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Thread: Longterm Oratex Fabric Durability on Airplanes stored Outside (Non-Hangared)

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    Basic Member Denali's Avatar
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    Default Longterm Oratex Fabric Durability on Airplanes stored Outside (Non-Hangared)

    WWHunter in a separate thread on Dec. 6, 2017 wrote

    Currently I own both a metal and a fabric plane, I see the advantages/disadvantages of each. I prefer a metal plane, especially if it is going to sit outside for any period of time. The Champ I owned was not hangared during two summers due to being on floats. Those two summers took a big toll on the paint/fabric/overall look of the plane than I have ever experienced in airplane ownership. Whenever a thunderstorm or hail storm passed through the area, I just cringed.
    So a lot of people favor an all metal plane like a Zenitgh CH-750 or proverbial all metal Cessna 150/172/182 etc. if the plane has to be parked outside facing the sun, rain, and more. So I am wondering about the long term "toughness" of Oratex if left outside to take the proverbial "beating" from the weather.

    Oratex fabric came on the scene a few years ago. By now I am sure more than a few Oratex-covered planes have been left outside long term to face the harsh elements and constant sunshine.

    Does anyone have any PIREPS on the status of any Oratex-covered planes that have been exposed long term?

    Oratex-covered RANS S7S


    A RANS S-21 is all metal. A RANS S-20 with a metal-covered 141 Wing still sports a fabric covered fuse and tail feathers. So if a plane is to be parked outside, would the Oratex give an all metal plane a decent run for the money? Or does the Oratex degrade and require regularly scheduled recovering in order to maintain decent appearance and strength?
    " It's Always Something" - Gilda Radner (1946-1989)

    " I love Horsepower, but love love love Torque "

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    I had the exact same question when researching build options. The North American distributor even gave me a couple email addresses to get feedback from customers. I was never able to get any answers. That ship has sailed for me now, but I'm still curious what experience folks have had with the airplane in the sun.

    Brett
    S-20 Ordered, but I haven't built diddly-squat before

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    My guess is that most of the Oratex aircraft that have been "sitting out" are in Alaska. Lars would be the best point of contact for this. He's the man behind Better Aircraft Fabric, which is the North American distributor of Oratex. They're located in Anchorage and of course have a website with a wealth of information. I used Oratex 6000 on my S7 build and thoroughly enjoyed the covering process. I've been flying now for 9 months and have around 140 hours on it. The fabric is like new with no issues whatsoever. Of course, that's expected for an airplane that lives in a nice 50x50 hangar. So, while I can endorse Oratex for my experience thus far, I can't offer anything regarding the question of long term durability for airplanes sitting out.
    Mike

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    Basic Member Denali's Avatar
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    Yeah, I actually ordered some sample swatches of oratex a few years ago. It is still sitting in the tube that Lars sent me. Nice German gentleman who is very helpful.

    I was wondering about the durability of Oratex when exposed 24/7 to the harsh outdoors. I am told Oratex is not super slick like Ceconite covered fabric, and that it has a slight "fuzzy" surface feel to it. If so, does it capture dust and grime? If in wet dark areas, can a mold form, and if so how does Oratex react to beaching solutions? How easily can old Oratex covering be stripped away if one has to "redo" a part of the fuselage because of weathering or degradation from UV, molds, etc. Are there any products out there that are light and affordable to give Oratex that slick Ceconite appearance and quality? I'm referring to the heavier duty Oratex 6000.

    " It's Always Something" - Gilda Radner (1946-1989)

    " I love Horsepower, but love love love Torque "

    " Nothings says poor workmanship like uneven duct tape "

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    Basic Member Denali's Avatar
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    Links to 2 interesting threads each titled simply Oratex Fabric .

    My personal take home message is that an all metal S-21 sure solves a lot of issues.

    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...-Oratex-Fabric

    http://www.shortwingpipers.org/forum...-fabrics/page3
    " It's Always Something" - Gilda Radner (1946-1989)

    " I love Horsepower, but love love love Torque "

    " Nothings says poor workmanship like uneven duct tape "

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    Premium Member (Donated) WWhunter's Avatar
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    Paul, LOL, you are starting to sound like me! Can't make up my mind yet it might already be made up...I just don't want to believe it. :) It's kind of a 'six to one, half a dozen to the other' sort of thing.
    If a hangar is available most of the time, I am happy with a fabric plane. If rarely have a hangar available, I want a metal plane.

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