All Covered Up – Hangar Flying

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By Lisa Turner, EAA Lifetime 509911.

This piece originally ran in Lisa’s Airworthy column in the July 2023 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

“Where do I get this covered?”

Tom was in the flight school office showing off pictures of the tube and fabric kit he’d just brought home.

“The owner did some assembly but wasn’t quite to the covering stage,” he said. “I’m going to need some advice.”

“There’s nothing to it; just call the manufacturer and have them ship you what you need,” said Pete, one of the flight instructors. “There’s a manual that goes with it. I’ve walked past the forums on covering, and they say it’s the simplest thing in the world.”

“How can it be that simple if the shops charge thousands of dollars to re-cover a Cub?”

Tom realized he was asking the wrong person.

“I’ll find someone who knows something about it,” Tom said.

Tom called around at the small airport and got some names. No one seemed to know anything about fabric covering. He ended up talking to a restoration shop about an hour away.

“Yes, what they say in the forums is that it’s easy,” the shop owner told him. “What goes unsaid is that it’s not simple but can be learned by you and me. My advice is to go to a workshop on covering before you begin. If you enjoy working on things, you’ll love it. But no, it is not necessarily easy or simple.”

The Top Six Myths

Fabric covering is fun and not hard to do. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t traps and pitfalls. Here are the top six myths about fabric covering based on what I’ve seen. Whether you are new to the world of fabric or an old hand, these may surprise you.

Myth 1: There’s Nothing to It

There’s a lot to it. While some of the systems are simpler, such as Oratex, fabric covering spans pre-cover inspections and repairs through correct tape application and attachments to spray coatings and final paint.

It can take months for a new technician to learn all…

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