|The Great Skyranger Weight-loss Adventure #2|
March 2009: Once de-rigged, the wings were stripped off all fabric to gauge the weight of the old fabric, and to see what needed to be doing to the wings, as a veritable chamber of horrors can be revealed.. Happily, the wings were actually in a very good state. They had been overhauled last in 1986, which isn't long if an aircraft has been kept indoors. Wing is all-wood construction, with two spars, internal rigging and several anti-compression struts at places of potential weakness. A wonder of wooden construction and design!
The old covering weighed 1lb 2oz a square yard, while the replacement will weigh only 3.5 oz - with 88 square yards of covering, there is a major saving to be made right there. Covering will be a new German covering called Oratex, which is very light, very strong, and doesn't require layers of foul-smelling paint and dopes. It is ironed on with a special glue and a domestic iron. Other work needed is a central seatbelt anchorage point (done) and to replace the lift-struts, which is a bit trickier as we had to get hold of the old plans to be able to manufacture new ones. Luckily, the USA Skyranger movement had earlier wrested the plans from a recalcitrant FAA with a Freedom of Information application. We now have copies of all skyranger plans - about 800 of them. And that's as far as we have got!