Wheel Pants  
 

When I bought this Q2 project in 1991, I became the third owner. The first owner had bought it from the dealer with the fuselage shells tacked together and the bulkheads tacked in place. None of the taping of the shells and bulkheads had been done. The dealer had also constructed the main wing and canard with wheel pants installed. While the plans include information for constructing the wheel pants from scratch, these wheel pants were built from factory supplied foam cores. In the 1980s this is what was called a "fast build" kit, "90% done, 90% to go!.

Neither previous owner had done any work on the project, so that was my starting point.

One day, when I was preparing to joining the canard to the fuselage, I noticed what seemed to be a bulge on the inside wall of the left wheel pant. Closer inspection reveled several bulges varying in size from an inch or so to four or five inches around.

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It took me a week to convince myself that this just wasn't right, and to work up my nerve to cut into the wheel pant. The more I cut the worse things looked. Not only were there bubbles on the inside wall, there were large, but less obvious bubbles on the outside wall where the fiberglass was completely detached from the underlying foam core.

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Numerous voids had formed.

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And the voids weren't just between the foam and fiberglass. The foam cores themselves had internal voids!

The following is speculation: It's my understanding the wheel pant foam cores were made by a pour-in-place method in which liquid components were poured into molds. One suggestion made to me is that the foam continued to outgas after the fiberglass was applied, creating the bubbles.!

 

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There was only one thing to do!

 

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Off came both wheel pant.

 

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It was heart breaking!

 

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Oh, Well! There was one bright side...

 

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I get to make new, (hopefully) more aerodynamic wheel pants!

In the mid-90's I had been contact by David Lednicer a Seattle, WA aerodynamicist who was writing a series of articles about home built aircraft. He asked if he could borrow my set of Q2 plans so that he could create a digital model for his high end Fluid Dynamics software to do some comparisons between aircraft.

 

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He sent me this image as a thank you.

I asked him what he thought would make the single biggest improvement in the aerodynamics of the Q2, and with out a moment's hesitation he replied," fix the wheel pants".

 

 

 

 

 

Trued up some left over foam billets

 

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Cut out the blanks on a band saw.

 

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The white paper template is from the Q2 plans.

 

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Hot wired the air foil which was suggested to me by Bob Farnam.

 

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Glassed the inner surface.

 

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And started building up the sides.

 

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The side walls are composed of an inner layer of BID, overlaid with foam to give the airfoil shape.

 

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Mount the axle plates.

 

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Cut out for the hydraulic brake cylinders.

 

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Admire all the work.

 

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Install the fiber glass surfaces that will attached to the wing tips.

 

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Trial fit the new wheel pants to the wing tips.

 

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Of course I did a Gall wheel alignment once everything was installed..

 

 

 

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Prepare the wing tip to receive the new wheel pants.

 

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Spread out some flox on the wing tip and embed the wheel pant in the flox.

 

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Start the final shaping of the wheel pants.

 

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Install a piece of aluminum tubing as a brake line channel.

 

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Check the top shape.

 

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And glass it all in.

 

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Old vs. New

 

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