Swordfish:"moisture testing for wooden airframes"
This is very interesting.
I remember testing being done on WW1 airframes of considerable age and that the wood, though dry, retained more than 80% of its strength.
I am a firm believer in wooden airframes and their strength (with resin glues!). For aerobatics I trust wooden spars over metal ones.
But wood needs to be looked after.
I recovered two of my Condors which were built of wood and fabric in the same manner as the Jodel.
I recovered them in cotton fabric.
I will never willingly cover a wooden airframe with Ceconite or Stitts materials.
I have seen too much rot to have confidence in these materials.
If the cotton's rotten the airframe underneath needs looking at
I once changed the fabric on a tailplane because it had been on there 22 years. It was cotton but not rotten!
The woodwork underneath was in perfect condition, the Condor had been hangared all its life.
I recovered it in cotton.
I removed the Ceconite from above the walkway of the Slingsby T67A (wooden RF6B predecessor of the T67M Firefly). Nothing sticks to Ceconite it is a mechanical bond and so galleries form between the fabric and the wood and the fabric itself works like a greenhouse.
There was a lot of rot in there and I scarfed new wood in to repair it.
I have had the fabric off a Jodel wing and found rot in the undercarriage attachment area. In the D1050 Jodel Ambassadeur there is an inset in the top of the wing where the landing gear attaches and water can accumulate in the corners. A metal cover goes around the leading edge to cover this up and for the shape of the wing and so this area is not subject to preflight inspection.
The spar is a box with ply webs and spruce in the corners. It is very strong.
The single seat D9 Jodel has a 9 G wing and can be used for aerobatics.
The two seat D150 Mascaret was also aerobatic.
When I bought my second Condor I was told that two fabric panels in the top of the wing needed replacing... I thought about it, took out my knife and stripped the whole lot off.
The structure underneath was however perfect and so I bought some more DTD575A cotton fabric and recovered the wings, ailerons, rudder and elevators. I did the tailplane later as above.
There was a Cavalier at Delta Airpark and I had the job of checking its new owner out.
This aeroplane looked awful!
The water soaked ailerons had to be removed and totally rebuilt by the new owner.
There was some rot in the wings as well...
It was parked next to the Jodel, out on the damp grass.
Excellent post, MIchaelP. It gives us an insight into wood & fabric structures that's an interesting wake-up for many of us unfamiliar with the subject.
I am wondering if the rot problems can be solved/alleviated by inside storage, as it is damp pretty well year round on the coast. Also, I didn't follow your discussion on Ceconite very well, and was wondering if you could amplify the difference between cotton and Ceconite. Thanks.