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  • Advice needed, wrapping a small Aeroplane.

  • David Gwyndaf Povah

    October 7, 2019 at 7:26 am

    hi all

    we have had a job enquiry to wrap a small private aeroplane they have asked about wrapping in matte black

    the first question is…
    Is this allowed or do you need qualifications etc?
    secondly is there a wrap vinyl range etc specifically for this type of job?

    any help much appreciated!

  • David Hammond

    October 7, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I know Hugh has done some vinyl work on light aircraft, so I am sure he will be along shortly to advise.

    Not sure about a full wrap though :shocked:

  • Hugh Potter

    October 7, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Check with your insurance, it’s unlikely that you (or anything other than an air-side specialist company) will have the relevant cover. I’m 99.9% sure I don’t – despite telling my underwriters that I do work on light aircraft (technically light sport aircraft / microlights).

    On something that has jet or wing mounted engines, I guess the risk is – no matter how unlikely, that something could come off and fly into the engine causing failure, your £10m cover may be enough for the £300k plane and a bit for the pilot and passengers but if it were to crash into a school….. I think that’s why it’s so hard..

    However, I have done a lot of aircraft tails, also a number of fuselage and general go faster graphics / branding. In the main they are a kind of waterproof fabric, a bit like ripstop pvc, a few have been some kind of composite / carbon fibre. If something fails on the tail it is highly unlikely to jam anything or cause problems so I, also, being front engined, anything that might come off would simply fly away… thus the customer, are happy for me to supply and fit.

    On most of the planes I use a regular hi end polymeric wrap film. On the higher spec, faster planes I normally use a cast as they will have a greater temp fluctuation.

    If you’re talking private light aricraft as in a Lear Jet, or similar, I can’t advise. I don’t know if the heights and temperatures will affect things, I suspect it would be ok but, at several hundred miles an hour you need to me more than certain you’r wrapping is on point and not going to fail! Maybe see if you can find out by asking an aircraft engineer.

  • David Gwyndaf Povah

    October 7, 2019 at 10:13 am

    thanks for that Hugh it is something we would like to do but we want to do it properly

    we are going to get in touch with 3m i think and an aircraft engineer our MD is friends with to get some perspective on the subject before we go any further.

  • Darrell Wootton

    October 7, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Not your problem but something that may be worth knowing.

    Depending how much weight is added due to this *modification*? the aircraft (especially if a microlight (with a max take off weight 450KG)) may or may not require re-weighing and possibly a new centre of gravity calculations submitting to CAA / LAA.

    This would be the responsibility of the owner but something to be aware of, depending how much vinyl is used i.e how much additional weight is added to the aircraft by painting it or adding a wrap.


  • Steve Morgan

    October 8, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Just one aspect that you or your customer might consider is the finish. If you cover the whole aircraft in a matt finish it will have an appreciable effect on the maximum speed and equally on the the fuel economy and range.


  • Simon Worrall

    October 12, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    This may not affect the small aircraft in question, but vinyl for planes that fly at high altitudes is perforated with small holes.
    This is to equalise the pressure underneath the vinyl with the low pressure above.
    Otherwise small unnoticed air pockets you might have left while squeegeeing could blow up into large bubbles in the vinyl and cause unexpected changes in the aerodynamics of the plane.

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