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How to: Install Retractable Landing Gear

Setting adult a rigging doors on a P-51 for a initial time isn’t that formidable presumption we are given some belligerent rules. I’ve been building for many years, though never set one adult with a scale facilities as on a CARF P-51. The P-51 has outdoor doors trustworthy to a redress struts and center rigging doors that clear open/closed in a process with a retracts. Of course, a special redress atmosphere valve (Ultra Precision 2) is indispensable to control all this movement (installation should be identical regulating electric redress complement as well). All these functions handling together can be utterly intimidating to consider about a initial time we are going to take it on. we felt a same approach as usually described when we bought a CARF P-51, and this was a partial we was slightest meddlesome in building up. Lucky for me, a associate RC Club member, Jack H, loaned me his CARF P-51 wing-half for me to demeanour over and use as a work guide. He also had some simple difference for a scold designation of a outdoor doors that we somehow unsuccessful to put into use a initial time thru. Only after Jack looked during my work did he tell me we unsuccessful to listen to his instructions! Well, we was blissful to hear what we did wrong, and got it right a second time around.

Here is a simple order Jack gave me that we contingency get scold for a outdoor doorway hinge: “You MUST get a outdoor doorway hinge (pin) aligned EXACTLY together AND in a SAME craft as a pivot pin of a retract! ”

Failing to do this will meant we will get a tighten fit of a outdoor door, though it will never be EXACTLY right! By this we meant a other finish of a doorway will be off by some tiny margin, one instruction or a other. Try as we will, it won’t go up/down with a redress as it should unless we get that hinge down correctly.

Jack felt it required to desert a CARF process of installing a outdoor doors and used some of his possess ideas instead. After looking during a bureau setup, we was in agreement with Jack and followed his lead. He used a tiny hinge from a hardware store that finished a whole outdoor doorway hinging a lot easier. The initial photos subsequent report how a tiny coronet hinge is set in place opposite a bottom of a retract.

Longer shot of a outdoor doorway hinge in place opposite a strut base, so together and in same plane, by default.

Tight shot of a outdoor doorway hinge during rough assembly. By butting a coronet hinge adult to a bottom of a retract, we can be positive of being together and in same craft as a pivot pin for a retract. The smaller plywood retard underneath a hinge is a tallness composition for a doorway to be turn with a bottom of a wing. The incomparable plywood cranky retard serves as a mountain for a hinge as there is zero there to start with. Also note a plywood “wedge” underneath a top half of a hinge to equivalent a doorway with a slope of a wing toward a heading edge. Note a far-reaching cutout around a redress base. This area is sealed off with lithoplate piece later.

Above dual images: View of a crowd construction to equivalent a doorway to a slope of a wing during a heading edge. Piece is embellished off after installing.

To reinstate a cut-out combination tools and still assent access, skinny lithoplate piece is used and hold in place with tiny piece steel screws. Then painted. A tiny apportionment of a cut-out combination wing was re-glued during a heading edge.


In a center of a door, we contingency supplement a turnbuckle insert joint to lift a outdoor doorway up/down with a retract. we finished this out of some steel piece steel from a throw box. Don’t use aluminum or coronet – too weak. It is sincerely apparent where it mounts, though we will expected have some hearing and blunder removing it positioned rightly – hinge contingency be commissioned first.


This is Sierra rigging finished generally for a CARF P-51 that is really scale in appearance. The turnbuckles are on a strut collar and they attach to a outdoor rigging doorway to make it follow a strut as it extends and retracts. The outdoor doorway needs some plywood to insert a steel bracket to as a combination doorway is too skinny to support any screws. Fine tuning this set of turnbuckles is finished after doorway is in place. It should be sincerely tighten to a ideal fit or we are off during some indicate in your hinge install.

When scrupulously setup, a collar holding a turnbuckles should be retard to a doorway as shown here. If we are forced to askance it around to make a doorway fit a opening when a rigging is retracted, afterwards your hinge is expected commissioned wrong.

Here’s how a outdoor doorway should demeanour in retracted position, after a doorway is scrupulously hinged. Lithoplate around rigging bottom is embellished to compare a wing color.


Next to plead is a center rigging doorway infrequently called a clamshell door. This doorway opens AND closes on any rigging cycle so it gets a lot of use. It contingency be commissioned with positively no binding. On a CARF P-51, a hinge is bureau installed. However, on mine, a hinge on one wing-half was misshapen during a bureau and we had to take it detached and reglue to make it correct. The atmosphere cylinder has to be commissioned inside a circle good to open/close a doorway on any cycle. It contingency be mounted/epoxied firmly during a bottom as good as on a doorway itself. There are dual places to mountain a cylinder – on possibly side of a tire. we chose to mountain a cylinder during a heading corner of a doorway to put as many vigour on a doorway during a brazen edge. This is where a atmosphere vigour will try hardest to lift it open when closed. But keep in mind, a scale plcae is to a abaft of a tire.



Here’s how a outdoor doorway should demeanour in retracted position, after a doorway is scrupulously hinged. Lithoplate around rigging bottom is embellished to compare a wing color.

A parsimonious shot of a center doorway display small room to implement a atmosphere cylinder.

Gauging a chain of a atmosphere cylinder. Trial and blunder here. The prolonged hardwood retard is to widespread a bucket over some-more area on a wing skin. There is usually so many transport a cylinder will give, so, we contingency play with a fitment to get a many opening and still tighten a doorway completely. Not a 5 notation task. Placement of a control horn is critical as well. This is a Ultra Precision 5/8” by 1.5” cylinder with 4-40 shaft. Color coded atmosphere lines are by Dream Works.

Here is a P-51 on a gear, though still in need of a paint scheme. Of course, a center doors sojourn sealed if atmosphere vigour is present, regulating a Ultra Precision 2 air control valve. But, between flights, it looks cold to drain a atmosphere off a tank and dump them down as on a full-scale P-51 when parked. Once we have finished a scale doors successfully, you won’t have nearby a difficulty a subsequent time out. There is a training bend for sure, though a same beliefs request to installing a center and outdoor rigging doors on many warbirds.


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