Attaching turbulators

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    It’s been a while since the last time I installed a string turbulator.
    The best current methods are?

    Bill Shailor

    I use thinned down Ambroid and a straight-edge.


    Bill has a good system but I suggest you wax the straight edge to keep the glue from sticking to it.

    Paul Crowley


    Thanks for the offerings.
    I did a test on a wornout F1H wing using the thinned Ambroid, I also did a sample using dope. While I can see the benefits of being able to remove it easily for repairs and placement, I found it very tedious and difficult!

    I ended up using CA and first tacking it to the tip/break/root then running a thin bit of it down the length.

    I hope I never have to take it off!!!


    Vasi and others have been using 3M medical tape for years. Is about .020 thick and comes in 2″ wide rolls. Is flesh colored, and at first I thought it was rubber that had been stripped.

    You need to tape some wax paper down to your work bench, adhere the tape, and use a straight edge and razor blade to cut it into .03″ wide strips.

    The advantage is that it has adhesive on the backside. It is not so agressive that when you want to take it off, it comes off clean. You can stretch it to get a straight line, and then press it gently down maintaining the straight line.

    Has anyone done any experimenting to see if it really helps? I am wondering if it is put on most of the time just to look techy?

    I have used the 3M medical tape on my glider and rubber wings when I want to put on a turbulator.

    Looking at some of the string turbulators, it looks like they adhere that to a tape strip, and then apply the tape with string to the wing.


    I always wondered what that stuff was that Vasi puts on his wings, thanks!

    The string I put on my wing has helped tremedously. I can’t say that it has improved dead air time, as I haven’t even consideded that. The most obvious change has been a smoothing of the stalls and a faster return to stable glide afer the zoom.

    But you guys probably already know that!

    Lee Hines

    If you are speaking of turbulator for an F1A or equiv RN aircraft, I use
    a foam bandage tape, stripped to desired width, stretched 10% during
    install. It stays on in weather extremes, can be removed by fingernail
    scraping & is the lightest possible choice, I bet!
    Go to drugstore of choice[Rite-Aid, SavOn, Target, etc.
    TAPE. It is 3M catalog #731, flesh-colored and you can put it on your owies, as well!
    What more could one ask for?

    For smaller size turbs[.008-.014 height], I usually use Dacron line of
    .012 dia. Not as easy to apply as the foam, but not bad.
    [Note: I have not found a thinner foam tape, which would be the ideal thing.]
    I tack one end with CA, give it a bit of tension, tack it to other end of
    surface, give it a spritz of accelerator, hold til secure.
    Now, if your wing is tissue & nitrate dope, you can just use thick dope
    of same type, or some model glue, like Ambroid, to stick it down.
    If the covering is some plastic matl, you might just run a bead of thin CA
    down the turb.
    Caution! this sometimes has problems, like too much, not securing at all
    points, ending lumpy & with voids. Keep your debonder handy!


    Lee Hines

    Actually, Stan B found that foam tape.
    He wondered if it might be good for turbs, so I tried it out & like it best of all.
    Vasi asked what it was, went to drugstore and bought a case, I bet!
    As for when to use a turb or not, the best source of low RN data I know
    is Hank Cole, who sez: trim your bird without turbs, then add them.
    If you need to jack up the stab a bit, it is working! If not, take it off & try
    another size or location. If still not having effect, the bird is self-turbed
    & does not need one in all likelyhood.
    In my experience, only my highest AR gliders[Big AL, Buntero] have shown glidetime improvement with addition of turbs.
    Buntbone & Li’l AL show only stall recovery improvement, that I can see.
    Of course this means they will still be up to try and sniff out that last bit
    of good air, hence time!


    Hi Leeper

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the tip on tape, I will check out the local chemist and seewhat they have.



    Thanks Lee,
    That’s the way to present inormation!


    I fly mostly sport F/F and this may be ‘old hat’ to you pros, but I’ve used automotive striping tape, available at any parts store, on my plastic covered gas models. You can get it in any color and it sticks well to Ultracoat/Monocoat.
    Jim Greenhalgh

    Dean McGinnes

    If you need to jack up the stab a bit, it is working!


    Jack up which end of the stab? Leading or Trailing Edge? 😕

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