Aircraft Restoration Project
What is a Microlight ?
There are three main types of microlight; the flexwing type which consists of a delta wing similar to a hang glider with a ‘trike’ unit suspended underneath it; the 3-axis (or fixed wing) type which looks more like a conventional aeroplane; powered parachutes which have a ram air canopy below which is suspended a wheeled power unit in which the pilot and passenger sit.
Aircraft Restoration Project.
Follow us here at Tint Studio as we set about restoring to glorious flying condition a Flex Wing Microlight aircraft registration mark MWZR or, as we’ll simply call her, Zulu Romeo.
We’ll post regular updates and photos of Zulu Romeo as we take her through the strip down process refurb & finally the rebuild project with the ultimate goal of getting Zulu Romeo airworthy once again. During this rebuild project, I will be resuming flight training again, something I was doing before work commitments stepped in and a much needed move to bigger premises halted one’s flying ambitions. Anyway, the last time she flew was way back in 2008 when her previous owner took her for a flight around the North East of England over Seaton Carew. Unfortunately for Zulu Romeo’s owner at the time, serious illness struck and Zulu Romeo flew her last flight. That was back in 2008 and since then Zulu Romeo has been grounded as her permit to fly expired. Her previous owner was hoping to recover from his illness and resume flying but sadly it was not to be.
Zulu Romeo is a Quasar 503 Microlight aircraft built in 1992 by Solar Wings Aviation. A 2 seater aircraft the Quasar was seen at that time as the high end of microlight Flex-wing flying. One notable observation is the engine is fully enclosed with an engine cowling so the standardised look of microlights had a fresh new custom look.
History: Built By Solar Aviation in 1992. Total hours logged 397 hrs. - Tint Studio
I purchased Zulu Romeo in May 2018 after seeing her for sale and after a steady run down from the North East Zulu Romeo sits silently in hangar 4 waiting for the day when she’s given freedom of the sky once more. It’s quite a way off but a bucket list project I’ve dreamt of for years.
The strip down of Zulu Romeo has now well & truly begun. After weeks of Quasar gazing the work finally began firstly with the removal of the Fairings and the aircraft instruments photographing and labelling each individual wire and connector. To make sure nuts bolts & washers were correctly maintained I purchased and fitted one of those storage bin racks with the blue and yellow plastic bins just to keep parts in a safe place. Any parts deemed well used will be replaced with brand new parts readily available from the P&M parts dept. Having the Quasar parts manual handy is also another way of keeping tabs of what goes where.
So after removing the instruments it was a simple case of removing the now empty fairing/console which is looking tired and weathered even though Zulu Romeo’s previous owner had painted her red over her natural Quasar white. The red looked ok but upon closer inspection the orange peel effect gave her that quick spray look. I took the top fairing console to a local body shop who inspected the paintwork job and pointed out that painted parts hadn’t been coated in primer beforehand and some sections had the paint simply peeling away so the whole aircraft paint scheme needed some renovation. The body shop guy then suggested a whole vinyl wrap to the aircraft instead of paint. After all, that is my trade and with the aircraft getting a rub down the chosen vinyl would stick like a barnacle to a boat. I was going to put it sticks like **** to a blanket but we’ll keep things clean .Good thinking that. Now all I need to do is choose a colour or a combination of colour and texture. Shouldn’t be too hard surely?
So after consulting both son’s Kris & Ryan, the general consensus was actually RED. So we’re going from spray paint Red to vinyl chrome effect vinyl in Red from 3M. It’s a lovely deep almost metallic red which outside in the sunshine looks quite stunning and it looks like paint from a paint specialist. It’s flexible yet gives strength and hides minor blemishes perfectly. Before going ahead with the aircraft wrap I did contact the CAA first who gave the all clear but pointed me in the right direction of the BMAA’s technical department who also gave the all clear. Remember, this is only applied to the aircrafts fairings and therefore would not effect the aircrafts integrity in any way. Safety is everything.
The cockpit console is now rubbed down silky smooth after numerous wet & dry applications and the vinyl wrap is then applied heat shrinking the vinyl in place ensuring a smooth finish. The beauty of vinyl wrapping is that unlike paint it’s therefore not permanent so if you require a new colour scheme on your mode of transport then wrap can be easily removed and peeled back and wrapped in a different colour or better still, a combination of colours to give that unique bespoke look. With an extra pair of hands the finished cockpit console looks awesome and here we can show you the before during and after pictures just to give you an idea of what can now be achieved.
Anyway, check out the photo’s of Zulu Romeo.
Happy Reading 🙂