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Pumpkin drop event

Custom Made Wing Bags

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#1
As planes get bigger, the wings get bigger and easier to damage, especially when transporting them to the field. With a former vehicle (Ford Expedition), I was able to make a simple rack to hold them up against the roof while driving, but my current vehicle is a work van and it doesn't offer the same opportunity. It's very easy for an unsecured wing to move around and get hangar rash while driving, so I decided to finally make bags to transport the bigger wings.

To test out some construction practices I picked the wings from my Funtana S90. They're big, oddly shaped, and one has recently been restored and I want to keep it looking nice until I finish the rest of the re-build. There are many materials that can be used to build a bag - heck, you could use DTFB and build a hard-sided case if you want! Some use fleece, moving blankets, quilting fabric, etc., but I'm going with silver insulating bubble wrap. It comes in 24" and 48" widths, and lengths from 10' to 100'. A 48" x 10' roll would be enough for this project, and cost about $20 on Amazon. If I had a better plan worked out before starting construction I'd have saved a bunch of material, but this is a learning experience. :)

Below is the finished bag, complete with a hardwood dowel handle. I tried sewing the material as others have done, because it looks great. However, my sewing skills are severely lacking and it looked worse than bad so I removed the edging material and went to the old stand-by: TAPE. Reinforced strapping tape was used to hold the individual pieces together, and once I was sure the size was right I went back over the seams with yellow Duck Tape. Tape holds incredibly well to this material, so I'm not worried about it coming loose over time. To the left of the picture you can see some additional straps on the end. These have Velcro on them and allow me to secure the wings inside the bag.

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With the access door open you can see the wings separated by a single loose piece of the bubble wrap. I may come back and add a layer of fleece to protect the top & bottom of the wings from light scratches from the bubble wrap. The overall bag is just wide enough to allow that extra material. Also note the visible end of the pouch I added for the wing tube. Once the plane is repaired I'll add another small pouch inside the wing bag for any other hardware I need to fly. In theory this should help me avoid getting to the field without everything I need to fly.

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With the end open the bag is a little floppy, but is plenty rigid when closed. I may take a couple cheap hardwood dowels and run them along the door opening to help support the material as I'm not sure how well it'll stand up on it's own over time.

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I know Willsonman did a tutorial on using moving blankets, which would be a welcome addition to this thread. Anybody else have anything to protect their wings?
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#2
A side note regarding the silver bubble wrap insulation - if you try and bend it the air bubbles will make it a little difficult to get a good, straight bend. Popping the bubbles lets the material bend much more easily in a straight line. Instead of trying to pop each individual bubble with a pin or knife I simply use my "wood pecker" tool and run it along the line where I want it to bend. The wood pecker is designed to poke a bunch of little holes in balsa to help avoid trapping air under the covering. I haven't used it for that purpose yet, but it does work very well on bubble wrap. :)
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#3
I have done basically the same thing, With an odd shaped wing like you have does make it more difficult. I will cut to size for the wings leaving extra room cut a section to keep the wings separated. One side will have a flap left on and then glue all edges together made large enough making glueing flat easy then using Velcro for the flap. If wanted then tape can be run around the edges but so far I have not had to do that.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#5
The same technique I used for the Funtana 90S wing bag was used for my Goldberg Eagle 2. This one-piece wing has a bit of dihedral so I had to get a little creative for the wing to fit properly. Like the other bag, it ain't pretty, but it is pretty effective. :) I'll add a handle next to complete the job.

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