Checking and inflating my airplane’s tire pressure was going to be a chore with the wheel pants, but I found a set of tools that helped make it easy.
My aircraft seems to track to the left and requires a lot of right rudder while taxiing — it basically never needs left rudder to maintain centerline regardless of the wind direction. So, three months into owning the aircraft I decided I needed to check the pressures in the tires. Of course, the wheel pants make that a bit of a challenge because access to the wheel stems is tight.
Tools and Parts
I didn’t want to remove the wheel pants every time I wanted to check and inflate the tires so this was I purchased:
Right angle valve extension – this extension just barely fit under the fairing and allowed me to attach my pressure gauge and pump without having to remove the wheel pants. Thank goodness! These are worth their weight in gold.
Tire pressure gauge – I had hoped the 45 degree angle this would allow me to check the pressure without the right angle valve extension, unfortunately that didn’t work and I had to attach the valve extension first. I was also looking for something accurate, didn’t require batteries, and that would hold the measurement. There is a small pressure release button on the side so you can get a pressure reading, remove the gauge from the tire, and then read the value.
Dual cylinder foot pump – this was somewhat of an expensive purchase for just a pump, but I had gone through enough pumps bending and breaking that I wanted to buy my last pump. This one has lasted for years for me across cars, boats, bikes, and now aircraft. The gauge also agrees with the above stand-alone gauge which is a nice verification.
Note that if you use the above links to buy from Amazon I’ll get a small commission.
The procedures of how to measure tire pressure and inflate a tire is pretty straightforward so this post is mostly about the tools. The last tip I’ll give is that it can be annoying to find the tire valve. I had to move the aircraft back bit by bit and then feel for the valve stem under the wheel fairing. What I’ll likely do is purchase a paint pen like this and make a mark on each wheel so that I can locate the valves more quickly.
I have a 1979 Grumman AA-5B Tiger and the pressures in the POH are 35 psi for the mains and 25 psi for the front. Consult your POH to verify what your airplane needs.