Covering – Oratex – First steps

Having read the Oratex manual loads of times and watched the very useful You Tube bits I made my first venture into covering …

Started with preparing a strip for covering over the joints ahead of the top covering. This will prevent fretting later.

First use of the HotMelt glue which seems to go on very easily .. they state one thin coat for metal (two for wood). Brush just washes out in water … so nice and easy.

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Rudder and elevator joints done and also the first strut

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Having treated both the metal joints and the full back of a strip of the material – leave it to fully dry today before cutting pieces to wrap around the joints.

Dismantling ….

Been a while since my last update but have been very busy at both work and visiting relatives in the UK ….

BUT ….

Lots going on now … in prep for the body painting I had to fully dismantle the ‘plane .. sad .. as you feel you are going backwards but … all 4 wings off .. rudder off .. elevator off …

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So everything photo’d and labelled for later reassemble

Trailer repaired and roadworthy agin (many thanks for squeezing that into your really busy schedule Mike – much appreciated).

Then up bright and very early yesterday to give the ‘plane a ride through several Parishes ahead of the Monday morning traffic build up … Took her through St John, St Lawrence, St Aubin (she hasn’t been through that Parish to date !) then to St Brelade… all dropped off and unloaded by 7.30

Popped back at lunchtime and the painter guy had smoothed all the top cowl and it looked amazing … they noted that where the cabane supports go through the top decking its pretty close tolerance and could probably do with eeking out so we don’t get stress cracks … will get the Dremel out when I get her back.

Little jobs along the way ….

Securing the cowl scoops is one of those little things I needed to complete .

They are held in place on the Jabiru with a very basic looking arrangement which I guess works. A small wire passes around the cylinder head fins and comes uppermost where a small spring hooks onto it. This then stretches to hook onto a small 5mm angles bracket with a hole in it that has been riveted to the fibreglass scoop.


The whole setup obviously wont go anywhere as the top cowl makes sure of that .. but, in addition, you slacken a few of the rocker cap cover allen bolts and insert larger washers to encompass the scoop. I ground down the edge of a few of the washers to enable a flush fit.

Final bit will be to fine trim the front end of the scoop and fit the rubber gasket to prevent air bleeding around the intake and cowl.

Pitot feeds now in

Ivor had popped the second tube in the post and it arrived yesterday, and was on the aircraft within 2 hours …

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Running the second tube through the drag spar took a bit longer that the first, the first slid straight through and popped out exactly where I  wanted it. The second snagged on an internal rivet and took an age to tweak it back … this is where two people would def speed it up .. or if you had 6 foot long arms to ease the tube back at the wing strut whilst fishing it out at the root !



Now the challenge of sourcing the step downs to get tube to alloy pitot …

Ariel ground plane and ply cover

Completed the ariel ground plane fitting and the thin ply top sheeting.

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Having pre inserted a 3 ply support to take the ariel mount.

Leaving the ariel off for now so that it doesnt get knocked during painting. Also may source an aero shaped tube to run the Ariel co ax cable down the rear of one of the cabane tubes.

Dismantling !


Feels a bit odd but as the covering stage begins you have to start dismantling the aircraft that you have taken so long to lovingly put together !

First the rudder came off, keeping all the washers and bits in sequence, in fact I used a very small marker pen to not position and number of washers on the aircraft frame to make re-assembly a bit more positive !

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Then, the elevator came off, decided to remove it in one piece for now (so had to take a rigging wire off the tail) as I am getting some photographs taken to see if we can get some wrap to take on top of the Oratex. The guy from a local Company called SignTech was very switched on an enthusiastic about shading the photo so that it will give the impression of the elevator or tail rib standing on top of the covering … hope it works !

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Getting all the pieces in the car was fun and now in town for photos.

Tied up the now loose rudder and elevator cables so they won’t trail.


Hasn’t looked rudder and tail less for a long long time !




Front panel – prep for painting

In preparation for painting I am making sure the front panel cut outs for various gauges is reflected in the top decking. That way the paint doesn’t have to be tampered with once the panel is leather covered and then fitted.


Trailer – wing supports are back !

The wing supports are here … great .. means we can crack on and get the trailer tweaked and then off to the paint shop for the body painting.

The wing support dolly’s weigh next to nothing and the carbon fibre wrap support will mean that the wing is really well cushioned during transportation as it spans just over two ribs AND provides leading edge wrap around support

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The red end pegs, Kev said, means that I will be able to see from the car if the pegs have moved !

We spent an interesting trial and see exercise with Mike last night and a trolley jack balancing the trailer now the aircraft is pretty much at all up weight (minus covering and fuel). Turns out the axle is pretty much in the right place if we manufacture a tool chest support in the rear of the trailer as that will allow everything I ever needed to stay in situ. Must get some good tool trays and cut out foam packs ordered.

Ariel location and fixing – Part Deux

Mike, who has seemingly endless brilliant contacts called me the other day, having seen the ariel location post …. call me now .. was the message ….

Duly called and arranegd to meet Mike and mystery guest at the barn at lunchtime …

Mystery guest turned out to be a very nice chap called Chris who is the wiz at Jersey Airport for all things electronic … well, what he didnt know about groundplanes was definately not worth knowing ….

Both Mike and I had a 45 minute lesson, overview, revelation on what groundplanes are, how they work, how they work better ! and whats more Chris delivered in easy to digest language …

So – Plan 2 –

Scrap the metal bar across the cabin – so two small rivets will be drilled out and then the bar removed. It WILL work and probably absolutely fine around the circuit … but as pretty much every single flight I do involves filling tanks, filing a couple of flight plans and submitting gendecs to whichever police force decide they need them as well as the local authorities … anyway .. suffice to say I need a radio that will still work around 50N as I cross the Channel ….

The new plan is to use the aluminium sheet base plate roll that Chris very kindly provided and cover the entire top of the cabane with it to provide a continuous sheet that effectively maps a circle (the radius of which matches or exceeds the length of the steel whip Ariel.

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Chris also provided a link to a PDF that has a whole chapter dedicated to JUST this topic. So the aim will be to lay the alloy sheet and then top it (to create a sandwich and smooth surface for covering) with 1.5mm sheet ply.

Ariel fit

Did you know you can calculate the load on an Ariel by using the formula below !

D=0.000327 AV2

(The formula includes a 90 percent reduction factor for the streamline shape of the antenna.)
D is the drag load on the antenna in lbs.
A is the frontal area of the antenna in sq. ft.
V is the VNE of the aircraft in mph.
Example: Antenna manufacturer specification frontal area = 0.135 sq. ft. and VNE of aircraft is 250 mph.
D=0.000327 x .135 x (250)2
=0.000327 x .135 x 62,500
= 2.75 lbs

OK – If the Sherwood is doing 250 mph – the reception of the antenna is pretty academic as I would have already lost all 4 wings !!! 🙂


Ariel location and ground plane – Hold that thought ! – See next post

Been thinking about where best to locate this and almost settled on rear body somewhere with the ground plane bend to the inside curvature of the body when Mike (my wizard engineer) popped around yesterday.

I took the chance to get some other ideas and he suggested on top of the centre section. This could be handy when pulling loops (once LAA approved of course !) as it would give you a nice straight line to line your reference point on 🙂

A quick text to Adrian (my electronics guru, who very kindly answered my Sunday text) as I thought the ground plane may need to be curved but he assured me flat was OK.

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Slot cut to accept the ground plane.

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Secured with a small rivet and support washer each end.

The plan now is to get some countersunk steel bolts to go through the 3 Ariel mounting holes and into rivnuts so they can be fitted ‘blind’ and also aid any future servicing.

The rake of the Ariel means I will see about 50% of it from the pilot seat I guess.

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