The tail cone bulkhead has proven to be weak in the area of the lower tail strut mounting brackets. Most people feel that the real problem is a result of tail strut bottoming. We agree with this and recommend close preflight inspection for proper inflation as well as careful maintenance of this unit (it supports quite a load). For those of you with Ray’s Aircraft Service locking tail wheels, improper inflation of the tail strut (to low) can cause the locking arm to disengage.
Most all aircraft have now been reinforced with doublers in the lower bulkhead area. We have removed the doublers on 4 aircraft, 3 of these revealed substantial cracking in the bulkhead underneath. We do not know whether this extent of cracking existed when the doublers were installed or cracking continued afterwards. Either way, this is an area warranting close inspection.