Installing the sheet metal fairings on the gear legs is one of the tasks on a Stearman that can really test one’s patience. I start out by setting the fairing near the gear and then looking for anything else that needs doing around the hangar. The trick is to not make eye contact with the fairing as you sweep the floor, clean the workbench, and so on.
However, having just completed such an installation with a new fairing installation aid, the whole process may well be tamed for good.
First of all, I will assume that you have installed floating nut plates wherever a nutplate is required on the fairing. If you haven’t, you may well be beyond hope in this endeavor.
The new discovery that I’m sure many of you know about, but I didn’t, is the Pony #1215 Band Clamp. It can be found at many well stocked hardware stores. They are about $15 and two of them make the job even easier.
The band clamp comes with a 15 ft strap which may well end up leaving you hog tied to the gear, so I suggest that you cut it down to about five feet and seal the ends with a match so that they don’t unravel.
Put the fairing in position, wrap the strap around the fairing about one third of the distance from the top, and thread it through the clamp. If you use two clamps, put one near the top of the fairing and the other one near the bottom. Pull it up fairly tight by hand while positioning the fairing. Now with the little wrench provided with the clamp, you can ratchet the strap as tight as you need and pull the fairing into position where the screw holes line up. Move the strap up and down the gear leg as needed to pull the holes into position.
A piece of protective cloth or light cardboard under the clamp will protect the paint. However, I didn’t use any protection, and the clamp did not mar the paint.
When you want to move the strap clamp up or down, there is a lever that releases the clamp as slick as can be.
I now have one of these clamps permanently in my special Stearman tools drawer.
Pony Band Clamp being ratcheted up tight with the wrench