VT-16 Orlik: Covering Elevator and Rudder

I’ve used many different methods for covering aircraft in the past. Among my favourites are Oralight and Oratex. Both are relatively easy to apply, with Oratex being very robust and oralight very light. Most recently I used Oralight for my Inside F5J and Oratex for my EcoBoomster Towplane. Both however have as a disadvantage that the surface tension is good but not brilliant, and you regularly need to do another pass with the hot air gun or iron to iron out new wrinkles – especially when you store your planes in an unheated room like I do.

When building my Moswey III, I was shown another method by Georg, the designer in our building team, and an experienced builder. This method not only gives great surface tension (love to drum my fingers on it :-), it’s also very light and, importantly, doesn’t require you to regularly straigthen out wrinkles. For the VT-16 Orlik we decided to use the same method again.

I’m sure that there are many different ways to cover a glider. This is the one we use for the Orlik. Materials to use: SIG KOVERALL covering fabric; Dope (we use Fuller-MZ), UHU Hart glue, nitro thinner and acetone. Method: 1) make a mix of 50% (by weight) UHU Hart and Dope and use a brush to apply one or two coats to all areas that the Koverall tissue need to stick to, allow this to dry; 2) cut Koverall into rough shape; 3) put the Koverall on the area you want to cover and fix the edges (not inner parts!) of the cloth to the wood using a small cloth with acetone (the UHU Hart/Dope mix will dissolve and the Koverall will stick to the wood); 4) use a hot air gun to carefully tighten the Koverall and remove any wrinkles; 5) using the cloth with acetone attach the rest of the Koverall to the inner ribs/surfaces; 6) apply two or three coats of dope, letting it dry out in-between and making sure that the covered surfaces stay straight.

While the Moswey III was hand-painted (to get that Oldie look), the intention is to spray-paint the rudder and elevator of the Orlik. More on that later.