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Old 02-16-2020, 04:10 PM
greg gfeller greg gfeller is offline
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Post Falls, Idaho KCOE
Posts: 12
Default Make sure to check your tire pressure!

I feel the need to tell this story so others don't have to.
First of all a little context. I had been laid up with ankle surgery and had not flown for the past 3 months. My goal after being released to full weight bearing was to get my 12 back in the air before my condition inspection which expired February 1st and charge the Dynon back up battery so I could do the annual battery test. Excited to finally get back in the air on a clear cold January day I preflighted the plane, glanced at the tires (which always look low under the wheel pants and went flying). After getting the backup battery charged I returned to the airport and landed. Upon landing I noticed the plane decelerated faster than normal and taxied off the runway. While taxiing down the taxi way my plane made several 360 degree turns around my left main landing gear. I thought it was my brakes but instead it was my completely flat left main tire and I was grinding up and cracking my wheel pant. Laying on a cold frozen taxiway trying to remove my wheel pant was a total pain, but finally got it removed. Since I didn't have any appropriate way to jack up the wheel and was blocking the taxiway I was lucky the airport staff was able to assist me lifting the wing by the handhold on the end of the wing while I shoved a dolly underneath the flat wheel. Wasn't at all keen on how we lifted the airplane but all went well and towed the airplane back to the hangar. Turns out I spun the tube. So after a new tube, some fiberglass repair and color matched paint I am back in the air. It would have so much easier to lay on the cold hangar floor and check tire pressure before the flight!
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:30 AM
snopercod's Avatar
snopercod snopercod is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,122

I guess I'm anal because I check my tire pressure at least once per month.
(2020 dues paid)
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:21 AM
Dave12 Dave12 is online now
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Elkton, Md.
Posts: 1,745

Originally Posted by snopercod View Post
I guess I'm anal because I check my tire pressure at least once per month.
Not anal at all. Aircraft tubes leak. I check mine every month right after I pay my hangar rent. They always need a shot.
Wag Aero Sport Trainer built,sold and wrecked
N588DF RV12 #336 built, sold and alive and well in New York
N73DF RV12 #244 built, sold and alive and well in Florida
N91 RV RV9 I wish I could say I built this one! Mark Santoleri hit the ball out of the park on this gem.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:48 PM
Crafting N112DR's Avatar
Crafting N112DR Crafting N112DR is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Powell, OH
Posts: 300
Default Not as much as me

I would be checking before first flight of the day. But that's just how I role. Another reason why I'm not doing wheel pants.
David Rohrlick
N112DR (RV-12iS) (SOLD)
Airworthiness signed off by the FAA 1/23/2020
First Flight on 3/14/2020
Phase I Finished on 5/7/2020
VAF donation made for 2021
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:23 PM
RFSchaller RFSchaller is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,161

I took my wheel pants off after I saw a 12 with a flat tire and realized what would happen to the pants. I also got tired of the hassle of removing the front half to add air. I was never able to make all those suggestions about working through small inspection ports work when adding air. Now it?s a no-never-mind to add air.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:07 PM
Handclutch Handclutch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Bendigo, Australia
Posts: 135

What happened to speed when you removed the pants? I?ve never flown without them but have read they are worth 4-5 kts. Not sure I could make that sacrifice!

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Old 02-17-2020, 03:26 PM
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Gagarin737 Gagarin737 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 672

I also took my wheelpants off this winter after a flat tire. I don't see any or hardly any speed change the way I use the plane. The only thing is the mud on the wings and tail when flying to grass fields without wheel pants (and it looks a bit ugly without)

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Old 02-17-2020, 06:07 PM
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Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 683
Default Truck tire valve extension

Like Greg, I also have experienced a flat tire (mine was very apparent as I was lining up to take off). However in my case I closed the runway because the RV wasn?t moving forward with power - just wanting to turn left. Also damaged my wheel pant which wasn?t easy to repair.

Following this incident I drilled 1 inch holes in my main wheel pants and marked my tires where the valve stem protruded through the wheel. I then went to a truck stop and bought a six inch valve extender that I screw on to take tire pressures. It?s now a ten minute job to check main tire air pressures. The nose wheel tire takes another 15 - 20 minutes because I still have to remove its wheel pant.

I check pressures every three months unless there?s been a major temperature change. Major temperature drops usually see me checking more often.
Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Dual GRT Horizon EX with ARINC, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level & auto-trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to EX, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
Retired - Living the dream - going broke!
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:50 PM
RFSchaller RFSchaller is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,161

I probably lost a knot or two, but honestly I didn?t notice any speed change.
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:42 AM
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dbhill916 dbhill916 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Westerville, OH
Posts: 171
Default keep your pants on

I made a wooden "go/no-go" gauge for my planes.
  • Take the pants off
  • lower the pressure to the minimum that you will tolerate flying.
  • Put the pants back on.
  • Take a scrap of wood and make a notch on one side.
  • File the notch until it just barely passes under the wheel pant.
  • Repeat with a different notch (if needed) for nose wheel.
  • Remove pants
  • Re-inflate to desired max pressure
  • Re-install pants.

Preflight check now consists of putting the gauge against the tire. If the wheel pant prevents you from doing so, you are too low to go.

(Ignore the notch below the Mains side of the RV-12 tool).
David B. Hill
RV-12 #0760
Dues paid through 6-2022
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