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Old 06-25-2012, 08:29 PM's Avatar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: WA
Posts: 995
Default go fast... use some speed tape ;)

I recently ran my first SARL race... great fun, come on out and play!

For the first race I decided to run pretty much exactly as I would normally... no speed tape or special fittings, etc. to get a baseline. I compromised a bit on this since my tanks were not full and I removed most all of my baggage for the race. I did leave my Oxygen bottle but pulled my flight bag which included tools. Okay idea at the time, but after Brian had to divert for a precautionary landing with engine trouble and ended up having to scrounge around for and hour to get a screwdriver and plier just to remove his cowling, I have decided to include my flight bag and tools as mandatory cross country race gear

Several racers had gap tape of various kinds here and there... beyond looking the part of real racer I figured that it must actually work so I decided to give it a try.

I had a roll of Bowlus Maxi Gap Seal Tape ( that the glider guys use sitting around the hangar on the shelf that I had once used to cover up some tip cracking on my Cessna... finally I have a chance to use it as intended!

The tape is very thin and goes on and comes off especially easily. For my first test run I taped up my tips, the wingtip lens, the fuel caps, the tie-down holes, the seams of the wheel pants, and one of the air vents.

Results... a clear increase in top end speed in excess of 2 mph... perhaps as high as 4 but I will need to repeat the run at a couple of different altitudes to stand by the higher value...

Others have used gaffers tape and I hope to give that a try too.

Other experiences?

Best places to tape up?

A plug for the upcoming AirVenture Cup from Mitchell, SD to Oshkosh... this one way run looks to be a very well organized event that includes lots of support including all of the local transportation, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner the day before the race, a breakfast on the morning of the race, a lunch at the finish provided by the local EAA chapter, a big dinner banquet at Oshkosh, and a weekly wrist pass to the big show, along with the usual SWAG

Consider joining the AVC run when making your plans to Oshkosh this year!

RV7 powered by a lycoming thunderbolt IO-390
turning a whirlwind HRT prop

with more hours flying than building... 2,535 on the hobbs!
ORCA Flight
Race 771

Last edited by : 06-25-2012 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:53 PM
Christopher Murphy Christopher Murphy is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: colorado
Posts: 932
Default Air Venture Cup

I highly recommend the AVC race. If you are anywhere close to MHE, flying the race is a great way to get to OSH. The pre race atmosphere at MHE is fantastic, the race is exciting, and if I had the time off I would definitly be in the race. I haven't seen any RV reds on the entry list yet.

Chris M RACE 34
RV-4 "Mr. Twister"
Pitts S1S "Mexican Red" sold and missed
Mr. Twister Airshows
Rocky Mountain Renegades
the mission... have fun.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:39 AM
Bob Axsom Bob Axsom is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,685
Default I use Gaffers Tape just because I have it

I had to satisfy a minimum order requirement When I bought some a few years ago for some task. It is thick, it leaves a residue that needs to be cleaned off with mineral spirits or other solvent, it does not come off easy when you try to get it off but it will partially come off in a 200+ mph wind and I have not measured any speed gain from using it. I think what you tested must be fantastic - don't waste you time on gaffers tape.

I have entered the AirVenture Cup Race.

Bob Axsom
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:36 AM
rvmills's Avatar
rvmills rvmills is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Georgetown, TX
Posts: 2,156


First, its fun to watch the addiction set in...welcome to racing!

I also feel I measure a 2-3 knot gain with tape...I've measured it a few times in before and after tests. (Hey Bob, I think the gaffer's tape may be too thick...perhaps. We need to do a taping comparison/training day together I can steal other good ideas from ya! )

My fave is 3M 471 tape, 2" wide. Best price so far is Amazon. Lots of colors, including red Stephen. Red is among the cheapest, white among the most expensive (not sure why). This stuff molds and shapes to curves easily, and has enough stretch to conform well. Better if ya put it on in a warm environment (cold makes it a bit brittle when applying. Good adhesion (if the surface is clean), with not much residue left afterwards (and I leave mine on for pretty long periods. One exception is the clear version. I don't recommend clear, as it yellows very fast, and becomes harder to remove, leaving more residue than the rest. Perhaps its the sun getting through the clear...not sure, but it just doesn't work as well as the colored varieties.

Where? Pretty much anywhere there's a seam. Access panels, tips, cowl halves, cowl aft edge, fairings (tail, gear leg), oil door, gas caps, fuel drains...the list goes on (I've been accused of being a bit obsessive with tape...once removed it all at once, and had a ball of it sized between a volleyball and a basketball!) Oh, don't forget the openings around the elevator and rudder hinges. But don't buy the expensive mylar from wings and wheels (sorry)...Jason Rovey discovered that Smart Water bottles (the brand) has different sizes that are perfect for the radius of those openings. I copied him...cut to fit, tape to hold (with more 471).

I also highly recommend AVC. Mitchell was great 2 years ago...very festive environment. Great mix of SARL, Reno Sport Class, Spruce Creek and other folks...very fun! I have a conflicting assignment this year pre-OSH with Falcon and the boys, or I'd be MHE-OSH AVC for sure!

Its a disease...hello, my name is Bob...

Race 43
Bob Mills
RV-S6 "Rocket Six" N49VM
Cross Country-Marshall Field (07TS)
Georgetown, TX
President/Sport 49, Sport Class Air Racing
Trustee, Formation Flying Inc (FFI)
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:57 AM
Sig600 Sig600 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KRTS
Posts: 1,798

I can attest to Bob's affinity for tape. It would not be hard to convince the uninitiated that his plane was actually held together with the stuff.
Next?, TBD
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:10 AM
Bob Axsom Bob Axsom is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,685
Default Hi my name is Bob and I'm an Air Racer

I like that. Excuse me while I check out Amazon's stock of dark blue 3M 471. I had a very informative conversation with Red Hamilton at Ephrata before the GNAR III. He has me thinking in the direction of more power.

Bob Axsom
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:47 AM
hydroguy2's Avatar
hydroguy2 hydroguy2 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Townsend, Montana
Posts: 3,179

Originally Posted by Bob Axsom View Post
I like that. Excuse me while I check out Amazon's stock of dark blue 3M 471. I had a very informative conversation with Red Hamilton at Ephrata before the GNAR III. He has me thinking in the direction of more power.

Bob Axsom
Thinking?...10 more minutes waiting for your Cod lunch special and you guys would have started ordering parts and tearing down your motor.
Retired Dam guy. Life is good.
Brian, N155BKsold but bought back.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:19 AM
N8RV's Avatar
N8RV N8RV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
Posts: 1,186
Default Tape prices

With Nasty's recommendation, I thought I'd check out Amazon's selection of 3M tapes. I mean, if they had some GRAY tape, I just might give the AVC a try.

First off, you guys can relax. They don't have gray of any variety, so I won't be racing.

However, I did have to wonder how Amazon does their pricing. A 36-yard roll of black 1/2" 471 tape runs $13.71. However, a 36-yard roll of black 3/4" tape is $817.91! Must be what Bob Axom uses so much of and the price reflects the demand.

You guys have fun racing. I'll just keep putzing along ...
Don McNamara
Peoria, AZ

Builder: RV-8 "Smokey"
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:27 PM
the_other_dougreeves the_other_dougreeves is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Dallas, TX (ADS)
Posts: 2,180

Bowlus tape is used by many glider pilots who assemble (and install and remove tape) every weekend. Fairly low residue, slightly stretchy, durable.

Doug "The Other Doug Reeves" Reeves
CTSW N621CT - SOLD but not forgotten
Home Bases LBX, BZN
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:53 AM
hendrik hendrik is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Posts: 182

On my glider I use tape similar to Bowlus for the wings and stabilizer, i.e. parts that are rigged/derigged every day. For the leading edge of mylar tape seals we use Tesa 4104. It can't be streched like the Bowlus tape, but it is only half as thick and can stay on the plane for years without leaving residue. If you buy it from glider places like Wings And Wheels, you'll get white tape. But in fact it's available in various colors, even transparent.
Club-Libelle: flying
RV-8: on hold (new job , new home , no workshop (yet) )
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