft's reference datum is an arbitrary fixed plane, so nothing will happen to it in a design modification unless you remove some part by which the reference datum is defined (e.g.: you move the main landing gear struts and the reference datum is defined in reference to their former position.) $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


There are some planes out there that exist in both configurations. One of the more common and first that comes to mind is the popular Cessna 150, the Cessna 172 also has an available conversion.

As a taildragger

enter image description here (source)

And with tricycle gear enter image description here (source)

Since the majority of the mass remains unmoved (the engine, fuel tanks etc) the CG will see a bit of a shift but will not be that drastic. The biggest weight shift will be moving the mains up front. However since your gear is located in a different place and thus is loaded differently your CG limits may change.


Not completely sure what you are asking. But in a tail dragger aircraft the center of gravity (CG) is behind the main land gear (MLG), while a tricycle configuration places the CG in front of the MLG. You achieve this by placement of the MLG, tail draggers generally have their MLG mounted near or forward of the lending edge of the wing, while tricycles' MLG are placed toward the middle or aft part of the wing.

Of course moving the landing gear around will move the empty CG of the aircraft and a tricycle configuration will generally weigh more.

There are many kit planes that allow you to build the aircraft either way, but I don't know any that would allow an easy conversion from one to the other.


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