Sun / UV Exposure

Forums: 

There's a chance I will not be able to Hanger my Legacy due to Hanger Shortage at new airport location.

My question is opinions and facts on degradation of (breakdown) of aircraft being exposed to direct sun for extended period of time.

To date aircraft has always been hangered.

Thanks

 Steve Allen

Hi Steve,

Hi Steve,

I have kept a Cirrus outside for many years, in Colorado, as hangar space here is unavailable or exorbitantly expensive (Telluride, CO) .   I now have a Lancair IV, but it's in for an engine rebuild, so being kept inside for the time being.   I kept the Cirrus covered with almost complete covers most of the time, and really didn't get a lot of chaffing from the covers, so long as they were strapped fairly securely.  That said, It also had significant periods exposed to sun, and I did not notice a lot of oxidation or dulling.  This may have been in part due to ceramic coating.   I feel that with a high quality ceramic coat, you'll greatly reduce your UV damage.  There are specific ceramic coatings made for rubber trim, as well.  I see no reason not to use automotive ceramic products for these applications, and will be applying ceramic coating to my Lancair IV, as well, immediately after it is repainted.  I have found that although there is some increased dust blown around, keeping a plane outside has not been bad, and I really have not seen much wear as a result.  Control-surface locks will be needed for Lancairs, and I would definitely cover the canopy, even if all the rest is ceramic coated.  If you put a sun-reflecting shade in the windows they're a pain to carry around and fit each one into each window, etc.  A simple canopy cover is great to keep the acrylic from receiving any sun when it's parked, and the interior will be kept as good as inside.  As for pre-heating, I would fly four seasons and we have on-ramp plug-ins...so I was able to always preheat the engine very well, prior to start.  I used an insulated cowl cover (Bruce's covers) and insulated prop cover in the colder seasons, and had Tanis system built into the CIrrus.  I'll put a preheater on my Lancair as well.  My A&P (who is an AI and an aerospace engineer) does not feel that heat soaking the entire engine is really needed, and that heating up the oil in the sump is all that's really important.  I don't know if I'm comfortable with this (I've had Reiff which I installed on one airplane, and Tanis from the Cirrus factory, and my own very-extensive pre-heat system I built in another experimental).  I've been kind of focused on pre-heat systems for many years and feel that being able to plug into electrical power (or at least a large battery pack) and preheat the engine well is important.  Also, much research on preheating all the time vs only before flying has left me with the impression that it's almost certainly fine to leave it plugged in all the time, but a complete waste of energy.  If you're parked in a spot with Wifi, you can get a $20 outdoor Wifi switch from Amazon and control the switch from anywhere else that has Wifi connection, allowing you to turn on the heater from home / wherever you may be.   My plan is to ceramic coat everything (NO de-icing panels!!), keep a cover over the cowling when I'm flying frequently, and a full cover over the rest when I'm not, gust locks on the control surfaces / stick, and pre-heat.  I think it saves me a HUGE amount on hangar expenses, but I don't have a shop to work in.  Biggest problem with keeping a plane outside for me:  no shop.  Uggh.  That part sucks!

 

WOW, that was worth the price

WOW, that was worth the price of admission! Peter cold won't be my concern (never freezes at location), damage to the fiberglass, resins, carbon fiber is. I have had to keep my Piper Saratoga outside for years, I keep it covered whenever I'm not in it. I have a Bruce's canopy cover for my Legacy as a believer in never exposing the interior to the UV. If I relocate this aircraft I doubt I can acquire a long term hanger for it. 

Your response is a perfect example of the benefit and definition for the purpose of a Forum. 

Thanks

Steve Allen