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CFSOJ Winter Maintenance 2024 To-Date

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Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jun 24, 2021
Reaction score
Brighton, Ontario, Canada
Each winter I try to do part of the refurbishment of this 30 year old Skybolt. The first winter saw a complete rewiring of the aircraft, from the battery to the tail, all tubing, which I could access, was cleaned, refinished. A complete new instrument panel, for both cockpits, new Hooker Harness’ and the change to the Sensenich carbon fibre prop. Last winter was the upgrade to the Emags and a back-up (small), engine monitor.

This winter the fabric replacement begins, starting at the tail. I pulled off all the fabric from the tail horizontals, to reveal a significant amount of surface corrosion, on all tubing, with very little on the ribs. I hadn’t planned on doing the rudder until next winter, however that little voice kept nagging at me, so off it came and I’m glad I did. The rudder tubing was far worse than any of the horizontal pieces. I will have to pull the fabric off the vertical stab as well, at some point, when the hangar is warmer. One good thing though, was that there were no pitting on any of the tubes, so all surface corrosion only. The photo of the trim-tab rib, looks pretty grim, but it cleaned-up nicely, with no pitting or need to make a new rib.

The interior of the fabric was covered in mould, as well the mud-wasps had gotten in and built nests over the years. During its’ life, it did spend a significant amount of time in an open t-hangar, with previous Owners. The piano hinge, trim tab, had given me chills, over the past 3 seasons, so it was time to do something about that.

When the fabric came off, I discovered the piano hinge wasn’t even a structural hinge (extruded hinge), but a rolled aluminum one, held in-place with steel pop rivets. The fact it held together for so long was one thing I’m thankful for. I found a young guy whose specialty is TIG welding for the motorcycle racing community. He does a lot of work for aircraft homebuilders, in the area, so he rebuilt my tab, back to the plans version, which I had.

I was quite surprised at how easily the fabric came off, once the rib stitching was cut. The original builder saved weight by being VERY conservative with the fabric bonding agent, I literally pulled everything off, by hand, with relative ease, is that normal?!

I’m using the Stewart System (with the heavy certified, Superflite fabric, single layer), as any other is a non-starter, in our home. I did a Poly Fibre covering on my Fleet Canuck and my wife didn’t do very well with the fumes in the house, so she has put her foot down, that will never be done in the house again and working at the hangar all winter would be very limiting.

All the parts will be back from the powder-coating this week (after being cleaned to the bare metal and properly prepped this time), so more updates to follow. The longer term is to pull all the fabric off the fuselage and wings, once my Boredom Figniter is flying, have the wings inspected/rebuilt, recovered. Then a proper paint job will be done, instead of the temporary one I’ll be doing this winter.

The engine is in very good shape, with the previous owner, having a lot of internal work done, within the 3 years before my purchase, with the crankshaft and camshaft, each having less than 100 hours on them now.

I will almost have a brand new aircraft, when the time comes to pass her on, to her next owner, hopefully, she’ll give future ”Mum“ or “Dads” another 30 years or fun


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