Twin Commander Aircraft has engineered a solution to the problem of damage from nosewheel FOD (Foreign Object Debris or Damage) — a nosewheel fairing.
Twin Commander’s predecessor company had developed a nosewheel fairing intended to deflect debris, but the design caused significant drag, which forced pilots to use lower airspeeds and angles of attack when the nosewheel was extended.
Twin Commander Aircraft used a supercomputer to apply computational fluid dynamics to identify sources of the drag, and to test more advanced, lower-drag solutions. The result is the new Custom Kit (CK) 199 Belly Skin Protection System.
The heart of the system is a small, louvered fender positioned immediately aft of the nosewheel that deflects debris picked up on the takeoff and/or landing roll, preventing it from striking and possibly damaging the fuselage belly skin.
The new design was tested on a Commander in September 2016. Ground taxi and flight tests were performed to confirm its effectiveness while ensuring the kit does not contribute to nosewheel shimmy or nosewheel extension or retraction problems, company officials said.
The louvers allow air to pass through the fairing, resulting in less than half the drag of the previous design while significantly reducing the potential for FOD, officials add.
CK199, which also includes mounting braces and installation instructions, does not interfere with the use of a tow bar or most powered tugs. CK199 is applicable to all Twin Commander piston and turboprop models.
CK199 is expected to be available in late April at factory authorized Twin Commander Service Centers.