Beringer Aero USA announced an expansion of the French company’s U.S. presence on what they call “The Last Frontier.” Known for its best-in-class wheels, brakes, and related components, Beringer opened an office at the Birchwood airport in Alaska to wide their network and offer customer support. Alaska is an airplane lover’s state. Reportedly one in 50 residents of the largest American state are pilots, compared to around one in 650 in the “lower 48.” No wonder really, as the vast state has only a handful of roads and most of them are in Anchorage or en route to Fairbanks. The rest of the enormous state is largely accessibly only by aircraft. “The Alaskan Landing Gear and a complete range of wheel and brake systems are nearing certification and will be available to all Cub owners and pilots soon,” announced Beringer. “Our wheel and brake kits raise the level of safety thanks to efficient and progressive braking action combined with the strong and reliable design of the wheels.” Weight savings comes as an added bonus, the company said.
This last week, I trekked to FAA headquarters in Washington DC, an action that consumed three days of my time. This was a third visit in six months to meet with top ranked FAA officials, as two organizations combine forces to attempt bringing useful change to light aviation. I won’t long dwell on the effort yet I admit it feels good to advance the ball down the field. The U.S. Ultralight Association (USUA) represents pilots of light aircraft. The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) represents the light aircraft producer and business community. USUA, headed by Roy Beisswenger, and LAMA, chaired by your faithful reporter have made a dynamic duo since early 2014 when we embarked on a mission of advocacy. EAA and AOPA plus GAMA do some similar work and they do it well. However, they have a focus other than for recreational sport pilots and the not-certified light aircraft they fly.
Beringer is a family company that has been deeply involved with wheels and brakes in the automotive and motorcycle world. But in 2006 the family focused on aircraft (they sold the automotive part) and dedicated its energy in this area. At Aero 2013 we spoke with Claire Beringer to ask about the family business. She shows us their impressive line of premium wheels and brakes and tells us how these have been improved even further.
Elements are basic components of nature. As in our first part, I see Oshkosh Elements as fascinating ideas other than airframes or engines. One such worthy idea is Beringer’s new anti-groundloop tailwheel. Before we talk about their innovation, though, let’s take a quick glance at tailwheel design popularity. Cub-like models and other taildraggers account for more than 20% of the LSA fleet today. Tricycle gear may dominate but lots of pilots believe a tailwheel aircraft is the “proper” gear for an airplane with more machismo, more bush-capability, more aerodynamic efficiency (less drag) … you name it, many pilots just love taildraggers. Tricycle gear pilots, however, not so much. The reason? Trigear landings tend to self correct regarding keeping the airplane straight on the runway. Tailwheel aircraft threaten the dreaded ground loop. Since this sounds — and can be — scary, lots of Cessna or Piper-trained pilots avoid flying taildraggers. Several other reporters covered Beringer‘s press conference and reported on the company’s tailwheel offering but none fully explained it, in my opinion.