Landing Gear


Nose Gear

The KLS landing gear subkit includes main gear, nose gear, actuators, hydraulic pump, and wheel wells as you'd expect.  Some time ago, I opted to purchase the main gear set from Infinity Aerospace, which left me without a nose gear.  KLS Composites was kind enough to send me a nose gear, wheel, tire, actuator, and nose wheel well free of charge.  They even offered to send me a hydraulic pump, but since that is included in my main gear package, I declined that component.  

The process begins with assembly of the nose strut.  The aluminum parts are bolted and/or bonded to the solid fiberglass gear leg using fine Huntsman adhesives.
With the nose gear and wheel attached to the airframe, I cut a hole in the bottom of the fuselage to match the wheel well opening. 
The wheel well was bonded to the inside of the fuselage, then a fiberglass layup completes the outside joint.  The blue SuperFil fairing will make the joint invisible.
The fuselage is upside-down here, of course.
Next was to make a nose gear door.  No instructions in the builder's manual here, I just had to "wing it."  I opted to create a "nose strut" door (i.e. the door is fixed to the gear leg) in lieu of one or two hinged gear doors for a couple of reasons:
(1) I feel that the fewer joints, hinges and attach rods, the better.
(2) A strut door doubles as a speed brake, increasing drag when I drop the gear.  Since this airplane has no other speed brake, seemed like a good way to slow down during approach.
The completed nose gear assembly.  Note the small titanium "striker plate" midway down the gear leg.  This was another add-on that seemed like a good idea... keeps the upstop bolt from wearing the fiberglass gear leg.
Probably overkill here, but I faired out the edges of the strut door.  Mostly for looks... I don't expect much of a drag improvement here.  Then again, who's going to see how nicely the door fairs when it's closed?   Oh well, I like to make things nice, and it only took about 200 additional hours.  Kidding, of course.  (sort of).
Here is the completed nose gear installation.  You might also notice that I took the time to prime the bottom of the airplane with UV Smoothprime while it was upside-down.  As you can see, I opted to leave the wheel well open, as well as the top of the strut near the hinge point.  Once again, I felt that the extra hinges, doors and mechanisms required to close out these area didn't outweigh the benefits.  If I find this causes excessive noise during flight test, I will have to revisit this design decision.
The retract mechanism went together easy enough, but the actuator was 1.3" too short for my needs.  Seems that there was some history of changing actuators between Glassic Composites and KLS Composites, and the last batch they bought was for the previous (shorter) configuration.  I could have reworked my NG Plates to accommodate the shorter actuator... easy on the bench, but not so easy now that they were installed.  Instead I contacted Custom Actuator Products and had them modify the actuator for me.  Worked great and only cost $75.

Main Gear

Back in the days of Glassic Composites, the main landing gear was designed and built by Infinity Aerospace of San Diego, California.  When Glassic went bankrupt, the parting was not sweet.  When the company was reformed as KLS Composites, Infinity wanted nothing to do with them, which left us builders with 2 options for retractable gear: buy directly from Infinity, or wait for KLS to design and build their own gear.  After taking a trip to San Diego, I opted for the former.  The only catch was that J.D. Newman, the owner of Infinity Aerospace, insisted that I pay for the gear in advance... so I did.  That was in 1999.  Here it is February 2004 and I still haven't received my shipment (although I did get 2 wheel wells and a hydraulic pump so far).  J.D. promises that shipment will be soon, but it's definitely been an exercise in patience.

(Jan 2005 update): The gear is in-house and bolted to the spar... more to come.

 

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