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Thread: Fabric Test

  1. #1
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Fabric Test

    Did anyone else read in Vintage magazine about Inspect and Test Aircraft Fabric?

    It recommends testing fabric with a Maule tester regularly, including Dacron. I have a Maule tester but haven't used it in decades.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

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    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Did anyone else read in Vintage magazine about Inspect and Test Aircraft Fabric?

    It recommends testing fabric with a Maule tester regularly, including Dacron. I have a Maule tester but haven't used it in decades.
    I dropped my membership to Vintage.

    Who wrote the article?

    I had seen questionable articles in KitPanes several years ago but none recently and not seen any when I was a member of Vintage.

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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    Did anyone else read in Vintage magazine about Inspect and Test Aircraft Fabric?

    It recommends testing fabric with a Maule tester regularly, including Dacron. I have a Maule tester but haven't used it in decades.
    I thought those tests have become controversial and a ham fisted A&P can do more damage than get diagnostic info.


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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    I dropped my membership to Vintage.

    Who wrote the article?

    I had seen questionable articles in KitPanes several years ago but none recently and not seen any when I was a member of Vintage.
    Robert G Lock. The article was in their "How To?" column. He also regularly writes "The Vintage Mechanic". I believe he knows his stuff. He quotes TSO (Technical Standard Order) C-14 and C-15. He recommends that you test to 50 or 60 pounds depending on the wing loading of aircraft. He only uses the Maule tester after using a strong light and it shows through from the inside. He tests the top surfaces. The rounded surface on the Maule tester should not hurt the fabric but, may leave a mark or crack the paint.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Tnathan View Post
    I thought those tests have become controversial and a ham fisted A&P can do more damage than get diagnostic info.


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    Good point.

    I think that was one of the reasons he wrote this article.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  6. #6
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    I dropped my membership to Vintage.

    Who wrote the article?

    I had seen questionable articles in KitPanes several years ago but none recently and not seen any when I was a member of Vintage.
    I can't keep up with all my aircraft subscriptions. I wasn't getting much out of Sport Aviation since I can't use many of the cool things experimental aircraft can use. At Osh I was encouraged to keep my membership in EAA through the Vintage association. I've done this for a number of years. Vintage magazine is bi monthly and has less articles and lots of great pictures. But, my Vintage membership number is not like an EAA number. I'll find out if they accept it at Air adventure this year.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

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    Default Fabric Test

    None of the STCs for Dacron based fabric call for any fabric test in the ICAs that I can recall. Visual inspection of the coatings to be sure raw fabric isnít exposed to sunlight, but I donít recall seeing any requirement to use a Maule or Sebouth tester on Dacron.

    Correction, just looked at the Ceconite manual. It says a Maule tester can be used on areas where ďbig chunksĒ of the coating has come off. Poly Fiber manual says the same. Not sure when those revisions were made, but they say only on the raw fabric, not fabric with dope or poly fiber coatings.


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    Last edited by dgapilot; 11-25-2021 at 05:53 PM.

  8. #8
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    None of the STCs for Dacron based fabric call for any fabric test in the ICAs that I can recall. Visual inspection of the coatings to be sure raw fabric isnít exposed to sunlight, but I donít recall seeing any requirement to use a Maule or Sebouth tester on Dacron.

    Correction, just looked at the Ceconite manual. It says a Maule tester can be used on areas where ďbig chunksĒ of the coating has come off. Poly Fiber manual says the same. Not sure when those revisions were made, but they say only on the raw fabric, not fabric with dope or poly fiber coatings.


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    This author says TSO C-15, 14 are still in play regardless of the type of fabric. He also says the old Seyboth punch tester has been replaced by the Maule. I bought my Maule tester in the early 70's but, have not used it since Dacron has been the standard. But, I find this interesting. He does point out that he does NOT use the tester unless the bright light shows through from the inside the fabric.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Fabric Test

    None of the Dacron fabrics have TSO certification. They are all PMA. Since they donít have TSO, the standards associated with the TSO do not apply. AMS 3806 only applies to cotton fabric.


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    Default Fabric Test

    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    None of the Dacron fabrics have TSO certification. They are all PMA. Since they donít have TSO, the standards associated with the TSO do not apply. AMS 3806 only applies to cotton fabric.


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    Interesting discussion. I thought it would be nice to have a tester that could give me an objective measure of fabric life. But as I looked into it, punch tests seemed controversial. And now with Dacron/polyfiber, i was told the fabric is not the shortest time limited component any more. I keep mine in a hanger minimizing uv and rain/snow/ice to protect it. I donít recall where this crawled into my head but I thought someone once told me that well maintained Dacron fabric should last 30 years. So the whole idea of having an a&p taking an ice pick to my fabric annually has paled for me.

    Actually I was told the new issue will be that fabric can stay on too long concealing corrosion issues that would have been historically identified when the shorter life cotton would have failed. I wonder if folks will actually start removing serviceable fabric to inspect/repair corrosion. Havenít heard anyone say so but is Interesting to think about.


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    Last edited by Tnathan; 11-26-2021 at 09:45 AM.

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