April 2015-

Q: Hi Steve,
I fly a Piper Cherokee 180 and want to install new stabilator tips and wingtips. Mine are original, and they are in pretty sorry shape.

My mechanic said he could remove them and use off-the-shelf fiberglass products to fix them up, but I don’t think that’s what I want.

I’ve seen other Cherokees with tips that are much better looking than the originals. What are my options for new tips?

—Bad Tip Terry

A: Dear Terry,
A long time ago Piper manufactured wingtips out of aluminum, but later changed to using ABS plastic because it was lightweight, easy to manufacture and economical. And as long as it was well protected by good paint, ABS was pretty durable.

However, I wouldn’t recommend attempting a repair of your original ABS plastic wingtips or stabilizer tips with fiberglass. ABS plastic is a much more flexible product; although fiberglass can be repaired, in this case you’d be mixing a rigid product (fiberglass) with a flexible product (ABS). It’s better to use ABS repair products on ABS tips, and ABS repair components are available from various vendors.

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