Caravelle's radome is repaired and repainted
Keskiviikko 7.12.2022 - Tuesday Club member
The radome, disassembled from the nose of the Caravelle III (SE-DAF) which is now owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland, is being repaired at the Tuesday Club. Its painted surface has cracked, and it has been also badly damaged in a collision.
The radome is made of Kevlar and its surface has originally been puttied and painted with matt black paint. The black paint surface has cracked and peeled off in several places. The white putty and the Kevlar surface under it are visible in the damaged areas.
The cracked paint and the white putty on the radome surface were chiseled off down to the Kevlar surface. This caused grooves and holes on the radome’s surface. The Tuesday Club team decided to fill the grooves and holes with epoxy filler. This material was also a good choice for smoothing and levelling the radome’s damaged area which had been patched with glass fibre fabric.
Light epoxy filler (Lightweight Epoxy Filler) and hardening agent were purchased from Biltema. Following the product instructions, a portion of filler was mixed. The filler was spread with metal spatulas on the holes on the radome’s surface and on the damaged area, which had been laminated with glass fibre fabric. A thin flexible plywood veneer was also used when spreading the filler, pulling it on the radome’s surface, following its curved shape. The filler followed well the curved shape of the radome. Several portions of filler had to be mixed before all the grooves had been filled and smoothed.
When the filler had dried, it was sanded, mainly manually. Sanding by hand gives a better touch on the radome’s curved surface than working with a grinder. After sanding the filler treatment was repeated and sanded again to get a smooth surface, matching the radome’s curved shape as accurately as possible.
After two rounds of filling and sanding, the team decided to paint the surface with a primer. Spray MAX Primer filler was chosen, and it was purchased from the Pintaväri store. This primer fills well the small roughness on the sanded surface and it can be re-sanded and re-painted.
Two layers of Sprey primer were spread on the sanded radome surface. Before applying the paint, the cover holes of the radome’s fastening bolts were protected. Although the result after the primer paint looked quite good, the smooth mat black paint surface revealed some uneven areas, and we will still have to fill and sand the radome’s surface in some areas before it is completely smooth and ready for the finishing paint.
Photos by Lassi Karivalo.
Translation by Erja Reinikainen.