Ribbons of Caudron's horizontal stabilizer frame

Maanantai 30.3.2020 - Member of Tuesday Club


The horizontal stabilizer frame of Caudron C.59 (CA-50) had bent during the years and it had to be dismantled and straightened. The restoration work was finished in early February – as described in an earlier blog – and the frame was now ready for covering. Before the actual covering with fabric, ribbons or strips of fabric were fastened on the ribs of the stabilizer and its leading edge. The fabric covering will be fastened by sewing on these ribbons.


Before starting to install the ribbons on the horizontal stabilizer, the Tuesday Club team studied carefully the pictures taken of the dismantling phase, the dismantling report and the pieces of fabric covering, which still had some original ribbons attached. Based on these sources the team could see clearly how the stabilizer frame of the CA-50 had been covered and how the ribbons under the covering had been fastened.



The leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer had been tightly covered with a 50 mm wide strip of fabric. The trailing edge and the end battens on the stabilizer didn’t have any ribbons around them. The ribs had 15 mm wide ribbons around them: first a ribbon had been tied along the upper and lower edge of each rib and then it had been tied on the rib, using another 15 mm wide ribbon which was spun around the rib. The leading end of the ribbon used for spinning had been fastened on the leading edge with tacks and the far end fastened on the rib root. 


The stabilizer ribs had also been connected to each other at the middle, using a 30 mm wide ribbon with its ends fastened on the end battens of the stabilizer. The ribbon connecting the ribs had been woven through the ribs so that it ran under every other rib and over every other. The ribbon ran weaving over and under the ribs between the end battens.



The Tuesday Club team started the ribbon work on the restored horizontal stabilizer frame on the plywood ribs. The leading end of the ribbon was fastened on the leading edge with two tack nails, on the rib position. Then the ribbon was pulled along the upper edge of the rib as far as the trailing edge, around it and along the lower edge of the rib back to the leading edge. There the end of the ribbon was fastened on the starting point with another tack. The same procedure with the ribbon was followed when working all eight plywood ribs.



The following phase was to fasten the ribbons on the ribs into place by spinning another ribbon around each rib. Based on the pictures taken of the cover dismantling, the leading edge of the spinning ribbon was nailed with two tacks on the lower side of the trailing edge batten, where it met the ribbon running along the rib. Then the ribbon was tied diagonally around the rib, with 3 cm wide spaces between each round. At the other end of the rib the ribbon was fastened on the strengthening piece of plywood at the root of the rib. When the eight normal ribs on the stabilizer had been spun, the same principle was used when spinning the three solid wood ribs, which support the stabilizer structure.




When the ribs had been spun with ribbon, the 30 mm wide strip of fabric connecting the ribs was fastened. The leading end of the wide ribbon was fastened with four tack nails onto the inner side of the port end batten, following the original installation. Then the ribbon was spun a couple of times around the end batten before weaving it over and under every other rib until the starboard end batten. Also the location of the ribbon was checked so that it ran halfway along the ribs. The ribbon was locked into place with a tack on the starboard end batten. Then the ribbon was woven in a similar manner back to the port end batten and fastened on it with three tack nails. Finally the ribbon was nailed onto each rib’s upper and lower batten.


The ribbons on the horizontal stablilizer’s leading edge of the Caudron C.59 were not installed before the Tuesday Club’s activities were interrupted due to the corona virus pandemic.

Photos: Lassi Karivalo

Translation: Erja Reinikainen

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoring, old aircraft, Caudron C.59, CA-50