As many Cessna owners know, the original factory landing gear fairings are rather delicate as they are formed out of .020 aluminum. An A&P friend of mine refers to .020 as “Oh to thin”.
The factory original fairings last as long as pilots and passengers carefully stand only on the step and gear vibration is minimized. 35 years of people stepping on the original fairings took their toll.
For readers not totally family with aviation, ask before you step if you’re not sure. The fairings last as pilots and passengers carefully stand only on the step.
The new fairings were acquired from Robair Repair LLC Out of Washington State. The Robair fairings were half the price and significantly thicker at about .032. These fairings are built tough and will probably last forever. A significant upgrade over factory original. Very little fitment was required for installation.
After test fitting main leg, fuselage, and brake to wheel pant fairings; everything came together with a little hand tuning for exact fitment. No filing or machine was necessary, just slightly increasing the the dome of the rounded upper half of the gear fairing lengthwise. Next the parts were sent out to T&P Aircraft painters at KSNS Salinas airport to make’em pretty.
Closing thoughts regarding installation
For longevity, ensure the fairing fits underneath the leg fairing to wheel assembly bracket without any stress. This mounting bracket should not bend to conform to the fairing, the fairing should conform to this bracket. In some cases the Robair fairing may need slight hand forming to improve the radius or budge around the tubular gear leg and conformity to this mounting bracket, as mentioned above.
Also ensure the wheel and tire assemblies are properly balanced to reduce any shake of the landing gear while rolling. Proper balancing of the wheels and tires as a unit will not only provide a much smoother taxiing ride, but provide enhanced protection from stress cracking in the all the associated gear components. Many A&Ps believe just aligning the dot on the tires to the wheel stem on the wheel is balanced enough if you buy quality tires. Though satisfactory to fly out of a stranded aircraft situation, it’s insufficient for repeated taxiing and take-off or landing roles for comfort and longevity of the fairings and total landing gear system.
Gear looks great and performed perfectly. What a difference for minimal labor. Robair has gear leg fairings for many other piston Cessna models as well. One more cosmetic squawk fixed!