How to Repair a Tear in the Wing of an RC Airplane

Written by richard toole
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How to Repair a Tear in the Wing of an RC Airplane
You can fix an RC plane wing in one afternoon and fly it the next day. (Lucas Tiedge/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

One of the quickest ways to knock an RC aeroplane out of commission is to damage a wing. Even brand-new RC planes with wing damage are often sold as scrap. Wing repair is not quite as daunting as it may seem and requires fewer supplies than you might think. As long as you have access to some basic modelling tools, an empty cereal box and a little extra balsa wood, you can fix your wing and have your plane back in the sky quickly.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • RC plane
  • Balsa wood (3/32 inch and 1/16 inch sheets)
  • Clamps or clothespins
  • Cardboard from an empty cereal box
  • CA glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Hobby knife
  • Modelling paint
  • Paint brush
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Sandpaper (200 to 400 grit)

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    Repairing the RC Plane Wing

  1. 1

    Find the torn area on the wing. Pull back the wing cover around the tear with your fingers and remove it. (You will re-cover the wing later, so don't be afraid to get rid of the entire wing cover if you need to.) Cut the edges of the torn area away with a hobby knife.

  2. 2

    Look inside the wing for damaged ribs. (Ribs are the support beams in between the upper and lower wing surfaces.)

  3. 3

    Trace the shape of any broken or cracked support ribs onto a piece of cardboard. (Cereal box cardboard is perfect; it is lightweight and is the required thickness.) Place a piece of the cardboard inside the wing next to the damage rib and trace the rib's shape with a pencil or pen.

  4. 4

    Cut the support rib shape out of the cardboard with a pair of scissors. Place the cardboard rib onto a sheet of 3/32 inch balsa wood. Trace the shape onto the balsa wood. Cut the rib shape out of the balsa wood using your hobby knife. Repeat this step for any other damaged ribs.

  5. 5

    Place the new balsa wood rib next to the damaged rib inside the wing. Trim off any jagged edges. Sand the edges until they are smooth.

  6. 6

    Take the new rib out and cover it with a light coat of glue. Put the new rib back into the wing, align it with the damaged rib, and clamp them together. Repeat this process for any and all damaged ribs. Allow the glue to dry overnight. Remove the clamps.

  7. 7

    Measure the area of wing covering that you removed earlier. Cut out the size needed out of 1/16 inch balsa wood. Place the new wing covering onto the wing. Fit it in place by trimming it with hobby knife and sanding it. Remove the covering when you have the correct size. Squeeze a layer of glue along the edges of the piece, as well as the spots where the support ribs meet it. Place the new covering back onto the wing and into place. Clamp the covering in place and allow the glue to dry overnight.

  8. 8

    Remove the clamps from the wing. Paint the wing the same colour as the rest of the plane. Allow the paint to dry before flying the plane.

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