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Oratex 6000 Fabric

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reileyr

WagAero PA-11 C-90, 76" Carbon Prop, 26" AirStreak
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Several inquiries tells me it is time to start an Oratex Fabric thread. I've recovered aircraft previously, mostly PolyFibre. This was my first Oratex job. I built my experimental cub to the same standard as a certified cub. Anyone with some fabric experience and patience can to do a nice job. Novice have also done nice work. The FAA approved Oratex manual is not particularly helpful so the internet is really the best source of help. Lars (Oratex in Alaska) does provide good technical help and has a written list of practical hints he will send you.

Oratex is thin but tough. Because it is prefinished, it is stiff and more difficult to handle than undoped fabric. Building a rack/stand that allows the fabric to be unrolled without creasing is a must. Two people are recommended to lay out and move large fabric panels. A table the length of the wing is also must for glueing. Two people are also needed to pull the fabric nicely around curves. The glue is awesome, but practice at different temperatures on scrap to understand how it works with heat. Fabric needs to be pulled baggy tight at a minimum so only clamp or lightly spot tack until fabric lays out nicely, especially the wing tips. Glue only seams and overlaps, not the ribs. Rib stitch as usual per Piper specs.

As with any fabric system, any underlying defects show, but with Oratex, more so. With Oratex, scrap pieces are used to fair out the underlying structure before actually covering the aircraft. I also used PolyFibre light weight filler to smooth rough spots. Also, any excess glue or thick glue lines will show through the fabric so use the light even dual/triple coats recommended.

What to DEFINITELY order no matter what you read or are told.
1) Steiner Heat gun
2) Digital iron - an absolute must to evenly shrink the fabric
3) Glue remover
4) At least 3 brushes 2" - regular paint brushes can set the glue
5) Tapes - You may hear you can make your own to save money. Don't
6) Tape surface prep spray - now available but wasn't when I covered

Weight: Fabric increases weight of each wing 6#, each tail surface 1#

The following are pictures requested by Bob Turner
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