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Fabric Life?

Posted By:
Paul Geba
4
Posts
0
#1 Posted: 5/26/2010 13:13:27

I'm curious as to what would be a reasonable life expectancy of a modern fabric covering when hangar space is not an option?



Rodger Petersen
5
Posts
0
#2 Posted: 5/30/2010 10:34:15

If a dacron cover is protected from sunlight it has a very very long lifespan. I would be much more concerned about what is under the cover.  The advantage of rag & tube over spam can is that we open 'em up every 10-20 years to see whats going on and get everything all spiffed up.  That being said, work on getting a hangar for any kind of plane.



Thomas Downey
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
31
Posts
0
#3 Posted: 7/24/2010 23:19:11

Some facts on fabric.

there is no failure criteria for ceconite, the punch test using the Maule tester is for cotton systems.

There are 3 basic fabric systems, dope over cotton, dope over ceconite, and ura system over ceconite.

Purest use dope over cotton.

The old ceconite manual uses dope on ceconite.

the newest of the bunch is a ura system, on ceconite.

there are three major suppliers for the ura systems, Polyfiber, Stewarts, and Airtech.

Dope and Polyfiber use a reflective coating to stop UV light from entering the coatings and attack the fabric.

Airtech is the fire proof system used by many agcroppers.and the Stewarts use a UV blocker formulated into the system in both the top coat and base coat, these systems do not need a silver or aluminum reflective coating to stop UV light.

All that said, the life of any system is based upon how well it was applied, and how well it was cared for in service.

To answer your question the life of a well applied and cared for ura system, is expected to exceed 50 years.

Tom D. http://www.whidbey.com/fairchild-nc19143/



Republican / Democrat, same stink, different pile.
Paul Geba
4
Posts
0
#4 Posted: 7/25/2010 04:43:24

Thanks much!  Exactly the type of info I was looking for.

Great looking Fairchild you have there!  I enjoyed reading about it.



Thomas Downey
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
31
Posts
0
#5 Posted: 7/26/2010 16:20:07
Paul Geba wrote:

 

Thanks much!  Exactly the type of info I was looking for.

Great looking Fairchild you have there!  I enjoyed reading about it.

Thanks, it is for sale. it is airtech system on ceconite 102.



Republican / Democrat, same stink, different pile.
John Johnson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
14
Posts
2
#6 Posted: 8/20/2010 00:29:46

I would say that it would actually be somewhat better than an aluminum airplane under the same storage conditions.

I have been playing with these aircraft since before the Ceconite process was approved.   Either Ceconite Process or the Polyfiber Process ( formerly Stit's ) when properly applied exactly according to the manual will last longer than the airframe underneath the fabric.  That has been my experience.  Cotton or Linen with a proper dope finish with enough aluminum pigment in there to stop the UV would last up to about 25 years.  I have seen it go bad in much less under adverse conditions or with poor application or maintenance.   After all, this business of keeping airplanes inside hangars is relatively recent.  Most of the vintage aircraft you see today spent thirty or forty years tied down on a ramp somewhere outside.

That being said, you can expect to spend a bit more time and effort on maintenance on an airplane that is parked outside.  Any airplane.  If you do that, there is no reason it shouldn't last a reasonable time, like my lifetime!

I have never seen a ceconite job where the fabric failed.  It retained strength well above the limits for aircraft fabric.  However, I have seen many fabric covered airplanes where the finish failed.  Usually this failure was a direct result of inappropriate materials used, or failure to properly follow the application procedure carefully.  For example, the first coats of finish on any polyester fabric are brushed on.  If you spray them on they will most likely part company with the fabric after a few years.  I have seen covering jobs where I could catch a fingernail in a crack in the dope and peel a several square foot sheet of dope right off the fabric, leaving the fabric bare as if it had never been finished!

Just do it right and don't worry about it.  It will hold up just fine.