Sky Design Engineering Wheel Spats – Part 3

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Now that the wheels are on, I was able to test fit the spats and fit the Sky Designs lower gear leg fairings.

This is an outer Wheel Spat Bracket …

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… and a top view of an inner bracket.

I temporarily fitted the brake hose. I later discovered that there needed to be some slack at the bottom of the leg in order to position the Sky Design lower fairings correctly on the wheel spat.

My Aircraft Speciality gear leg hoses had been designed for the Beringer 5″ wheel setup, and basically they need to be about 1.5″ longer for the 6″ wheels.

Steve Tschurwald at Aircraft Speciality is sending replacement hoses, and with usual exemplary customer service, has offered to exchange the existing hoses. He even waived the shipping cost.

I heartily recommend Aircraft Speciality.

I’m actually going to keep the shorter hoses since they’ll probably find a home with another UK builder.

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In order to test fit the spats, the hole for the gear leg had to be cut … I found the Sky Design marked outline to be just about spot on, with little adjustment needed.

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I found the lower gear leg fairings needed to be positioned as far aft as possible.

The rear position of the fairing is governed by the two rear bracket holes, which will be match drilled later.

Once happy with the location, and having already marked and drilled two holes into the lower fairing which align with the wheel spat join flange, they are match drilled into the spat … this obviously fixes the lower fairing position.

The lower hole is easily drilled and then cleco’d. I match drilled #40 at this stage.

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The upper hole is harder, since the lower fairing blocked access for any drill bit in any tool I owned.

So I ended up marking the hole and removing the fairing to actually drill the hole in the spat.

Not ideal but it actually worked out well.

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Here’s the lower fairing clecoed on to check the position prior to match drilling the other holes.

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The spat is then removed so that the other holes can be match drilled #19 from the inside out.

As I match drilled I temporarily inserted #8 screws and nipped them tight with nuts.

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The Sky Design instructions specify only one attachment screw in the forward part of the lower fairing.

I had found that although the fairing fit onto the wheel spat was very good, there was a slight gap top and bottom around the front. So I decided to make two extra holes for screws in those areas to completely close the gaps.

The Sky Design spats have been very well designed, and all other nutplates are riveted into epoxy resin rather than carbon fibre (aluminium rivets corrode in carbon fibre!)

So I’ve attempted to replicate this, reinforcing the nutplate areas with epoxy resin/cloth, and also …

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… filling oversize holes with epoxy/flox so that when drilled #40 the rivets will be surrounded by epoxy and not carbon.

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Once the nut plates had been attached I test fitted the lower fairings and I’m very happy with the result.

They fit very nicely.

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Here’s the right side.

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So here are the spats fitted to accommodate 6″ wheels.

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They are obviously quite a bit larger than the Vans spats for the 5″ wheels.

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But I think they look just fine.

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Front view.

The driving force for this modification has been ground clearance on grass strips, and a larger tyre footprint to cope with softer ground.

Job done!

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