The Orion/Highlite fuselage tends to crack in one of two places, and this has
happened to every one I know who has one except the one guy who followed my
suggestion and fixed it before it happened. If you reinforce the area
BEFORE it cracks, it is unlikely to crack and will end up lighter than if it
cracks and then you have to reinforce the area around the crack even more.
This will add very little weight, and is well worth it. It is also easier
to do before you have the gear in and while you have to cracks to fix.
Look at the front of the wing saddle where the two holes for the alignment
pegs on the front of the wings fit. The fuse cracks along this saddle or
along the side of the fuse about 1/2 inch back from this point. This
happens when you hit a wingtip on a poor landing, causing the wing to twist.
The nylon bolts flex and/or break, but even if they break the two pegs in the
holes cause this portion of the fuse to twist and crack.
Take some fiberglass and epoxy and thicken/ strengthen the entire area where
the holes are and on around to about 1 inch back towards the tail. Do
this on the inside of the fuse only so that you do not alter the surface that
the wing rests on in any way. You should go about 3/4 inch down from the
top of the wing saddle -- no need to reinforce all the way to the bottom of
the fuse, as the cracks start at the top of the wing saddle and go down.
Don't worry about covering the back side of the two holes -- you can carefully
drill through the new epoxy and fiberglass after it dries (just be sure not to
fill the holes with epoxy so you have a starting point to drill from).
Make sure that your reinforcement tapers down in thinness on the back 1/4 inch
or so, giving a gradual transition from reinforced to normal fuse, so that
there is no sudden change creating a new likely cracking point.
If any of this is unclear email me and I will be happy to answer any
Choosing Your First Glider
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