F1A wing covering

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    Daniel Aggers

    Hi all,

    Was having a conversation with a well know modeler and the topic of F1A (and possibly all free flight models) wing coverings. It seems that many are using the heat shrink plastics that give a glass smooth finish to the wing surfaces. He stated that a slightly rough finish such as Polyspan or other doped surface would yield a better glide due to the micro turbulation of the rougher surface. Is there any truth to this? Perhaps a survey on this would be interesting along with the reasons why. I’m sure this has been hashed over countless times but I haven’t found anything on the Forum.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!


    Lee Hines

    Hi Dan,
    Au contraire, FYI, if you search under the heading FAI Models & Flying,
    you will see a subject thread about mid-page related to your query.
    Several fliers have comments re different effects using slick bottom &
    rougher top covering materials.
    Read especially postings by John Buskell and CHE.

    Daniel Aggers

    There you have it…now my brain is starting to go…

    Thanks Lee!

    Dan A


    I got a mention from Lee Hines ! Wow, my life is now complete.

    Yes, there is an effect (positive) by using covering that gives a smooth lower surface and rougher upper surface. On gliders (my only experience) it gives a better glide (flies at more decalage) and even a slightly better launch. The effect is more pronounced on some section than others with generally the thinner, higher cambered sections working better. Other flyers have tried smmoth surfaces around the LE to the turbulator – I haven’t as yet.

    I use Icarex on the top surface with the patern at a specific angle that improves the performance any more – just fly one side with the patern along the wing and the other with it at 45 degrees or so (can’t tell you the magic number I’m afraid) and see the difference. Most people of course don’t belive this one.


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