SHOULD I COVER MY AIRCRAFT?
The prohibitive cost or absence of hangar space has forced many aircraft to be parked outside in all weathers. Well that’s okay … isn’t it?
Well yes … and no. As far as flying goes, the stresses that aircraft are designed to take in flight would have most pilots revisiting their breakfast, but the truth is that light aircraft are not designed, or built, to be kept permanently outside. A five-minute chat with any engineer will confirm that!
The main problems that will surface over time are corrosion and decomposition of composites and plastics. Aircraft are made from a combination of materials;dissimilarmetals,resincomposites, wood, plastics, paint; you name it and it’s in there. In the presence of moisture and sunlight these interact with each other chemically. The result can be extensive and expensive damage of one form or another.
Same thing I’m afraid! Paint doesn’t protect Acrylic or Polycarbonate windows and canopies, and they are damaged by exposure to UV rays in natural sunlight, causing discolouration and micro-cracking (crazing).
Cover as much of your aircraft as you can possibly afford. It’s that simple.
NO! Seriously, please don’t. An aircraft cover has to be soft, non-absorbent and it has to breathe, otherwise you are just introducing another damaging aspect. It has to fit the shape of the aircraft exceptionally well, and it has to have a barrier layer inside to protect the windows from being scratched by dirt and bugs. A well-made cover from a manufacturer that understands the engineering problems of both covers and aircraft will likely cost more in the short term because they will make it properly, but your investment will pay dividends in the condition and value of your aircraft.
If your aircraft is outside, you need a good cover. It really is that simple.
This aircraft had been parked outside for 8 years unmoved due to the owner being unable to fly. I happened to be there the day he uncovered ‘PN’ for the first time and this is the result. We didn’t wash any of the aircraft, this is exactly as the cover came off! The interior was as good as the day it was made (It had been new when the aircraft stopped flying).