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Thread: Painting Fiberglass Parts

  1. #1

    Painting Fiberglass Parts

    Hello,

    I have a backlog of Sundowner projects building up - among them are
    some fiberglass parts - new Metco-Air wingtips, Globe Fiberglass stabilator
    tips, and a new two-part tail cone. This stuff is all sitting in my
    garage, with the exception of the tail cone, which is in UPS-land
    somewhere.

    The normal procedure for installing such things is to fit them to the
    airplane, drill the appropriate holes and openings, get everything bolted
    together and set up - and then take it all apart, paint the new parts, and
    put it together again.

    Only trouble is, I need to fly to another airport to be "supervised and
    signed" by the IA there. So what I would like to do, is to paint the
    parts as received from the vendors, throw the parts into the airplane,
    fly to the IA, and fit & drill them there. I see no reason why this
    wouldn't work with lavish use of masking tape. The paint is a quality
    2-part polyurethane enamel, and I would give it a week or two to cure
    before installation. Comments?

    - Jerry Kaidor ( jerry@tr2.com )




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  2. #2

    Painting Fiberglass Parts

    > I have a backlog of Sundowner projects building up - among them are
    >some fiberglass parts - new Metco-Air wingtips, Globe Fiberglass stabilator
    >tips, and a new two-part tail cone. This stuff is all sitting in my
    >garage, with the exception of the tail cone, which is in UPS-land
    >somewhere.
    >
    > The normal procedure for installing such things is to fit them to the
    >airplane, drill the appropriate holes and openings, get everything bolted
    >together and set up - and then take it all apart, paint the new parts, and
    >put it together again.
    >
    > Only trouble is, I need to fly to another airport to be "supervised and
    >signed" by the IA there. So what I would like to do, is to paint the
    >parts as received from the vendors, throw the parts into the airplane,
    >fly to the IA, and fit & drill them there. I see no reason why this
    >wouldn't work with lavish use of masking tape. The paint is a quality
    >2-part polyurethane enamel, and I would give it a week or two to cure
    >before installation. Comments?
    >
    > - Jerry Kaidor ( jerry@tr2.com )

    Do whatever you have to to paint AFTER the fitting and drilling.

    The FARs allow you to remove and replace the cowling and fairings, which
    sounds like it would include the parts you are referring to. So taking the
    parts to the mechanic's airport and test fitting them before paint would
    not prevent you from then flying home with your new parts installed, and
    then taking them off and painting them.

    The only "fly in the ointment" that I can see is that BALANCED control
    surfaces must be checked for balance after paint, and that would include
    the stabilator tips. So you really can't fly the plane without removing
    and balancing the stabilator (a big job, and you want shiny new bolts to
    put it back on), so you may have to fly to the mech, test fit everything,
    put the old elevator tips on and fly home. Paint all the parts (remove
    those that are not balanced and paint), then install all but the stabilator
    tips and fly back for the balance work with the painted stab tips installed.

    Sounds like monkey motion, but from long past experience, I NEVER paint a
    part before it's installed and all the holes are drilled and the edges trimmed.

    (Have the Tee shirt from that a couple times... Some of us don't learn the
    first time!)

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL



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  3. #3
    I would highly recomend fitting the parts first, as fiberglass parts do not always fit perfectly. At the very least you will have to trim some of these parts to fit, on rare occasions slight fiberglass modification is required.

    It may seem like a pain to do it this way, but it will save you much aggrivation later.

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