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Old 09-30-2017, 04:34 PM   #1
IanJ
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Default EAA SportAir Workshop: fabric covering

EAA is bringing their fabric covering workshop to Seattle in October, and I'm considering signing up. It's a couple years too early to be directly applicable to my build, but would be useful training to have for both my build and for potential future Champ repairs (or even estimation of repairs).

My question: have any of you taken this workshop? For someone like myself who has a basic "book larnin'" understanding of fabric covering but next to no practical experience (I did a 40 minute fabric covering forum at a fly-in years ago, but that's it), is this a good use of $320 and a weekend's worth of free time? It sounds good from their description -- they say the class will completely cover a wing through color coat in two days, using the PolyTone system.

I'd appreciate any thoughts from those of you who've taken the EAA Sport Air classes. I already know that, generally speaking, taking a fabric covering class will be a good thing to expand my experience.


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Old 09-30-2017, 06:29 PM   #2
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Ian You could probably learn a lot, the right way and the safest way, fresh air safety glasses rubber gloves and all. My question is what kind of covering process are you thinking about using?
I am a Polyfiber guy, but many are using the Stewart system as it is more user friendly, but Polyfiber is not a catalyzed paint, actually the covering process is pretty much the same up until the first coat of Poly brush.

You could come down here and help me cover my "I" struts and tail surfaces, and it would not cost you anything, Tim was here a month or so ago and we started with my ailerons. Just an idea, although I am a practical guy quick and dirty maybe even a bit rough, but airworthy. Some of the purists on the forum might not be impressed, but I also want to fly, not win the Grand Champion Award at Oshkosh! Dave


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Old 09-30-2017, 07:06 PM   #3
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You need to take Dave up on that offer Ian. You will learn so much in short time with someone of Dave's experience. My opinion the process will be better with Dave to learn one on one. Then maybe take the EAA workshop.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:20 PM   #4
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I took it and found it very worthwhile. did not know anything about covering and when I left, had no questions whatsoever. if you go, have them send you the manual before you attend. if you read it before, the lessons will be more valuable.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:25 PM   #5
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I would recommend sponging off Dave's Knowledge as much as possible!
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:00 AM   #6
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Covering is mostly straight forward. What Dave or the class should help with is some detail tricks. There are places where you have to cheat to get the best finish. Making it safe is easy. Making it a show stopper takes some knowledge beyond the book. Even then,the really awesome ones are their third or fourth time.
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:05 AM   #7
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I've taken the EAA SportAir workshops for fabric covering, riveting, and tig welding, and I learned a lot from each. If they are local, I'd recommend taking them, unless you plan on farming that part of the work out to someone else. I found the information in the fabric class faded from my memory the quickest though, so I'd probably hold off on it until you are close to covering a plane.

The class is taught with the Polyfiber system, so if you are working with someone else's product, it might not be as useful, although they also focus on the 43.13 requirements for fabric covering.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:45 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the feedback. It sounds like I should do both -- visit Dave and see how it's really done, and hit the EAA class and see the OSHA-approved approach.
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:04 AM   #9
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Ian,

If you have any interest in the Stewarts system, they have a series of video tutorials on youtube.

Their website: www.stewartsystems.aero has a link to the videos.

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Old 10-01-2017, 04:29 PM   #10
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Default EAA SportAir Workshop: fabric covering

I have gone to one of these before and you will have fun, meet some neat people and learn how to cover. There are a lot of useful tips that are talked about that aren't in the Polyfiber manual that they follow, go back to the hotel at night and write all those down or you will likely forget them. Also go home and make a shopping list for covering your airplane based on what you just learned if you aren't covering right away. That way you won't struggle later on trying to remember which tools/tapes/thermometer, etc to buy when you are ready to cover.

Finally, bring your own mask. Call ahead and ask what to bring if you have questions but they don't provide them and you either need to take turns sharing the one or two they have or step out during some of the spraying.

They also give you a one time off your order of fabric covering supplies coupon for Aircraft Spruce that has no expiration date on it that pretty much pays for the course in savings when you are ready to cover.
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:15 PM   #11
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This is good info. The videos from Stewart's make it look like a breeze, haha. Definitely one of the challenges of building a tube/wood/fabric plane is the lack of other similar builds locally. RV central......... nothing against them or the aircraft whatsoever, but they certainly drive the train, including the Sportair workshops. Fabric classes aren't nearly as plentiful as sheet metal related stuff from what I've seen.


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