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Old 04-18-2021, 01:40 PM
Flygirl34d Flygirl34d is offline
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Frankston, TX
Posts: 3
Default Operation on Turf with Wheelpants

We just bought an RV-9 from the original builder who has operated the airplane from paved runways only. I know Van designed the RV line to operate from grass but this builder is quite concerned about that with Wheel Pants installed. His are nicely faired in and set 1-1/2” off the ground. We live on an airpark in East Texas (T25) with a nice grass runway. This is not an “unimproved” or pasture strip but nicely maintained grass. In the heat of summer when the grass is stressed it does get a bit rough whereas in the spring and early winter its noticeably “softer” but never muddy.

What recommendations do you have for turf ops? Should we remove the Wheel Pants? Can they be reinforced and or raised to give more clearance? If we remove them how do we secure the gear leg fairing since there’s no place to attach the lower intersection fairings?

Any advice would be most appreciated.
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:51 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 8,226

My personal recommendation is to give it a try, based on your description of the grass. As you note, if you remove them you need to figure out how to support the gear leg fairings, or remove them too. Then, you’ll be disappointed at cruise speed-Vans’ fairings actually work!
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:03 PM
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Vern Vern is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Peachtree City, Ga
Posts: 1,097
Default Go fly

Don’t worry about them. They can take a lot of abuse
Vern Darley
Awarded FAA "The Wright Brothers 'Master Pilot' Award"- for 50 years safe flying

RV-6A N680V / RV-10QB N353RV
Luscombe 8E N2423K 50+years
Hatz Biplane N2423Z soon to be birthed
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KFFC Hanger D-30
Peachtree City, Ga
770 310-7169
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:04 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,885

Originally Posted by Vern View Post
Don’t worry about them. They can take a lot of abuse
And fiberglass is relatively easy to repair if they do suffer damage.
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:04 PM
edclee edclee is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 264
Default grass and wheel pants

I fly an RV-9A from our turf runway. Bermuda grass and other green stuff. Sounds like ours is not nearly as plush as yours. 2800 feet, 100 feet wide. We keep it mowed. Wheel pants are fine mechanically, but the grass will work on the paint. I recommend running it and if and when the grass works on the paint on the bottom side, mask and paint the bottom of the wheel pant with black. If you remove them it will rob you of MANY MPH and the bare wheels will look much worse than if the paint is not quite as shiny on the pants.
Sonex/Corvair 2016 Finished, Sold 2020
RV-9A 2005 Purchased
IO-320 160 hp
Exempt but happily paid for 2022
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:05 PM
DRMA DRMA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 532

Mike Seager who is a well known and experienced transition trainer for all of the Van's aircraft runs his operation out of the Vernonia airport, which is a grass runway. He operates all of the RV line there, including the RV-10 and RV-6, and I would guess he has landed the RV-9 there as well. In all cases he doesn't remove the wheel pants.

Suggest you get in touch with Mike if you wish to discuss grass strip operations with the RV-9. His information is available on Van's website at

Congratulations on joining the ranks of RV owners.
Dave Macdonald

RV-10 First Flight April 1, 2020. Phase 1 Complete
2022 VAF Dues Paid (plus a little more as the site is worth it.)
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Old 04-18-2021, 03:09 PM
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grubbat grubbat is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ga
Posts: 730
Default Wheel pants

Wheel pants will help keep the rocks and sticks from hitting under your wings. Over time, the fiberglass will work on the attaching hardware holes and then it would be a great time to remove the wheel pants and fiberglass in some reinforcements on the inside and redrill the holes. In the meantime, put that on the conditional inspection checklist and fly your RV with pants on. Checking the tire pressure, well, that’s another story....

RV-3 Sold
RV-4 Sold
RV-6a Sold
RV-9 Built and Flying
1965 Maule M4 Bushwacker project… till RV-15 shows up
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Old 04-18-2021, 03:17 PM is offline
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Battle Ground WA
Posts: 488

I don't feel that the 9 is any different than any other plane as to regards to pants on when landing on grass.
My plane lives on a pretty screwed up grass runway. Muddy in winter with a few dips, uphill RW 15 most of the way. Oh ya it's downhill the other way.
I'm flyin an RV-6A and go for it. Yes I get mud under the wings in the winter, But, Hey, I'm flyin not showing my plane. White planes don't look so good with all that mud, But it still fly's.
Just takes more gas to keep it moving.
My three cents worth Art

Last edited by : 05-09-2021 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 04-18-2021, 03:23 PM
tgmillso tgmillso is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 843

Sounds like the OP should really get some bigger tires. Definitely makes landing on grass runways a smoother affair. Easy to install as a retrofit if the original builder installed the original tires per plans.

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Old 04-18-2021, 08:45 PM
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Jpm757 Jpm757 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sherman, CT
Posts: 1,045

380X150 tires may be an option. You will however need to enlarge the wheel opening.
RV6 #20477 completed 1991 sold.
RV7 #72018 N767T first flight 11/21/2017
(KOXC)Oxford, CT, (0NY0)North Creek, NY.
1941 J3 Cub skis, floats.
Current Project Javron Super Cub
Thank You Doug!
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