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AIRCRAFT FABRIC COVERING, &

FINISHING MATERIAL
AFC-2

COURSE OBJECTIVE
By the end of this course you will be able to describe
Common types of fabric used & their characteristics
Common types of chords, tapes & threads used for
attaching fabric to aircraft structure
Different chemicals used with fabric covering
Different method of securing a fabric to an aircraft
structure
Various defects associated with fabric & means of
eliminating them

CONTENT
Introduction
Types of aircraft fabric
Basis for aircraft fabric re-covering
Aircraft fabric testing
Aircraft fabric covering preparation
Installing aircraft fabric
Finishing aircraft fabric covering

REFERENCES
Aircraft Maintenance Technician Series
Volume 1 Structures
Chapter 3 Non-Metallic Structure
AC65-9A Airframe Handbook
Chapter 3 Fabric Covering

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION
Historical Background
Most popular few years back
Currently replaced by all metal construction
But still found on special purpose aircraft
Agricultural aircraft
Amateur built aircraft
Newly introduced light sport aircraft (LSA)
Antique/old aircraft that need restoration

INTRODUCTION CONTD
Definition
Fabric
Covering cloth/textile made from interwoven fibers
after undergoing thru careful manufacturing process
Fibers/yarns
Small fine filaments made from various materials and
used to make threads.
Cotton, linen, glass, cellulose or polyester

INTRODUCTION CONTD

Fabric Terms
Warp

Direction along length of fabric (Threads running


lengthwise are termed the warp)
Filling, Woof or Weft:
Direction across length of fabric ( Threads running
crosswise are termed the weft or woof or fill in the
United States).
Count (Thread count):
Number of threads per inch

INTRODUCTION CONTD
Fabric Terms cont.
Ply/layer/thickness
Number of yarns/fibers making up thread
Bias
Cut, fold, or seam made diagonally (45 degree) to
the warp/fill thread
Calendering
Process of ironing fabric by threading the fabric
between serious cold and hot rollers to produce
smooth finish

INTRODUCTION CONTD
Fabric Terms cont.
Mercerization
Dipping yarn/fabric in a hot solution of caustic soda
to shrink fabric & acquire great strength &
luster/shine.
Is a chemical process which increases the tensile
strength of the fibre and its absorption characteristics
Sizing
Material/lubrication such as starch used to stiffen
yarns for ease in weaving/interlacing

INTRODUCTION CONTD
Fabric Terms cont.
Pinked edge
Edge cut by machine or shears in a continuous series
of V to prevent raveling/knotting or twisting
Selvage edge
The edge of the cloth woven to prevent raveling

Bleaching
Chemical process used to whiten cotton fabric

Contd
Greige condition of polyester fabric upon
completion of the production process before
being heat shrunk.
Cross coatbrushing or spraying where the
second coat is applied 90 to the direction the
first coat was applied. The two coats together
make a single cross coat.

INTRODUCTION CONTD
Fabric Terms contd

TYPES OF FABRIC

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC


There are basically two FAA approved fabric types
Organic Fabrics
Inorganic/Synthetic Fabrics

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Organic Fabric is made from plant material
Cotton and Linen are popular natural fabric
Grade A cotton - standard for many years.
Weight 4.5 ounce per square yard
1ounce = 28.35gram, & 1yard = 0.91meters
Thread count - 80-84 threads per inch (tpi) in wrap &
fill direction
Minimum tensile strength
80psi of width in both warp & fill direction

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Organic Fabric Cont.
Tensile Strength
Customary determinant for the strength of fabric
Amount of pull needed to break strips of fabric
one inch wide both in wrap and fill direction
Expressed in pounds per square inch or psi

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Grade A Cotton
Manufactured under Technical Standard Order TSO-C15
Meets Aeronautical Material Specification AMS 3806
Meets Military Specification MIL-C-5646
Approved for use on aircraft having:
Never exceed speed (VNE) in excess of 160 mph
Wing loading greater than 9 psf.

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


VNE Never Exceed Speed
Max speed aircraft is allowed to attain in any condition
of flight
Wing Loading
Ratio of max. allowable gross wt. to wing planform area
in square feet
Selection of aircraft fabric and related hardware is
determined by:
VNE and Wing loading

DISADVANTAGES OF ORGANIC FABRIC


Being organic, both cotton and linen fabrics have a
tendency to absorb moisture and are prone to damage
from fungal attack such as mildew/decay and rot.
They are a tempting food source for insects and vermin
and they also deteriorate when exposed to ultra-violet
radiation.
They are flammable and combustion is accelerated by
certain types of dope.
It is, therefore, vital that protective finishes such as dope
and paint are kept in good condition and the aircraft is
stored in a safe and suitable environment.

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Inorganic/Synthetic Fabrics
Require chemical processing to create the fiber.
Advantages:
Resist
Deterioration by ultraviolet rays and
Attack by microorganisms
Disadvantages:
Require care for proper bonding.
Two types used to cover an FAA certificated aircraft
Polyester fiber fabrics
Glass fiber fabrics

POLYSTER FABRIC
Polyester fabric is a durable man made polymer (synthetic
fiber) which is resistant to moisture, acids, alkalis, fuel and oils.
It is susceptible to deterioration when exposed to ultraviolet
radiation for a long time and must therefore be completely
covered by protective coatings in service.
The material is produced by polymerization of selected
hydrocarbon materials, extruded in its molten state to form
filaments.
The filaments are then heat stretched to the desired denier
(or diameter) of fibre prior to weaving.

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Polyester Fibers cont.
Polyester fabric, come under trade name
Dacron, Fortrel, and Kodel
Dacron is a commonly used polyester fabric
Weight 3.7oz/square yard
Tensile strength = 148 psi
Polyester fibers/fillaments come under trade name
Ceconite, Superflite and Poly-Fiber

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Polyester Fibers cont.
Polyester fabric is currently most widely used covering
material
Advantage over linen and cotton
Lower cost
Additional strength
Weight saving
Increased service life

TYPES OF AIRCRAFT FABRIC CONTD


Glass Fibers
Glass Fibre is produced as a monofilament and its
fabrics are generally stronger than cotton or polyester.
Made from fine spun/twisted/rotated glass filaments
woven into a cloth.
Glass fibre fabric has a loose weave of glass filament
which makes it more difficult to dope.

Contd
Advantage
Not affected by moisture, mildew/fungus/decay/rot,
chemical & acids and fire resistant
Disadvantage
Adds significant weight compared to linen, & cotton

BASIS FOR AIRCRAFT FABRIC RECOVERING

BASIS FOR AIRCRAFT FABRIC RECOVERING

Recovering Need

Re-covering is expensive & time consuming


Do not undertake till definitely necessary
Required only when original fabric covers deteriorate to
70% of its strength
What does this mean?

BASIS AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


CONTD
Example 1
New Grade A cotton has tensile strength 80psi
Used on aircraft with
VNE > 160mph
Wing loading > 9psf
Allowed to deteriorate to tensile strength of 56psi
Below 56 psi requires replacement/re-covering

BASIS AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


CONTD
Example 2
If aircraft VNE < 160mps and
Wing loading < 9psf
Intermediate fabrics could be used
New strength 65 psi
Allowed to deteriorate to 46psi

NOTE: Dried & cracked dopes dont need fabric


replacement

A/C DOPE
Dope is primarily used to protect the fabric covering of an
aircraft from damage by environmental factors such as
moisture, sunlight and pollution.
It also prevents the passage of air through the fabric and
reduces friction, which improves the efficiency of the airframe.
Certain dopes have the property that they shrink when drying
and tighten the fabric (used to tauten).
Most dopes can be used to stick/attach fabric patches onto the
covering for repairs and access holes and, sometimes, the
fabric to stick to the structure.

BASIS AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


CONTD
Dried and cracked dopes occur when

Plasticizers dried out and dope becomes brittle


Plasticizer give a dope flexibility & resilience
If fabric is still good, finish can be rejuvenated
If fabric is good and the dope is cracked, it may be
treated with rejuvenator, a mixture of very potent
solvents and plasticizers, to restore its resilience.
Rejuvenation restores condition of dope coating
It does nothing to improve strength of fabric
Question: How do we determine strength of fabric?

FABRICS, TAPES, SEWING THREADS AND


CORDS

Materials used to attach fabric to the a/c


structure

FABRICS
Inorganic Commercial Names:
Polyester Fabrics

. DACRON Base
Fiberglass
Extremely resistant to
deterioration from heat
and chemicals

SURFACE TAPE
Doped over each seam or rib to cover the stitching.
Provides a smooth appearance.
Can be:
Serrated/ragged or Pinked
Straight edge impregnated with a compound
For better adhesion and to prevent
raveling/twisting
Same material as the original fabric
Should be placed over all lacings, seams, corners, edges
and places where wear is expected.
Applied after the second wet coat of dope

SURFACE TAPE

SURFACE TAPE CONT


Specification
MIL-T-5083
Size
2 in. for use over seams, edges, corners and
lacings/fastenings.
3 in. for application over the trailing edges of airfoils.

REINFORCING TAPE

Much larger Warp thread than Fill Thread

Used over ribs between the fabric and lacing chord.


To prevent lacing cord from cutting through the fabric
Use: - Inter rib bracing (under fabric cover) & Over fabric on
ribs
Size: - Must be slightly larger than the member it covers
Material :- Cotton, Linen, Fiberglass, Dacron
Strength :- 150lbs/half inch
Specification:- MIL-T-5661

ANTI TEAR STRIPS


If VNE is > 250 MPH
Bonded to fabric with dope
Same material as the covering
Under reinforcing tape on entire top of the wing
From trailing edge around to behind spar
Under slipstream components on bottom of wing
From trailing edge around leading edge and back to
trailing edge

SEWING THREADS AND CORDS


Used to join two fabric edges together during installation.
Cords are used when significant strength is required.
Attaching a fabric covering to wing or fuselage.
Types
Machine thread (5lb/strand)
Hand sewing thread (14lb/strand)
Lacing/fastening chord
Tensile strength, weight & specification varies with type
threads

LACING CORD
Tensile Strength
Must be strong enough to transmit the force on the
upper surface of the wing
40 lb for single or 80 lb. for double
Should be waxed before use to lubricate it.
Can be done by hand
Specification
MIL-C -5649, MIL-C -5648, MIL-T -6779, MIL-T-5660

SPECIAL FASTENERS
Original fastening device must be duplicated.
Wire clips
Self tapping screws
At least two threads of the screw must extend
beyond the rib cap strip
A washer should be used under the head of the
screw
A pinked edge tape should be doped over the head of
the screw.

SEAMS/JOINTS
A series of stitches used to join two or more pieces of
material.
Characteristics
Strength
Must have sufficient strength to carry the stresses to
which it will be subjected.
Elasticity
Durability
Tightly woven stitches are more durable.
Appearance

SEAM-TYPES
1. Sewed seams
Machine sewed seams
Hand sewed seams
- To close final openings
- A inch hem/edge should be turned under all
seams
- Should be locked at 6 intervals.
2. Doped seams

46

MACHINE SEWED SEAMS


Types of machine sewed seams
Folded fell
French fell
Modified Folded fell
Plain overlap
For selvage and pinked edges
Should have two rows of stitches with 8 to 10 stitches per
inch.
Distance from the edge: - 1/16 in.
Distance between stitches :- -3/8
47

SEAMS CONT.

48

SEAMS CONTD
FAA approved machine seams

SURFACE TAPE APPLICATION


For double stitched lap joint
Pinked edge surface tape 4 wide
For span wise seam
Pinked edge surface tape 3 wide
For span wise seams on trailing edge
Pinked edge surface tape notched 1deep and 1wide.
For lapped and doped span wise seams
Lap 4 and cover with surface tape 4 wide for metal or
wood covered leading edge and 3 wide for trailing edge.

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING


Question: How do we determine the strength of a fabric?
FABRIC TESTING
Required on 100hr or annual inspection program
Two commonly used methods
Manual Test
Seyboth Test

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING CONTD


Manual Test
Precession spring loaded instrument
With blunt pin on its end and
Scale calibrated in pounds per inch
Hold test squarely against the fabric
Press until scale reads min strength
If test penetrates fabric strength below min.
If only small depression fabric good

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING CONTD


Seyboth Test
Specially shaped spring loaded sharp point with
indicator pin marked with green, yellow and red colored
bands

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING CONTD


Seyboth Test Cont.
Hold straight against fabric & press till fabric is
penetrated & shoulder rests on fabric
Red band shows Weak fabric
Yellow band marginal strength
Green band airworthy fabric
Place small circular patch on hole

AIRCRAFT FABRIC TESTING CONTD


Fabric Testing cont.
Both tests performed on fabric covered by a dope
Adequate to identify good fabric but dont show actual
strength of un-doped fabric
If fabric strength is marginal - further test needed
Remove 1-1/4 by 6 inches long fabric from wing or
fuselage darker fabrics preferable
Soak it in thinner & pull threads till 1inch left
Pull test to determine actual tensile strength

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION
Typical preparation steps
1. Removing wing and tail surfaces
2. Remove old fabric
3. Inspecting the structure
4. Preparing the structure
5. Selecting approved fabric & material
6. Preparing the chemical

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
1. Removing wing & tail surfaces
According to mfg. instruction & place them on
cradles/supports
2. Remove old fabric
Roll up old fabric & store it till new recovering complete
If dope/oil soaked, store away from ignition
3. Inspecting the structure
Fuselage tail section for corrosion and rust
Control cables for wear and damage
Hinges for damage & lubrication

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Inspecting structure contd
Inspect wings providing at most attention
Check spars for crack & other damage
Leading & trailing edge for crack & corrosion
Check control cables and pulleys

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD

Inspecting the structure contd

Check wing truss for squareness using trammel bar


Trammel bar wood/metal bar with sharp pointed pins
Compare distance A and B with trammel bar
If not equal adjust drag and anti-drag wires

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
4. Prepare the structure
Remove old dope & apply primer
Cover metal surfaces (L.E) with tape dope proofing
Aluminum foil or cellulose tape or zinc chromate
paint
Brace/support all the ribs with reinforcing tape for
stability

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
5. Selecting approved fabric & Materials
Grade A cotton fabric stamped TSO-C15, or AMS3806
Waxed linen rip lacing chord meet MIL-T-6779
Long needle for sewing the fabric meet VT-276 spec
Reinforcing tape narrow tape of heavy cotton threads
Provide additional strength for fabric cover
Surface tape - grade A cotton with pinked/notched edge
doped over all rib, L.E, T.E, & all tips after lacing
Provide additional wear resistance on the edges.

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
6. Chemical preparation
Dope:
A chemical used to tauten fabric covering and to
make it air & water tight
Consists of :
A film base cellulose fiber
Solvent - acid for dissolving the film base
Plasticizer &
Thinner

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation contd
Film base dissolved in acid
Shrinks and tautens the fabric after drying
Plasticizer
Improves resilience/flexibility & prevent dope crack
after drying
Thinners adjust viscosity of the dope
Consistency when brushing and spraying

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD

Chemical preparation cont.

Two basic types of dopes used on aircraft fabric covering


Nitrate dope
Butyrate dope
Nitrate Dope
Excellent encapsulating/capturing property
Best material for attaching fabric to structure for initial
coats of dope
Disadvantage
Highly flammable serious drawback

BUTYRATE DOPE

Better tautening characteristics than nitrate dope


Burn but not as easily as nitrate dope
Disadvantage
Does not encapsulate the fiber as well as nitrate dope
Clear dope/butyrate dope is weakened by ultra violate
rays
Prevention method
Tiny aluminum flake/powder is mixed with clear dope and
sprayed over coats of clear dope
Form light tight covering preventing UV from
reaching the fabric

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation contd
Colored dopes given an aircraft attractive finish
Light colored dope last longer absorbs least amount of
heat from sun
Some pigments red bleed thru finishing coat and are
called bleeding dopes
Bleeding dopes must be applied last

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation contd
Dopes dries out when thinners & solvents evaporate
Rapid evaporation of solvents leads to moisture
absorption
This allows the moisture in the atmosphere to condense
and deposit on wet dope
Moisture causes cellulose to precipitate from dope film &
form white porous deposit called Blush
Blushed doped surface is weak, porous & unattractive

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation cont.
High Humidity in a paint room also cause blushing of
dopes
Prevention method
Use retarders in place of thinners
Retarders are thinners with certain additives to slow
its rate of evaporation

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation contd
Cotton & linen fabrics are susceptible to destruction by
mildew/yeast and fungus
Weakens fabric in short time
Prevention method:
Fungicidal dope with the first coat
Thorough penetration of dope into fabric is required
for fungicide to be effective

AIRCRAFT FABRIC RE-COVERING


PREPARATION CONTD
Chemical preparation cont.
Dope proofing
All parts of the aircraft that come in contact with doped
fabric must be treated with a protective coating by using: Dope proof paint (zinc chromate paint)
Aluminum foil
Cellulose tape

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION

GENERAL
All covering must be tauten and smooth for the best
appearance and performance of the aircraft.
Storage
- Materials must be stored in a cool, dry place.
Hence therefore the fabric shop must be:
Clean
Well lighted and
Well ventilated

74

FACILITIES , TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT


TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
Supports
-

Easels
- To support a wing vertically

Trestles (saw horses)


- To support a wing horizontally

Needles
Shears
Sewing thimble/cap
sewing machine
75

76

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


Recall that
Wings removed
Fabric removed
Structures Inspected and repaired
Fabric & hardware selected
Chemicals prepared
Installation will be the next step

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


Installing a fabric involves
1. Selection of installation method
2. Removing Wrinkles
3. Applying first coat of dope
4. Attaching Fabric
5. Opening drain grommets/eyelets & inspection rings
6. Application of Surface Tape
7. Installing drain grommets & inspection rings

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
1. Selection of installation method
Two basic methods are
The Envelope Method
The Blanket Method

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
The Envelope Method
Method of installing pre-sewn fabric to form
envelope/cover
Begin with simplest structure & to complex ones
General recommended order
Flaps
Ailerons
Tail surfaces
Wings and then fuselages

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
THERE ARE DETAIL PROCEDURES FOR:
Covering small components
Covering the wing
Covering the fuselage

Refer the respective maintenance manual for detailed


procedures.

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

The Blanket Method

A method when pre-sewn envelope not available


Sew the blanket using one of FAA approved machine
sewing threads & seam methods
Four basic FAA approved machine seam/joint styles
Plain overlap
French fell
Folded fell
Modified folded fell

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

FAA approved machine seams

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
2. Removing the Wrinkles
Use distilled or demineralized water and wet fabric
thoroughly
Some tightness will be lost but wrinkles will be removed
Caution:
Water must not run into the structure
Do not cut fabric around fitting while wet
Fabric shortens while shrinking

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
3. Applying the First coat of Dope
Allow water to dry completely for a maximum of 48hrs
Apply fungicidal dope
If more than 48hrs is elapsed airborne fungus will
settle on surface
How is fungicidal dope prepared and applied?

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION CONTD


Preparation and application of fungicidal dope
Pour unthinned nitrate dope into fungicidal paste
Ratio one gallon of nitrate dope to four ounce of
fungicidal paste one ounce = 28.35grams
Stir till paste is mixed thoroughly
Thin the dope with equal amount nitrate dope
Apply with animal-bristle brush
Brush till fungicidal dope completely surrounds the
fabric
None of the dope should run down inside the fabric

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
4. Attaching the Fabric
Both cotton and linen fabric are normally attached to the
airframe by stringing or stitching and tensioned using
nitrate or butyrate dope.
Fabric must be attached to wing ribs in such a way that
Aerodynamic forces will be transmitted to the structure
and lifting the entire aircraft
Three methods of attaching fabric to aircraft structure
A. Lacing (lacing cord)
B. Clipping (wire clips)
C. Screwing (self tapping screws)

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

A. Lacing

Uses waxed/polished linen cord & long lacing needle


Labor intensive and time consuming operation
Fabric must be attached by methods approved by mfg.
Mark each rib with lead pencil for stitch placement
Make holes on each side of the rib
Using stitching needle
As close to rib caps as possible

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
Lacing cont.
Stitch spacing b/n 1st & last stitch = all other spacing
Stitch spacing is based on VNE
Copy of spacing used by mfg. needed or
Use stitch spacing chart

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
Lacing cont.
Stitch spacing chart (spacing vs. VNE )
Slip stream = dia. of propeller + additional ribs

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

Lacing contd

Knots will be placed where they are least visible


Place knots on top - high wing aircraft
Place knots on bottom low wing aircraft
Exception
1st knot always placed
opposite regular knots

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
Lacing cont.
Tie a square knot on the side opposite of regular knot at
center of reinforcing tape

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

Lacing contd

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

Lacing cont.

If come short of lacing cord


Do not use square knot it will slip
Use splice knot shown below

TYPES OF STITCHES

FABRIC COVERING

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD
B. Clipping
Rib stitching is labor intensive operation
Other methods of attachment
Clipping
Screwing

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

Clipping

Two basic types of clipping are used


Martin Clip & Cessna Clip methods:
Approval by FAA required
FAA form 337 must be filled

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

C. Screwing

Before drilling holes for metal screw in wing ribs


originally stitched
Approval by FAA required
FAA form 337 must be filled
Metal screws &
plastic/aluminum washer

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION CONTD


5. Opening Drain Grommets/eyelets
Small doughnut shaped pieces of acetate plastic
O.D. = and ID. = 5/16
Attached to fabric at all low point of the structure
To ventilate the aircraft
To prevent condensed moisture from rotting/decay
fabric
After completing recovering
Open drain grommet by cutting fabric from inside
of grommet by a sharp pointed knife blade

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION CONTD


Opening Inspection rings
Made of acetate plastic
O.D = 4-5/8 and ID = 3-1/2
Installed at location chosen by mfg
Allow access to inside of the structure
For inspection and servicing
After re-covering, cut the center from inspection rings
where access is required

AIRCRAFT FABRIC INSTALLATION


CONTD

6. Application of Surface Tape


Surface tape:

Strips of aircraft fabric doped over all seams & places


where fabric is attached to aircraft structure
Its also doped over wing L.E where abrasive wear
occurs
Provide additional wear resistance on the edges
For application of surface tape follow the detail
procedures outlined in applicable manual

FABRIC REPAIR METHODS

REPAIR METHOS
If the fabric has been damaged extensively, it is usually
impractical and uneconomical to make satisfactory
repairs by sewing and patching.
Cuts and tears in fabric are sometimes caused by stones
thrown up by the slipstream or wheels, from accidental
damage during ground movement or servicing.
Damage may also be caused by bird strikes.
METHODS:
Repair of tears
Sewed - In repair
Doped - On repair
Doped In panel repair

Tears

REPAIR OF TEARS

Remove all dope approximately 2 past damage.


Baseball stitch.
Apply surface tape over repair.
Finish with original dope to original levels.
V & L shaped Tears
Same but start at apex (bottom of v) to ensure all is in
place.
Baseball stitch

DOPED-ON REPAIR
Used:
When VNE < 150 MPH
And damage is < 16
Remove damaged area
Remove the finish back from the edge of the cutout for
about 2.
Dope on patch (up to 16 in any direction)
Up to 8 hole needs 2 overlap
12 hole = 3 overlap

REPAIR BY DARNING/RENOVATION.

SEWED-IN REPAIR
When damage area exceeds 16 inches and the never
exceed speed is greater than 150 MPH.
The damage is removed and a rectangular or square patch
is sewed to the edges of the cutout.
A patch is applied over the seams

DOPED IN PANEL REPAIRS


If the damage is extensive to be repaired by the doped-on or
sewed-in method
Can be repaired by removing and replacing the entire panel
Remove surface tape from the ribs
Cutout damage leaving 1 of fabric adjacent to the ribs
Cut a patch large enough to extend 3 beyond the rib.
Remove finish down to the clear dope
Install patch and dope it down
Place new reinforcing tape and stitch
Apply surface tape and finish

AIRCRAFT FABRIC FINISHING

AIRCRAFT PAINTING, FINISHING &


MARKING

117

INTRODUCTION
Paint
A colored liquid applied to a surface in order to
decorate it or to protect it, or to create a
painting/image/picture/work of art.
Finish
To treat something, especially wood or metal, in order
to achieve a desired surface effect
Purpose of finishes:
Protection from deterioration
Pleasing appearance (desired appearance)

CLASSIFICATION OF FINISHES/PAINTS
Protective
For interior and exterior surfaces
Appearance
For exterior surfaces
Decorative
Emblems (logo) - symbols
Decals (stickers) - signs
Identification numbers and letters

FINISHING MATERIALS
Cleaning agents
Dope
Thinners
Primers
Paints
Additives
Rejuvenators

Masking materials

CLEANING AGENTS
Are used to clean:
Surfaces to be painted
Painting equipment
Examples:
Acetone
Removing grease from fabric
Cleaning spray paint guns
Benzene
Cleaning equipment

CLEANING AGENTS CONT..


Acrylic nitrocellulose lacquer thinner
Wiping areas prior to painting
Improved adhesion
Volatile mineral spirits
Cleaning striped/uncovered surfaces prior
to the application of paint

THINNERS
To thin dopes, enamels and paints for spraying and
brushing consistency.
Use correct thinner:
Toluene - for zinc chromate primer
Turpentine - for varnish, enamels and other oil base
paints.

PRIMERS
Zinc chromate Primer
For corrosion protection
As a base for protective topcoats
Is also a good dope proof paint
Standard wash primer
Used with some paints that require an under coat (a metal pre
treatment coating compound)
Leaves a very thin layer
Contains phosphoric acid as one of its component at the time
of application.
Acrylic cellulose nitrate modified primer
Used between wash primer and nitrocellulose topcoat

PRIMERS CONT
Red iron oxide
Gray enamel undercoat
Under top coats
Suitable for sanding to create a perfectly smooth base
for paint.
Polyurethane
Epoxy

PAINTS
Types of paints
Lacquer /varnish
Easy to apply
Easy to repair
Can be fuel or chemical resistant
May need to be buffed/polished to reach
maximum glossiness/smoothness
Acrylic nitrocellulose and nitrocellulose

PAINTS CONT
Enamel
Acrylic enamels provide a glossy/shine/smooth
surface which is very resistant to scratching due
to its hardness
More care is needed during application
Drying time is longer
Harder to repair

PAINTS CONT
Polyurethane
Excellent durability
Excellent weather resistance
Excellent chemical resistance
Used in areas exposed to chemical attack such as
Skydrol.
Should not be waxed/polished
Hard to strip/cut up

CONTENTS OF PAINT
Pigment
Provides color and durability.
Also improves the strength and adhesion of the paint.
Binder
Holds the pigment in liquid form.
When applied it gives the paint the ability to adhere to
the surface.
Backbone of the paint

CONTENTS OF PAINT CONT.


Solvent
Effectively thins the paint
It carries the pigment and binder
Used to regulate how much a paint flows
Called a thinner when used with lacquer
Called a reducer when used with enamel

CONTENTS OF PAINT CONT.


Additives
Compose only a small percentage of the paint.
Used to alter the physical and chemical properties of the
paint.
Provide a more glossy appearance
Speed drying time
Improve chemical resistance
Improve strength
Improve corrosion resistance
Improve the appearance of the paint - Metal flake
Improve weather resistance

ADDITIVES CONT.
EXAMPLES:

Butyl Alcohol
Mixed with dope to retard drying
Turpentine
As a quick drier for enamels
Paint drier
To improve drying properties

REJUVENATION OF THE DOPE FILM


If fabric loses its strength, there is nothing to do but
remove it and recover the aircraft.
But if the fabric is good and the dope is cracked, it may be
treated with rejuvenator, a mixture of very potent/strong
solvents and plasticizers, to restore its resilience/flexibility.
The surface of the fabric is cleaned and the rejuvenator
sprayed on in a wet coat.
The solvents soften the old finish so the plasticizers can
become part of the film.

REJUVENATOR CONT
Can extend life of cover, but must check the underneath
material.
When the rejuvenator dries, the surface should be sprayed
with two coats of aluminium pigmented dope, then sanded
and a third coat of pigmented dope applied, followed with
the coloured dope finish.
RETARDERS:

Used to slow the drying time of the dope and to prevent


blushing.
Used when HUMIDITY IS HIGH

MASKING MATERIAL
To exclude areas not to be painted
Metal
Held in place by weights
Fiberboard (compressed wood)
Held in place by weights
Paper
Held in place by masking tape
Masking tape

METHODS OF APPLYING FINISHES


The most common methods are: Dipping
For factories and large repair stations
Involves the dipping of the part in a tank filled with the
finishing material.
Brushing
For small repair work and when it is impractical to spray
paint.
Paint should be thinned to the proper consistency for brushing
Spray painting
Atomized finishing material is sprayed on the surface of the
part

SPRAY PAINTING
Requires:
Source of compressed air
A reservoir or feed tank
To hold supply of the finishing material
Device for controlling the combination of air and
finishing material (spray gun)

AIRCRAFT FABRIC FINISHING


Finishing system of fabric covered aircraft consists of:
Hand brush first coat of fabric
Wait 30 minutes drying period
Apply surface tape prior to second coat of dope
Apply second coat of dope
Third and fourth coats could be applied to provide tight
and rigid surface
Apply two or more coat of properly pigmented dope

REGISTRATION MARKS FOR A/C


All a/c a/c registered must be marked with nationality and
registration marks for easy identification
The marks must be painted on the a/c or otherwise
affixed/fastened so they are as permanent as the finish
The registration and nationality markings shall consist the
roman capital letter N followed by the registration number of
the a/c
The height of letters and numbers for fixed wing a/c must be
at least 12 inches
The width of the characters in the markings must be two
thirds the height of the character

ASSINMENTS
1. Discuss about the different varieties of a/c finishing
materials
2. Discuss and characterize the different types of fabric
materials commonly used for wooden a/c cover
3. Explain about a/c fabric installation procedures (the
seven steps)
4. Discus about on how we determine the strength of a
fabric material

THE END
THANK YOU