Wire Hanger Landing gear

by dharkless | February 12, 2014 | (11) Posted in Tips

Hell everyone,

This article describes how I have been making sturdy tricycle landing gear from a wire hanger.  

The complete set is made from one hanger.  The front gear is made from the hook end and the rear is from the remaining part. This makes a realy sturdy front gear that uses two wires instead of one.  It also has a fairly soft shock absorbing effect.  The back is pretty much what is described in the FT plans and kits.  It is probably lighter and softer wire so you can expect to have to reshape it fairly often.

Here is what I do:

First I measure 6" from the bent portion of the wire just below the hook.

Then straighten all the bent parts.  Work slowly and straighten anything you can tell which way it needs to bend.  It helps to spin the wire between your fingers to see where it is not straight.  Think small amounts and move often.  You should end up with:

Then bend the two legs of the "Y"till they are about 4" apart at the ends:

Then measure 3" from the center odf the "Y" and make two 90 degree bends up and toward the center so the two pieces end up crossing at about 2/3 of the remaining length, like so:

Measure 2" along each side and make a second bend back toward the last bend, like so;




Twist and shape till the last two pieces are close together and paraellel and that whole end will lay flat on the table.  The spread at the first two bends should be 2".

Make the bottom bends, first two 45 degree then one 90 degree to suit your wheel size:



Find the center of the long straight piece and make a sharp bend as shown:


Measure 2" from the centerbend and make two 90 egree bends angling up and out at about 45 degrees: 


Measure 6" (longer or shorter to suit your model) along each of the two the remaining parts and make a 45 degree bend straight away freom the opposite side.  If you look down thre line the last two pieces should be in line.  Twist and bend to fine tune. 

Measure and cut the last two pieces to 1 1/2".

It should end up looking like this:

Everything should be able to lay flat on the table and look uniuform.



I am now using heat shrink to make the hanger twist look less like a hanger:


Then just make and add your wheels using store bought or the FT method.  I use a bottle cap the right size and trace it.  Then I make a bunch of tangent cuts about every 3 or 4 degrees just taking the line off till i get all the way around.  Then knock off the small corners with a sanding block.  Find the center and punch it with a skewer.  You can use coffee stirs for axels.  You can use hot glue for the stops.  Wheels can be two or three layers as needed or preferred.  Trim the axels to length after the wheels are in palce.

Use the standard landing gear method shown for the swappable core but do one set of dowels on either end.  

When mounting the front gear just put one band under the back end for a softer shock effect, two if you want stiffer.



The main gear installed below is not in the right position.  It should be just far enough behind the CG to create ground stability, perhaps 1" to 1 1/2" behind CG or close to the center of the wing at MAC .  This location would not allow for rotation.  The elevons would just push the wheels into the ground and not raise the leading edge.  The trailing edge has to be able to rotate down and the leading edge up with the main gear being the pivot point.  Good luck with that if the wheels are directly below the elevens!  

Notice how the front gear is bent forward.

That is how I do mine...


Someone asked "Are they movable?"

Well, take a look at this proof of concept:


I put this together pretty quickly and there are some details to work out, such as tricycle gear.  However, the answer is "Yes. They are movable"

I will submit a separate article with the refinements and details. Look for "Wire Hanger Retracts" in the near future.


Tactical Ex on February 13, 2014
This is very cool. What a nice quick and simple landing gear! I built some clunky steerable nose gear that I have been reusing but for test builds it would be nice to use what you showed here. Marker flags are a bit more rigid and might bend less than hanger wire, I'm hoping the bends you did here are still possible for that.
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dharkless on February 15, 2014
Marker flag wire is thinner and more flexible (springy). It is hard to bend because of high tensile strength but still too flexible to hold up under the weight for landings.
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frogs84ss on February 12, 2014
very simple. nice job.
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Holski77 on February 12, 2014
Thank you!
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mcwalkman on February 12, 2014
Thank you very much! I messed up the one that came with my kit and I was not ready to buy bulk wire to have extras.
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dharkless on February 12, 2014
Just be aware that t his will probably not be as stiff or as durable as the kit material. That is probably music wire and has a higher temper. The hanger wire is softer and will need reshaped now and then. It will bend more than flex on hard landings
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alibopo on February 13, 2014
Valid point! But there could also be advantages for this exact reason - shock absorbing and crumpling just like car bodywork is supposed to do. Might actually save on damage to your airframe?
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NoUsername on February 12, 2014
Now if you can just make it moveable!

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dharkless on February 13, 2014
It is "movable". You can move it from plane to plane with the swappable core.

Now, retractable coat hanger gear? That is a concept!
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Tactical Ex on February 14, 2014
If your taking requests, make them steerable too!
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dharkless on February 14, 2014
I think I can do one or the other. Not sure about both... but I will think on it.
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dharkless on February 13, 2014
Check out the update.
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NoUsername on February 13, 2014
You gotta love this!
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Wire Hanger Landing gear