Film Hinges for a Flying Model Aircraft
Often called Monokote hinges, film hinges are easy to make and very
appropriate for certain type aircraft. They can be made from any
iron-on film such as Top Flite Monokote, Oracover,
SolarFilm or Carl Goldberg UltraCote or iron-on fabric such as Coverite or SolarTex.
Film hinges are light and flexible. In addition to their
simplicity, they have the advantage of automatically sealing the hinge gap
which makes them very efficient as well.
Another advantage to using film hinges is on your design prototypes. If you
think you might want to test different control surfaces, these hinges can be
replaced more easily than other types without surgery or damage to the
that concerns people regarding these hinges is longevity. One would think that the
constant flexing back and forth will eventually cause the hinges to crack and
fail. I would say that is a definite possibility. I suspect that before the hinge failed, you would have plenty of
Film hinges are very easy to replace. Simply peel them
off, clean the area with lacquer thinner to remove any residual adhesive and
then iron down new hinges.
I generally replace the hinges after 2 to 3 seasons because they start to
peel up due to fuel getting under the seams. But I have never had a set
fail or tear.
As far as what aircraft film hinges will be appropriate on, that is tough
for me to answer. Personally I use them only on models that are slow,
small and light or have lightly loaded control surfaces. I would not
use these type hinges on any aircraft that requires very precise control
surface movement such as a precision aerobat.
I would also not use film
hinges on a painted finish. As far as I am concerned they can be used
only on an iron-on covering.
This article details the hinge installation for the elevons on
Gonzo's ailerons use film hinges. Film hinges would have
been a good choice for
Herr Pitts Special as well.