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Thread: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

  1. #1

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    Question Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Hello. Another silly question from someone who has never flown a fabric plane before:

    Would flying through some light to moderate rain affect the fabric at all? I wouldn't want to fly through that kind of sustained rain for hours on end, but would a good rain shower here and there hurt the plane at all?

    My idea would be to air the plane out quite considerably with a couple of shop fans in a hangar.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Old3pacer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Nope. Flying through rain should be fine.

  3. #3
    smcnutt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    It might clean it a little but other than that it is fine.
    “Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”
    ― Victor Hugo

  4. #4
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Quote Originally Posted by pilotx86 View Post
    Hello. Another silly question from someone who has never flown a fabric plane before:

    Would flying through some light to moderate rain affect the fabric at all? I wouldn't want to fly through that kind of sustained rain for hours on end, but would a good rain shower here and there hurt the plane at all?

    My idea would be to air the plane out quite considerably with a couple of shop fans in a hangar.

    Thanks for your time.
    Did so several times in the Yukon. No advers effects. Don’t do it with a wood prop though.

  5. #5
    59pacer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    Did so several times in the Yukon. No advers effects. Don’t do it with a wood prop though.
    About 35 yrs ago I was invited to become the spare pilot for a WWI Sopwith Pup team. It's prop had no leading edge protection, was beautifully polished, and turned at about 1900 rpm. On ferry trip with not much fuel left, I had to go through the lightest rain for a few seconds. After shutdown, the prop leading edges looked like they had been hit with a shotgun.
    Fabric has never been a problem.

  6. #6
    andya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Flew through several moderate rain showers down in texas way back in the 90's. once we got thru probably flew at least half to three quarter hour in clear to land at destination. airplane appeared a lot drier than after I wash it and take it around the pattern once. Doesn't hurt them a bit. If you have a little water come in thru the windshield or door frame, with all the air movement I am guessing it evaporates quicker than it would tied up outside when a rain storm goes by. Been in that boat too.
    "Progress is our most important problem"

  7. #7
    Pacer42Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    I fly my Pacer IFR and I'm hitting rain showers several times per year. Over the years I also had some (light) ice encounters and the fabric is fine. I had my prop overhauled a couple of years ago and within the first year the rain took the paint off the prop on the tips.

    Juergen
    Pacer N3342Z

  8. #8
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    Many transports and warbirds of yesteryear had fabric controls. Corsairs, C47/DC3, Super Connie. I’ve been thru heavy icing and North Pacific storms in Connie’s with no ill effects on the fabric. Goodie bird damage was the biggest threat.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    I used to fly the Howard IFR, not a lot but enough to stay current. I used to figure every 2 or 3 years I needed to repaint the leading edges on the wings. Short wing pipers are a little slower, so not so much a problem. As Steve said, rain on wood props will kill them in short order, don’t do that!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flying through rain with a fabric airplane

    I knew there was an advantage to flying slow.

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