By Brian Lewis
We very seldom give much thought to the wheel pants, but they add a very distinctive look to any aircraft and the minute they break off, we realize just how great they looked. Here are some tips to keep them in place and looking good.
■ If you have to drill out the axle hole, you have three things to think about when installing the pants on the gear. The first is how low it should sit, at what angle, and the lineup with the wheel, and how much room should it have on each side of the wheel.
■ You want to consider the type of surface the plane will be taking off from when setting how high the pants should sit on the gear. If you fly off of grass or dirt, you may want to move the pant up so there is plenty of clearance to the bottom of the wing.
■ On the angle, just be sure to have the plane sitting on all three wheels, so if it’s a tail-dragger, it’s sitting at the angle it will be when it lands. This will prevent any scraping of the back of the pants when landing.
■ To help center the wheel inside the wheel pant, use washers to bring the wheel out away from the side of the wheel pants and center it. This will prevent the wheel from rubbing on the side of the pant and pulling the plane to that side.
These three tips should allow your aircraft to roll straight and extend the life of your tires, so that every landing will be a great one.