Decathlon Park a Decathlon on the Ramp?

Feb 20, 2020
It took me a minute or two to figure this one out...

Awning fabric is no more or less UV resistant than any other fabric. .../
It is sacrificial but over a 5 -10 year period depending on the fabric, where you live and how much exposure to the sun it receives. If you live in a dry, sunny climate like the desert southwest, then you want the best UV protection you can get. If you live in a cloudy, wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, then you want to place a premium on water repellent traits. If you live in the south where it's hot, humid and often sunny, you need both plus great mildew resistance. If you live Florida, which has all the downsides of the south plus salt air hitting you from both sides, you just need to move.

Polyester fabric used on aircraft, whether it is called Ceconite, Stits Poly-Fiber, or Superflight is coated with UV inhibitors to extend the life of the fabric. If the aircraft is hangared, the structure under the fabric will probably need attention before the fabric itself goes bad. Similarly, high quality awning fabric also has UV inhibitors in the top coating to both extend the fabric life and protect whatever is underneath. Which is to say not all fabrics are equally UV resistant.

Even with the same polyester or vinyl-polyester composite fabric, lighter colors will reflect UV rays better than darker colors, and the surface will stay cooler. Those are two of the reasons that you often see white so prominently used on aircraft, especially fabric covered aircraft and composite aircraft. For composite aircraft it is more often than not a certification requirement and you'll find composite aircraft with temperature gauges on the spars, with a prohibition against flying if the spar temperature is too high.

The same applies to covers. I used blue on my motor glider covers because a) it was aluminum and not composite, and didn't have the temperature issues, and b) It came off the same roll of fabric I bought for the boat project and was more cost effective. But....if I were making covers for a fabric covered aircraft I'd use a light color, like a light gray, which reflects light well, but also doesn't show dirt as bad as white.
Feb 20, 2020
6-700 dollars a month? Compared to what for tie down? $150?

Time to re-do the analysis. $550/month is $6600/year, without checking the caccle lator. Five years outside gives you over $30 grand in the bank - isn't that enough to restore some wood and recover?

Again, my personal Cub was outside from 1966 through 1980, and then again for five years starting in 2003 while I waited for a second hangar. Last cover was 1976. Paint in 1981. Still looks better than most.
At $600-$700 per month, I'd have second thoughts about a hangar as well. I pay $200 per month for a 40 ft x 40 ft end bay of a four bay hangar. That 40 x 40 space has room for both a Citabria and a short wing piper with no overlap. Covered tie downs are $100 and an open air tie down is $50.


Staff member
Mar 27, 2018
New Jersey, USA

Have you seen those covers used long term and be effective? I'm asking because I've never seen a set in person. I never heard of anyone using them, so I thought it was just an "Alaska" thing for snow and frost and such. I had no idea they protected against UV. What are they made of? Please provide more detail for those of us who have never experienced them. The idea that they might resolve this type of issue is fascinating.
A friend of mine had a Cub recently that was parked outside with full covers. I also went to look at a Citabria when I was shopping for mine that was tied down outside with full covers.

The Cub had some tube corrosion at one point and needed repairs but was otherwise fine. The Citabria looked great once we got the covers off.

In my humble opinion, the biggest drawback to the covers is the time it takes to take them off and to then put them back on. That and any damage that might occur if they're left loose and it's windy like someone said above.

Other than that, even just a complete cabin cover would be very helpful, that goes up and over the wing roots and fully covers the windshield. Unless someone's gone nuts with a tube of silicone caulk, the windshield and wing roots shouldn't really be considered water tight. Water resistant isn't even a good way to describe it.