Many airplanes have things that are called ‘wheel pants’ on them. Their function is to help with streamlining the surface area of the wheel that the air has to flow over during flight. They help to keep the tires from throwing mud and stones up at the fuselage and wings when taxi-ing. Also, they help to keep the plane warm when flying through the air. After all, you know how cold it can get when you’re wearing shorts instead of pants. That would not make for a good ride if you’re too busy thinking, “Gee, I’m cold!” instead of “Wow! Look at that view!”
In the R/C world the wheel pants are usually made of either plastic or fiberglass. Sometimes they are helpful, but other times they can be a pain in the rear. Especially if they are connected properly and start to flop around. The LT-25 that I fly doesn’t have wheel pants, though Jay’s Edge, Extra, Cub, and a few other planes have them. I didn’t want the LT being picked on because it wasn’t cool enough to have pants, so I decided to make some for it. They turned out really good so I thought I would show you how I made mine. Please feel free to take these instructions and make your own.
Jay had a nasty pair of his work pants that I decided I was going to throw out (he had already purchased a few more pairs to replace them). Since I already had this material I wanted to use it instead of just tossing the whole thing out. Denim is a forgiving and tough material that will hold up to a lot of abuse. I figured it could hold up to my gentle flying style on the LT. As you can see, I had help.
Make sure that you lay the fabric out flat. You don’t want to get any wrinkles in it or spots where the fabric is less than perfect. You might want to get somebody to help you closely inspect the fabric, just to make sure that it’s good enough to be used as wheel pants. Luckily this one passed the strenuous quality control testing that Chester put it through. She gave me the paws up to say that it was good.
The size of the wheel pants is going to depend upon the size of the wheels that you intend on covering. I had forgotten to measure the LT’s wheels, so I had to guess. After you draw your pattern out on paper (make sure to leave extra to account for the seam), trace it onto your fabric.
Once you have completely attached the two sides together you want to make sure to trim the excess as close to the seam as possible. Once you have done that you will need to reverse the pants. Pull the legs up through the waist so that you can turn them right side out. This will be a bit difficult and you might break a nail. If you do, just tear the nail off, file it down, and continue with the process. If you break the nail down too far grab your bottle of CA glue to do a temporary fix until you have time to repair it properly.
Once you have pulled them right side out and finger pressed the seams, cut another strip of fabric long enough to allow you to wrap the pants around the wheel’s strut. Attach the strip of fabric at the waist, and then adhere pieces of velcro to the strip so that you can securely attach the pants to the plane.
Installation is quick and easy; no tools required. Maintenance is easy as well. When the wheel pants need to be cleaned, peel the velcro apart and toss in the wash with the rest of your jeans. They won’t shrink and will continue to look great.
That’s all there is to it! In a few short hours you can make your plane into the most fashion-forward at the flying field. The other pilots will look on in jealousy as your plane goes zooming by with its wheel pants flapping in the breeze. They really work, too! This weekend I had the two best landings that I’ve ever had with this plane. I would like to think that it was due to the confidence that the LT had now that it was no longer naked. The Rascal and Senior were definitely jealous of the LT’s new accessories. The pants were a big hit at the field.