Originally Posted by walter
I wonder if it's more aerodynamic than our standard wheel pant fairings. Thoughts from the aerodynamically minded?
First, I'm so glad my plane is an experimental, and I am the holder of the Repairman's Certificate for it. For $6000 I can buy all the carbon fiber I want, make my own molds, put wheel pants on my plane, then look around at what to do with the remaining $5800 I would have left over.
Second, in general the form drag of that wheel pant to gear leg intersection fairing would be higher than the most optimized solution. The best way to minimize the interference drag of the wheel pant to gear leg are the following, in roughly priority order:
1) Make the radius between the two start nominally near zero at the leading edge, and grow to be somewhat larger than the thickness of the boundary layer at the end. For the speeds we fly and the sizes of our wheel pants, this means start at the radius of your index finger (~1/4") and increase it to ~2".
2) Do not align the thickest part of the wheel pant and the gear leg fairing. This is much more difficult, as the thickest part of the wheel pant is typically lined up at the tire, and the gear leg fairing is thickest at the axle, so the two thick portions line up. This can be avoided by increasing the thickness of the gear leg fairing and moving it forward or aft. It can also be done with non-traditional wheel pant shapes. There are some great laminar flow airfoils that move the thickest section very far aft. This, combined with a symmetrical airfoil for the gear leg fairing of roughly ~30% chord pushed as far forward as possible helps to not have the two thickest sections align.
3) Realize that there is a point of diminishing returns for the wheel pants. No wheel pants and no gear leg fairings will get you a double-digit hit in cruise speed. Putting a set of wheel pants on will gain most of that. The gear leg fairings will add ~4-5 kts. From there, careful attention to intersections, finishes, not having protruding fasteners, etc is down into the 1 kt or less territory.