Experimenter

JAN 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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24 Vol.4 No.1 / Januar y 2015 IT'S NOT PAINT; IT'S A WRAP! IT'S A WRAP Pete shared that some folks are trying the vinyl wrap installation on their own, without hiring a professional installer. "There's definitely a learning curve as to how you do the heating, stretching, and smoothing of the vinyl," he said, "but this is something that can be done by a homebuilder. It's difficult, and there's a learning curve; but if you built an airplane, you can do this. I'd recom- mend buying some extra vinyl wrap and figuring out the process by practicing on some of the curves and corners. After all, if you don't like it, you can pull it right off !" Pete reflected that another attractive aspect of the vinyl wrap is that in five years or so, if he decides he doesn't like yellow and white, he can simply peel it off and apply a new scheme to the plane within a week. In the meantime, he's making sure that N35PM is a clean flying machine. The waterless Wash Wax All is his choice for cleaning bugs from the vinyl wrap. He just sprays it on and wipes it off with a soft cloth. For tougher dirt such as oil and grime, he uses propyl alcohol to clean the vinyl wrap. FLYING INTO THE FUTURE Of course, there are some questions about the pros and cons of using vinyl wrap, and Pete doesn't know all the answers yet. How durable is it? Will the bare aluminum corrode underneath the vinyl wrap, or will the vinyl wrap help prevent corrosion? Does the wrap have equally good adhesion on bare aluminum, primer, or paint? When the vinyl is peeled off after a period of time, is there any hard-to-remove adhesive residue on the metal? How do frost and in-flight icing behave on the vinyl wrap? Does the installation of vinyl wrap affect airspeed? Pete is beginning to find answers to some of these questions, and he looks forward to learning more as he continues flying his RV-9A. He said, "There are a couple of guys out there who have had it for a year or two, so I'm not really a pioneer with this vinyl wrap; I'm an 'early adopter.' I cruise at 140 knots and I've had no problems around the leading edges of the vinyl. And I haven't detected any difference in airspeed. As for weight, some of the companies that are installing vinyl wrap say it adds about 12 pounds to an airplane like mine, which is a lot less than paint! I have not reweighed the plane after the wrap, so I have not verified that yet. I love both the building and the flying. I would absolutely love to build another airplane; building this one was a blast. My first flight was April 27, 2013, and I have 170 hours in the air- craft already. So it's not if I'm going to fly this weekend— it's where I'm going to fly!" Sparky Barnes Sargent, EAA 499838, holds a commercial glider certifi cate with private single engine land and sea ratings, and she personally restored her 1948 Piper Vagabond. Vinyl wrap yields crisp, clean lines. Installing vinyl wrap on compound curves and corners requires skill and experience. 3M Scotchprint vinyl is thin and fl exible. Photography by Sparky Barnes Sargent

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