Perhaps the stage was set far earlier, when builder and race pilot Steve Wittman decided that a steel leaf spring, similar to those in the rear suspensions of cars, would make a satisfactory landing gear. Even without a fairing the thin steel leg, though heavy, produces relatively little drag — a faired tubular one even less. That leaves the exposed tire. A good pant, fully enclosing the brakes and making a clean intersection with a thin gear leg, does away with at least half of a wheel and tire's drag, provided that most of the tire is inside it. Manufacturers leave more of the tire in the airstream than homebuilders, who are willing to patch their pants if they taxi over a rock.