Frequently Asked Questions

The distilled knowledge of years of experience...

This page is updated as questions are submitted - please keep them coming in!

The questions below have all been asked by our clients.

1. How do Cambrai Covers choose fabrics?

The answer is really simple - we look at every outdoor fabric we can find! Read a Technical Specification here

2. But isn't Acrylic 'old technology' fabric?

Well, lets look at that...

Nylon was first made by DuPont in 1935. Polyester came from the same laboratory in 1936, although it was developed in Britain from about 1941 into a fabric called Terylene. In 1946 DuPont bought back the rights and produced Dacron...

Acrylic was discovered in 1941 but not developed into a fabric until the early 1950's, so in realtive terms Acrylic is 'new' technology!

Look at it this way, Cotton and Wool have been around for thousands of years, so they are as 'old technology' as you will find. Anyone that has suffered the indignity of Nylon shirts will tell you that cotton and wool are the best materials for the job they have to perform - namely that of making great feeling clothes that are comfortable to wear. In our extensive experience, Acrylic is probably the the best fabric to use for aircraft covers - it makes a first-rate protection for your aircraft.

3. Will Cambrai Covers damage my aircraft?

No! Aircraft finishes can be easily damaged and for this reason the fabrics we use at Cambrai Covers are very carefully chosen and manufactured to be soft, non-abrasive and chemically and solvent inert. It is of the utmost importance that fabrics used on aircraft have been carefully researched - not all 'outdoor' fabrics are suitable. Unlike most other applications, aircraft covers are actually in contact with the surface that they are designed to protect. In marine applications, for instance, covers are usually stretched over a frame, or attached to the hand rails - they do not touch the boat surface. For this reason it cannot be assumed that 'marine' fabrics - or just any 'outdoor' fabric - is suitable for an aircraft cover. They are not!

4. Will Cambrai Covers damage my Windscreen? - See also (6) below...

No! We have developed a lining fabric that we believe is unique in our industry. You should always clean your aircraft before fitting covers, as its all too often trapped dirt that does the damage, NOT the cover itself. But in the real world we dont, so the wrong choice of windscreen protection will grind bugs and grit into your windscreen. Not pretty. Cambrai lining wont do this. How do we know? We have covers all over the world, from desert to arctic circle and its proven in active service. What we do know is that Microfibre and satin - although they feel soft - simply dont work. It isnt the softness that is the keyWhat is Cambrai lining fabric? Sorry, that's our little secret!

5. You say that the fabric is soft...surely that means it will wear quickly?

No! Fabrics are tested using something called a 'Rub Test' In these tests a sample of fabric is rubbed against a test surface to see how many cycles - or 'rubs' - it takes to wear the fabric. Its a comparison test, so fabric A will be compared to the result of fabric B. Acrylic fabric has lower 'cycle' numbers in 'rub' tests. But often the tests do not compare like with like. Any fabric made from Spun Fibres - lots of very fine fibres spun into yarn from which the fabric is woven - will wear more quickly than 'Monofilament' fabric, which is woven from single, thick filaments similar to fine fishing line.

However it should not be forgotten that in a 'Rub Test' one surface or the other is being worn away!

If fabric wear was a problem our covers would not last the 7 years or more that we regularly see! If you see a manufacturer say that their fabric is 'harder' or 'wears less' than acrylic ask yourself this question: "What is wearing?" If you are honest, you might not like the answer...

Also the amount of 'wear' is very definitely dependent upon two factors:

  1. How well the cover fits. Years of experience ensures that Cambrai Covers patterns are very carefully cut to fit the aircraft in order that a snug and accurate fit is achieved. This will prevent any movement of the cover due to wind - usually the cause of any surface abrasion and wear that does occur. It is vital that the covers are strapped down tightly! They are well designed to easily cope with the strap tension, and the covers are designed to fit well when the straps are tight!

  2. How well the cover has been fitted to your aircraft. It is vital that you read the fitting instructions before fitting the cover for the first time to ensure that the proper adjustments are made. Done once - done always.

6. But if the fabric is so soft, why do you put fleece linings in the windscreen and canopy areas?

It is true, in Cambrai Covers you will find that vulnerable windscreen and canopy areas have an internal lining. It serves a real purpose. Lets be honest, we don't all clean our aircraft as well as we should before putting the covers on. A firm fabric surface will trap hard particles of dirt between the perspex and the fabric, and over time could potentially create scratches. By fitting the correct type of liner, contamination is NOT ground into the windscreen. In Yorkshire we have a saying - 'Belt and Braces'. It works - our experience has proved it so.

7. One windscreen manufacturer advises their customers NOT to fit covers...why?

Well, after a little research we understand why. This well-respected and highly professional American company had witnessed aircraft windscreens damaged even though covers had been fitted. Their experience led them to realise that the damage was caused by the covers, and said so on their website. When we researched the problem we found that a covers made from bonded fabric had been fitted to these aircraft. Bonded fabrics are manufactured using an adhesive to bond two layers of dissimilar fabric together. In sunshine the fabric heats up - potentially releasing some of the un-cured solvent from the adhesive layer. It was the solvent that caused the damage to the windscreen material, causing cracking and clouding. When we provided the company with our research data, they actually modified their website, as this link shows! Great Lakes Aero Products Incidentally, they are a great company to deal with...drop them a line.

So what is the answer?

Not all two-layer fabrics are made this way! Make sure that your cover is supplied by a reputable and highly experienced manufacturer that is aware of this problem. A company like Cambrai Covers!

Our fabrics are single layer and of the highest quality. We do NOT use:

8. Are Cambrai Covers Waterproof?

Yes. To strictly adhere to the definition of waterproof, a fabric is submitted to a 'Static Head Test': a sample of fabric is trapped in a chamber at the base of a long tube. The tube is progressively filled with water until the weight of the column of water is sufficient to force it through the weave of the fabric. The height of the column is used as a measure of the fabric's level of 'waterproofness'. The fabrics that we use cannot be 100% waterproof, as they must breath to allow excess humidity to escape from the cabin and inside of the cover. Our fabrics are so good at this that a wet aircraft will dry underneath the cover! If we were to use completely waterproof fabric, any water trapped inside the cockpit would stay there - which is very, very bad for your aircraft. For further information read the article on this site called 'Covering Aircraft'.

9. But if Cambrai Covers are waterproof, do they 'Breathe', and why is so important?

Time to smash a myth. Our customers regularly ask us if we use coated fabrics. As you will already have read, the answer is NO. We use only uncoated fabrics. The understanding behind this question is that 'coated fabrics do not breathe'. We have even read this on a fabric manufacturers website.

This information is wrong - there are many coated fabrics that breathe! For instance, there is a highly respected fabric called 'Nautex' by Sattler Fabrics, which is designed for marine use. Nautex is a breathable coated acrylic fabric.

At Cambrai Covers we choose to use only uncoated Fabrics as sometimes the coating can be a little harsh for aircraft surfaces, also we prefer to maximise the fabrics' ability to pass some air back and forth through the weave, helping to keep aircraft dry under the cover.

The fabric that we use is so good that even if your aircraft is wet inside the cockpit, over a period of time it will dry out and that awful 'mouldy' smell will disappear!

10. Do Cambrai Covers protect from ice and snow? See for yourself!

As you can see, these covers have kept all the ice off the aircraft, saving hours defrosting your aircraft, large cost of aircraft de-icing fluid and maybe scratching the finish into the bargain! But with fitted covers you spend minutes taking the covers off - no damage is done and you can go flying!

11. Do your covers include Tie-Down points?

No! There is only one way to properly tie an aircraft down, and that is in the way the manufacturer intended! Nearly all aircraft have recognised tie-downs built into the airframe design, and these are the ONLY places you should restrain an aircraft. To do otherwise may well but load strains on the aircraft where they were never intended to be, and you can damage the airframe - possibly permanently! All Cambrai Covers allow access to the aircraft tie-down points so that the aircraft may be restrained in the proper manner.

What about helicopter blades? Rotor blades are designed to be restrained by fabric blade caps with straps that attach to a fixed ground point or back to the airframe. Please read this note carefully! Helicopter rotors must NEVER be pulled down under tension! They must always be allowed to move up and down a small amount - loading the blades at the tips will damage the blades beyond repair! ONLY tighten the straps enough to take the majority of movement out of the flapping hinges - ALWAYS leave a little slack!

12. Should I have my aircraft cleaned before fitting the cover for the first time?

Definitely! See our 'Links' page for recommended aircraft cleaning companies. These companies are experts in all aspects of paint and perspex care and rejuvination. What more can we say!

13. What about Aerial Measurements?

Go here Measuring Instructions for printable measuring instructions. Basically, each aerial or protrusion is measured off forward or aft of a datum point - namely the Top Edge of the Windscreen (TEW/s) We will need to know what the protrusion is - if you are not sure what they are you can find pictures and descriptions of Aerials

14. What area will the cover enclose?

We recommend starting the cover at the engine cowling. This provides a secure fixing point from which to tension the rest of the cover - an essential point in withstanding strong winds. This also helps to prevent rodents and birds from entering the engine bay and cabin, and prevents the formation of condensation - the engine and ignition killer! The cover will enclose all windows, doors and baggage lockers.

15. What is the difference between the 'Open Air' and 'Touring' fabrics?

'Open Air' covers are specifically designed for aircraft that are parked outside all year round. These covers are made from the strongest of our two grades of acrylic canvas. The fabric is Teflon Coated, highly breathable and waterproof. Open Air covers are attached with high-tension webbing straps and buckles. This fabric is available in a range of up to thirty colours, of which we have up to nine in stock at any time - see the FABRICS AND COLOURS PAGE!

'Touring' covers are made to the same specification as Open Air covers from a lighter-weight version of our Open Air fabric. Although this fabric has a slightly lower 'static head' than the 'Open Air' fabric, it is still waterproof and very breathable, and these covers are most suitable for aircraft that spend the summer months outside, but are in hangars during the worst weather.

Lightweight Acrylic available in White, Sky blue, Red and Green colours only.

16. Are Cambrai Covers Guaranteed?

Yes, of course! 'Open Air' type covers are guaranteed for two years. 'Touring' covers are guaranteed for one year. The warranty covers ALL materials and workmanship. No question.

17. Are Cambrai Covers the best aircraft covers?

Yes we really do get asked this question all the time! Instead of reading what we we think - read what our customers say...


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