Chapter 9 – Wheel pants final glass

I had to run some errands today so I didn’t get into the shop until late afternoon.

My goal today was to finish the last bit of scheduled layups on the wheel pants.  So unless some odd requirement pops up for extra glass on the wheel pants, this should be the last of any fiberglass layups that I’ll need to do on these wheel pants.

I started by assessing the tire clearance with the left wheel pant.  I needed to do some judicious trimming in the front and along both sides, but the back side was a completely different story.  Since I had originally miscalculated the forward positioning of the front wheel pant, the result was that I ended up cutting the aft side of the wheel opening way too big, with over an inch extra gap for the tire.

Thus, as far glassing was concerned, my goal was to reinforce all the side and front edges with 2 plies of BID, as Gary Hertzler calls out for in the install instructions.  What Gary doesn’t specify is the width of the reinforcement glass, so I planned for 2 plies of BID at 3/4″ wide.  As I said, the aft edge was a different story and needed a fair bit of glass to fill it back in. So I prepregged all the glass and got started.

I then laid up the interior reinforcement BID for the left side wheel pant (shown farther below).  As the left side glass layups cured, I then assembled the right side wheel pant onto the gear and mounted it using nothing but screws (no Clecos).

I then assessed and determined the wheel opening spacing requirements with the tire.  I cut and prepregged the BID for the right side just as I did on the left side, and then laid up the reinforcement BID around the wheel opening in the right wheel pant.

Here’s a shot of the left and right front wheel pant halves’ tire opening reinforcement BID.

And the same thing on the aft side, only with some filler glass on the aft end of both rear wheel pant halves.  As you can see, the aft side wheel pant tire opening on the left required a lot more filler glass than the one on the right side.  Once the filler glass cures, I’ll cut it in an oval-type/rounded-corner rectangle fashion for wheel clearance.

After the last bit of glassing on the wheel pants, I then took a break for some chow.  When I returned to the shop I then spent about 2 hours organizing and cleaning the shop in prep for bringing my wings back inside, flipping the fuselage around so that it’s situated in the shop nose in… opposite of what I have now.  In addition, tomorrow I plan on mounting the engine to the firewall to mockup the firewall pass thru fittings, hoses and electrical connections.


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