Has anyone use it?
Has anyone use it?
Had a long thread on this topic about six months back:
There's a guy finishing up a Fly Baby, he seems pretty happy with it. The only real drawback seems to be price....but of course, that depends on how much your time is worth.
Once you get over the sticker shock, it's wonderful stuff, and they just received FAA approval this summer for use on certificated aircraft. All the costs are up front with this system, that's why it seems so expensive, but you don't have to wait for a dry day, or a warm enough day, heck, you can apply the fabric anywhere because there's no fumes with this system. The only liquid is the glue and it's water based, so no nasty fumes. It takes a bit of practice to get the heating and pulling the fabric around the airframe coordinated, but you can rough cut out the shapes of the tail feathers and use the scrap pieces to practice with before you start on the real thing. You can use an ordinary heat gun, but Oratex sells a digitally controlled one that takes the guesswork out of what the temp really is and it sure gives me peace of mind (I use my IR temp gun to verify my iron temps). The materials cost is higher with this system, but the labor cost is about half to a third and there's no waiting on weather, no paint booth shenanigans, no runs, sags, nor orange peel. The only shortcoming is the color selection is a bit limited, but you can paint over it, provided the weather is good...
By any, I assume you mean any fabric covered, certificated aircraft. I understand the FAA approval is based on the EU approval, which basically approves Oratex for a substitute for Dacron polyester fabric, cotton, and Razorback, and all the assorted finishing systems out there. There is no STC yet, and may never be, but there is some verbiage (that I don't have in front of me right now-what lousy timing!) that goes on the Form 337, eliminating the need for a field approval. And no, neither do I have the ICA verbiage in front of me, right now...
Their website needs updating. Herr Lanitz was at Oshkosh this year and he showed me the approval letter he'd just received from the FAA. They may have to get their distribution process with betteraircraftfabric in Alaska (traceability, etc.) FAA compliant before they can start selling it for certificated use, though.
Thanks, Glenn! This is a pretty cool system and I'm interested to learn when I can start recovering certified aircraft with it, with similar documentation to using Pollywollydoodlefiber.
I thought the man from the factory would have responded by now, but he sounded pretty busy. In a nutshell, he told me there are about 12 certified aircraft currently approved by the FAA, except they are all gliders and most if not all were out of the country. They submitted a list of over 100 aircraft to the FAA for approval, and are waiting on that. Who knows how long that could take. Hope that helps.