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KAUSpilot
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 2:15 pm

Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 11:23 am

Hello!

I'm a student pilot and at the airport (Austin-Bergstrom International, Austin Texas), I notice that some of the aircraft with fixed landing gear have landing gear fairings, while most don't. I think the fairings make the planes look a lot cleaner and easier on the eye, but I have some technical questions about them.

My questions are:

1) Is the reduction in parasite drag that the fairings provide worth their added cost?
2) How much was cessna and piper charging for these back in the 70's and 80's?
3) Do gear fairings now come standard on new cessna's and pipers from the factory?
4) What are the fairings made out of, and how much weight do they typiccal add to the a/c?
5) Is the drag for weight tradeoff really worth it in the end?
6) Are the fairings easily damaged on takeoff and landing?


Any response is greatly appreciated!


 
Pappy
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 12:01 pm

Well, they do help allot with the drag factor and they don't add much weight to the aircraft. A pilot friend said that he was making a soft field landing on a grass strip and after he pulled off an old timer came up to him and told him he left part of his aircraft on the runway (fairings) Big grin
 
I LOVE EWR
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 12:20 pm

Usually for planes that are used in instruction the fairings are taken off. This is to prevent damage that a young pilot may cause on the fairings in the event of a hard landing. On the Piper Warrior the fairings add about 5 mph when on give or take a few mphs. I believe they are expensive but not sure of the price. Hope this helps
 
flyf15
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:16 pm

I believe Cessna publishes a 2kt increase in speed with fairings attached. Aren't the new ones fiberglass? I do believe they come standard on the new Cessnas.
 
Guest

RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:24 pm

The fairings are called "wheel pants" and are usually made out of metal (vintage aircraft) or fiberglass (modern aircraft). The speed advantage depends on a few things, but is usually somewhere between 3 to 5 mph - not an awful lot. They usually are very prone to cracking. (People tend to forget that they're not intended to be used as steps.) They also tend to get plugged up easily with mud, snow and ice. All in all, most people don't think they're worth the bother so that's probably why most fixed gear aircraft run without them.
 
L-188
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu Jan 31, 2002 5:26 pm

They are only great if you fly from paved feilds.

If you fly from grass or dirt you are goig to be throwing too much junk up into them.

That is one reasons you don't see Supercubs running 28 inch tires and wheel pants  Big thumbs up
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
WhiskeyNovembr
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Fri Feb 01, 2002 8:20 am


Wheel pants also make it difficult to service the wheels/tires and check tire condition before flight.

 
lapa_saab340
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Sat Feb 02, 2002 10:17 am

The gain in speed and/or the fuel savings will probably be more noticeable on the faster planes, such as the Cessna 182, and probably make less of a difference on a Cessna 150.

It's hard to tell the difference in airplanes with a fixed pitch prop since the tachometer doesn't give you a good indication of your power setting. For example, take a Cessna 150 w/o wheel pants. Say that at 75% power, it cruises at 100mph, and your tach shows 2400rpm. Now we throw in the wheel pants (in mid-flight  Smile). The reduction in drag would cause the airspeed to increase if we leave the throttle alone. Along with the increase in the airspeed, we'd see an increase in the rpm's, so we'd throttle back to our cruise setting of 2400rpm. But now that we pulled the throttle back, we're no longer at 75%, and our fuel flow has gone down as well. We might not see any significant difference in airspeed from before, but the fact is that it now takes less power (and less fuel) to mantain that 100mph cruise speed. I wouldn't be able to tell you what kind of fuel savings you get, but they'd probably be more noticeable on faster fixed-gears like the 182 or the 206, and less so on slower planes like the 150.

It's probably better to accept the fuel savings and mantain the usual cruising speed, rather than going a bit faster  Smile
 
SkyGuy11
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:39 pm

For those that have operated with wheel farings:

How do you check the tires prior to the flight for excessive wear? Is there some kind of door that opens, can you take the whole faring off, or do you pretty much have to say 'well, it looks ok to me' with out really checking it?
.
 
Buzz
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Slick Wheel Fairings

Sat Feb 02, 2002 11:58 pm

Hi Kauspilot, Buzz here. May i offer some thoughts from a mechanic of 20 years, and low time taildragger pilot:

If you cruise faster than 110-120 mph then the landing gear fairings and wheel pants make a difference by reducing drag. Below 90 mph (Cub and Champ speeds -grin-) there is little effect. My freind has a Cessna 180, cruises at 150 mph or so. But he has "naked" wheels and a STOL wing to fly off his grass airstrip.

The wheel pants make it hard to check tire pressure and tire wear. There's often a little door to stick a tire gauge into. But i remember a new from the factory fiberglass airplane that couldn't taxi at an airshow one evening. A few of us went out on the taxiway and lifted the airplane up on the flat tire side: seems that the landing gear was not in alignment and had totally worn away one side of the tire. It looked good from what you could see - but it embarrased the pilots. We lifted the airplane enough to get wood blocks under the axle and helped replace a tire - out there on the taxiway.

And i enjoy flying off of my freind's grass airstrip. Grass makes a nice runway - even for a DC-3. Try it sometime Kaus. Just make a pass down the runway first to look for wire fences and cows and ditches.
g'day

Buzz Fuselsausage: Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 Crew Chief by choice.
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Slick Wheel Fairings

Mon Feb 04, 2002 1:13 pm

LOL Skyguy11. About all you can say is that the tires have air in them. Pants make it impossible to look for worn spots, cuts abnormal tread wear and all of those other goodies that we ALWAYS check for by rolling the aircraft slightly forward or back (wink).
 
wingscrubber
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Wed May 26, 2010 5:32 pm

Any speed advantage by using wheel fairings is negated over time because of the weight increase incurred by collecting wet grass! - take it from a former mechanic who has had to clean them out! Not a problem if you never use grass strips, but the main disadvantage in my mind is that they prevent proper inspection of the tyres and brakes on preflight. Those fairings could be hiding a flat spot and a tyre about to blow, or your brake pads could be worn down to the metal and you'd never know just because you want to go 5mph faster.
Resident TechOps Troll
 
swiftski
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu May 27, 2010 7:40 am

Quoting KAUSpilot (Thread starter):
1) Is the reduction in parasite drag that the fairings provide worth their added cost?
Quoting KAUSpilot (Thread starter):
5) Is the drag for weight tradeoff really worth it in the end?
Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 3):
I believe Cessna publishes a 2kt increase in speed with fairings attached. Aren't the new ones fiberglass? I do believe they come standard on the new Cessnas.

On the Cirrus SR20/22 that I fly it's 5KTAS per wheel fairing.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu May 27, 2010 8:24 pm

Quoting swiftski (Reply 12):
On the Cirrus SR20/22 that I fly it's 5KTAS per wheel fairing.

Must be one hell of an aerodynamically clean bird  
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Thu May 27, 2010 8:57 pm

I'd never come across the term wheel pants before. Mind you "pants" means something different over here.   This side of the pond we'd call these fairings wheel spats.

The English term for pants is trousers and over here trousered undercarriage means an aerodynamic fairing over the entire leg, not just the wheel. As with the Boeing P-36 and the Junkers Ju-87. Or this:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Eadie



Now that's what I call trousers/pants.  
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
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Scooter01
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Fri May 28, 2010 12:22 am

Some aircraft comes standard from the factory with the wheel fairings, they are part of the design.
Taking them off just makes the plane look stupid   

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © John Allan

Quoting Skyguy11 (Reply 8):
How do you check the tires prior to the flight for excessive wear? Is there some kind of door that opens, can you take the whole faring off, or do you pretty much have to say 'well, it looks ok to me' with out really checking it?
Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 10):
LOL Skyguy11. About all you can say is that the tires have air in them. Pants make it impossible to look for worn spots, cuts abnormal tread wear and all of those other goodies that we ALWAYS check for by rolling the aircraft slightly forward or back   .

I once sent my son for an acro-ride in this very plane, and the pilot failed to notice one of the fasteners at the rear of the fairing wasn't tightened properly..... (look at the "large" photo)


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mikko Maliniemi


As he removed his parachute after the flight, the grin on his face was priceless....

Scooter01
There is always a good reason to watch airplanes
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Landing Gear Fairings On Fixed Gear A/C

Fri May 28, 2010 12:31 am

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 10):
Reply 10, posted Mon Feb 4 2002
Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 11):
Reply 11, posted Wed May 26 2010

I see it's old-thread resuscitation week  

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