Originally Posted by sglynn
Whats your thinking and experience on flying the first flight without wheel pants.
I'm finishing testing and will soon be ready for first flight of my RV-7A and I'm thinking I will leave off all the wheel pants and gear leg fairings.
And if I leave off the main gear pants, can I leave on the bracket for them?
Are you breaking in a new engine? If so, you want as much cooling air as possible to carry away the heat of break-in. The best cooling is at faster speeds, and the amount of cooling is not linear with speeed, it is exponential. The entire gear pant and leg fairing package for a two-place RV is good for about 16 -20 knots at the top end...a significant speed increase and increase in cooling.
There are many that say you should leave everything off because the engine will “work harder” with the added drag - this makes no sense, as the airplane will accelerate to whatever speed will balance thrust and drag, and stabilize there. You will be running high power regardless of speed (for break-in), so you want as much speed as possible to cool all that horsepower.
Therefore, for my airplanes, I always fly with fairings in place to break in a new engine.
If you are flying an engine that needs no break in, then it probably makes no difference.
Paul F. Dye
Editor in Chief - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)