Maule fabric tester for testing aircraft fabric.

Quicksilver MX Ultralight Aircraft

Quicksilver MX Fabric Testing

Once, many years ago, when an MX was still hot stuff and I knew who owned the Quicksilver company, I and two friends were standing under the wing of an MX that had just flown into the local airport to be hangared there.

This plane was originally owned by one of the guys there with me. He commented that the new owner had left the plane outside for the past year and we all thought it was just good luck that no storm damage had occurred to the plane. I had lost several planes to a freak wind storm just two years before.

Quicksilver MX ultralight aircraft one of the best selling ultralights in the world

The owner had gone into my hangar to get a Coke from the machine. As the three of us stood there looking the plane over, the third person, not the previous owner asked "I wonder what shape the sails are in?". We then discussed the finger-poking method of testing them.

Since the sail pattern was a Lakeland Custom, mostly white, it didn't show the typical fading that the darker colors did when left out for a year. 

I noted that the sails were probably not in real good condition after being outside for a year and just as I was about to say, don't,,,,,,,,, my friend did. And his whole fist went through the sail!! 

Testing The Fabric On A Challenger

There we were, standing under the wing, with a major hole in it. It surprised me and both guys with me. We then discussed how to tell him that the plane he just flew in, now had a rather large hole in one wing panel. As it turned out, he too, had concerns for the sail, and thanked my friend for 'checking' it for him.

Luckily, I had a stock Lakeland Special MX sail in stock, and had it installed by the next afternoon. The proper tool for doing sail tests is a modified belt tension tester. It has a calibrated spring scale and a special end which has a 1/16 inch diameter flat area, with a 45 degree taper above it.

​The intention is that the small diameter will penetrate the sail and the tapered area will not go on through, just the small 1/16 flay point. This does put a small hole in the sail, but such a hole in many areas is more than acceptable.

When using the tester, it is also possible to press until a minimum reading is obtained and not press until the hole is made.
Typically, a poor sail can be diagnosed by the faded colors and the tester will push through easily without even getting much of a scale deflection. 

Maule Fabric Tester

Maule Fabric tester - A fine quality tool to test fabric covered aircraft for minimum FAA requirements without removing or punching holes in fabric. Also used to test struts for inside rusting as required by FAA on all Piper aircraft with struts.

Belt Tensioner when equipped with a special end can be used to test aircraft fabric

Belt tension tester, can be purchased with special end for testing fabric.

Fabric Testing Ultralight Aircraft Wings - Ultralight aircraft fabric testing. Testing your dacron sail cloth for UV damage. In this issue of the Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer we take a look at Dacron fabric used to cover many of today's ultralight aircraft.

We watch as eastcoatbeaver shows us a very simple way of checking your fabric. Then we go to Airventure and Steve Marhle shows talks to us about some of the things we should look for when considering buying or flying in an ultralight.

Then we visit with Bever Borne who shows us a more scientific way of checking your ultralight aircraft's fabric.