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Thread: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

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    Registered User Scarecrow56's Avatar
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    Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    So there's the question i've wanted to ask for a while. How does fabric do on a tie down in Florida? I'm still looking for a trainer to buy but I've also realized that I'm not gonna get a hanger. X59 has a wait list of 3 years right now. Wadda ya think. Thanks
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    I’d say all aircraft are susceptible to wind, hail, and sunlight damage. Secure tie downs, padded covers, and gust locks can help mitigate those threats. I’ve had hail damage to my fabric covered airplane. A padded cover would have likely prevented that damage.

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    If you have certified covering, it should survive, but will not thrive. Fabric planes use to not be hanared, but also covering was like changing oil, part of the expense. You just can’t cry about cracks in paint or hail bruises. There are some banner flying Cubs in Atlanta that are not hanared. Probably haven’t in 20 years. They fly them all over doing work.

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow56 View Post
    So there's the question i've wanted to ask for a while. How does fabric do on a tie down in Florida? I'm still looking for a trainer to buy but I've also realized that I'm not gonna get a hanger. X59 has a wait list of 3 years right now. Wadda ya think. Thanks
    Get on the waiting list for a hangar. Buy your airplane. Three years isn't going to kill a properly-done covering job, unless you get big hail. A cover of any kind will help preserve the covering the best, but is a pain to put on and take off in day-to-day operations, particularly in even a light breeze.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    At X59, an airplane tied down will age much faster than one in the Atlanta area. Annual UV radiation will be much more; some auto paints age very rapidly down here, especially blues, but also some reds. Your airplane will be subjected to a salty atmosphere any time that there is an on-shore wind.

    Covers are useful for UV protection, but won’t provide much protection from salt.


    BJC

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    At least steel tube and fabric can be stripped, blasted, and recovered whenever it is necessary, and you basically have a new airplane. A sheet metal airplane is not so easy to restore, and a lot of serious corrosion goes un-addressed until it hurts someone. So as long as you budget your time and money for a re-cover and thorough frame inspection every four or five years, the steel tube and fabric should be the better choice IMHO. But doing a pre-buy inspection on an inexpensive steel tube airplane... in Florida... is not something to be taken lightly. Your life is genuinely hanging in the balance.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    When I learned to fly in the '70's on the Gulf Coast there were 100's of fabric planes tied down outside.

    There was an aircraft dealer in my hometown that could roll a Tri-Pacer into the shop on Monday morning for recover and by Friday afternoon it was back out on the line ready to go.

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow56 View Post
    How does fabric do on a tie down in Florida? I'm still looking for a trainer to buy but I've also realized that I'm not gonna get a hanger. X59 has a wait list of 3 years right now.
    Not certain what you are looking at for a trainer but is it possible to use a folding wing airplane (Kolb, Kitfox, etc) and keep it in a trailer parked in a tie down spot? Something like ...




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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    Thanks all. As far as a trailer aircraft, I think you can do that over there but my budget is around 10K and not too many folding wings are gonna go for that.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow56 View Post
    Thanks all.
    My first Ercoupe stayed out in the rain - back in Portland, Oregon. Not much salt that far inland. Did recover the tops of the wings during my cartaking.
    Yeah, Florida is warmer. Now 30 miles due south of Tallahassee. Shade hangars were $65/month at Quincy.
    Percy

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    I kept my T-Craft outside for most of the time I flew it (5 years or so, back in the late 1980s). This was in the northeast. Back then nobody thought twice about it. I did have to replace the rusted lower rear longerons at one point, and the red paint on the top of the wing faded badly.

    But if your budget is around 10K, what are you talking about? Sounds like an ultralight. Most here are talking about painted fabric... if you're talking about UL style sailcloth and tubes, outdoor storage is a bad idea regardless of where you are. But you can sometimes get Kolbs for around that, and Kitfoxes/Avids in the teens, all of which fold. I kept my Kolb Ultrastar in an enclosed trailer on an outdoor tiedown spot for several years.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    +1 on an ultralight-ish airplane that folds for your budget. If you are budget-limited in the purchase, chances are you are budget limited in the maintenance, which means an outdoor airplane (T-craft, Chief, etc.) is not always going to get the care it needs. Your investment may turn into a rust bucket.

    A trailer-able airplane, or one that folds small enough to share a hangar, is going to be your best bet.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson View Post
    When I learned to fly in the '70's on the Gulf Coast there were 100's of fabric planes tied down outside.

    There was an aircraft dealer in my hometown that could roll a Tri-Pacer into the shop on Monday morning for recover and by Friday afternoon it was back out on the line ready to go.
    Yeah, when I learned to fly in Alaska, nobody had a private hangar. There must be a thousand 60-70 year old airplanes parked at tiedowns at Merrill field in Anchorage. Fabric can last 25 years outside if coated. But cheap enough to redo every 10 years if you like fresh paint. Fabric can be cheap if labor is free on a Homebuilt. Cost is more if certified.

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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    I have seen a few airplanes around my budget. Challenger II for one. Piper Colt for another. 2 different animals I know but just spitballing right now.
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    Re: Tube and Fabric on a tie down?

    The short wing Pipers are really good airplanes with a devoted following. But they are particularly susceptible to corrosion in the lower longerons and door post. If you find one in Florida that has been sitting outside for any length of time, you're playing Russian Roulette if you buy it (or fly it) without a significant investigation first.

    On balance, the Colt, Caribbean, and all the other "flying milkstool" shortwings are a really good bang for the buck when they're in airworthy condittion. They perform well, all the parts are available, and there is a large community of help. They're all fairly easy to use as trainers, the insurance is very reasonable, and there are a lot of performance upgrades, "hop-ups", and customization options that turn them into hotrods:

    VG's, larger tires, and STOL wingtips will turn them into good back country sport bushplanes.
    Fairings, aerodynamic cleanup, and reducing the wing twist will speed them up a little into reasonable little XC cruisers.
    There are a couple of tailwheel conversions that make them into fairly capable little sportscars.
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