Chapter 9 – Wheel Pants

Today I started off early by getting my FAA Class III flight physical completed… another 2-year ticket to fly.

I then remounted the wheel pants using clecos in the alignment/hardware holes.

Thankfully everything went back together fairly smoothly. I would say that the skirt (wheel pant flange) on the gear seems to be pulling the aft end of each pant up about 1/8″, but beyond some minor requirements for trimming the interfaces, all looks pretty good!

Although not exact or scientific, after a bit of fanagaling I ran a string from the front center point to the aft center point… I could manipulate the string up or down, but it did naturally rest on the midpoint centerline when I initially pulled the string tight. Close enough for me . . .

I then spent a good bit of time re-spacing and re-drilling the screw/CAMLOC positions. The net result is the addition of one screw/CAMLOC on each side.

Note the X’s on the outboard (2x above) and inboard (1x below) where the old attach points were located.

There are some minor fit and finish issues that I need to deal with [note gap at junction] and I’ll dial those in as I finalize the wheel pants install.

Here’s a shot of the fuselage –with the wheel pants installed– in its current state. Albeit its current state is a bit of mess, with quite a bit of duct tape pieces and residue adhered semi-permanently to the surfaces.

I’ll note I’ve been closing out each evening this week with a good 45-minute or so cleaning session to get all the tape residue removed. In addition, each night I’ve been working 1-2 bondo spots still remaining on the bottom aft corner of the CS spar from when I mounted the wings to the spar and drilled out the wing mounting bolts…. yes, the sins of the past! The good news is I’m close to having a clean slate (pun intended) on the external fuselage. Next will come some much needed internal fuselage cleanup.

The next step will be finalizing the actual wheel pant hardware install.

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