Chapter 9: Landing Gear


In Chapter 9, you build the main landing gear, landing brake, gear cover, and install the wheels and brakes. While the instructions don't look all that hard, there are alot of steps that consume alot of time. This chapter also consumes a lot of cash because of buying the prefabricated gear strut, axles, wheels, and brakes, and the landing brake hardware. Before starting this chapter, I volunteered to write the Chapter 9 FAQ. That forced me to read every single posting from 4 years' archives. It was time well spent. The research helped me to understand the plans better, answer questions already asked by others, pick up clever build tips, and avoid mistakes of others.

Lessons Learned:

1.  I used vinyl tubing on the trailing edge instead of straws. The tubing will accommodate both sizes of nylaflow and nylaseal tubing everyone's saying to get.

9tubing.jpg

2.  Here's a picture of an outside tab layup. Form prior experience with the hardpoint layups in Chapter 4, I made sure to squeegee every tab layup and remove as much epoxy as possible. I did this so I wouldn't need to clamp the tabs. When you stack this many layers and try to weight or clamp them, the layers slide on one another a lot, causing the tabs to deform. Prior to tab layups, I took the time to 5-minute in small strips of urethane foam between the jig block and the gear strut, then sanded them down to form smooth junctures. Note that I've built up a larger trailing edge than specified in the plans. I've also got it angled straight back and not slanted to "center" the trailing edge. I did this on purpose. I've heard these birds fly a few degrees nose up and having the trailing edge in this position will allow me to feather in the gear so the camber is head-on to the airflow. Note that I don't have any wax paper to catch the epoxy drips. I had a helluva time getting the jig box off the table after cure!

9tablyup.jpg

3.  I trimmed the tabs with a hacksaw and dremel. What a dirty job! I got smarter on the other three tabs: (a) I put on a disposable paint suit; (b) moved everything to the garage door; and (c) set up a fan behind me to keep the dust off me and to blow it all outside! I would have carved the tabs outside, but it was about 35 degrees and pouring buckets of rain that day. Yeah, I know, where's the dedication, huh? The other picture shows a tab (90 layers of fiberglass...wow!), with tube and foam in place. By the way, I reversed the order of the plans here. I epoxied the foam block first, then fitted the tube in place. I understand from some Long-EZ drivers that their tubes are wallowing out and crushing the foam spacer. They're replacing the foam with pure flox. Sounds like a good idea, but their tabs are wimpier than our 90-layer honker tabs. I'll wait and see...

9trimming.jpg  9tab.jpg

4.  Here's a picture showing the tab holes being drilled to size. I chose to forego buying a spot-facing tool. I didn't have one, Home Depot didn't know what one was, I was too impatient to wait for one from Brock or Aircraft Spruce, and I was too cheap to replace bil kleb's tool if I ruined it. So...I did what the archives suggested - I bought a regular hole saw and filed down the outside teeth to the exact diameter. Worked great. BEWARE--> The tabs and the hole saw get VERY hot. I continuously alternated between both sides and kept a bucket of water handy.

9drilling.jpg


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