All Vans Series Cowlings
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All Vans Series Cowlings

The Skybolt DiamondHead® fasteners blow away the competition in all performance comparisons. Engineered and manufactured in the USA.


Skybolt versus the Competition

This question is asked time and time again, is there a true difference in cowling fasteners, after all, they all look the same in the bag they came in. But we ask, are you buying a bag of parts or quality parts built for the job? The first thing you will see if you place a Skybolt kit next to the competitor, there are many more components in the standard Skybolt kit, particularly the interlocking flanges. For the cost-conscious builder, we offer our kits without the flanges….and we still offer more components to make your project better and easier. What you do not see is more important. The Skybolt DiamondHead® fasteners blow away the competition in all performance comparisons. Our DiamondHead® stainless virtually stops head galling and pin failure.

This photo was taken on a “show” aircraft at Oshkosh 2017 with mixed fasteners. The competitor’s machined fastener on the right is notably galled. Chances are high that the pin  is also loose and will eventually fail. A 4000 Series Phillips fastener that is machined without hardening is doomed to galling and pin failure. We know; we made them that way for years until our passion for true in-service quality abandoned that type of manufacturing process.

An experimental aircraft does not require FAA certified components. After all, regulation costs money. Who would explain this to the next friend you take for a plane ride, “I got a smoking deal on my commercial grade fasteners?” Skybolt fasteners are all FAA-PMA approved.

We created this matrix to list some important considerations to distinguish the Skybolt brand from the competitor. As many builders are new to cowling fasteners, take a glance at our installation instructions. Compare our instructions with any other fastener provider as a testament to our claims.

At Skybolt, we have your back to insure the best possible experience with this installation and for years of Van’s grins to come.

Vans RV Kit Comparison

Highlights Skybolt Competitor
FAA-PMA Components Yes No
Camloc style 40S5 stainless studs Cold Work Hardened Machined
Hardness of Material (1) 27-31Rc 94-96Rb
Tendency to Gall (1) Low High
Tendency for Failure (1) Low High
Interlocking Flanges Yes No
Industry Quality Fastener Studs Yes No
Receptacle Type (2) Adjustable Adjustable
Receptacle Style (3) Non-Float Floating
Interchangeable Permanent
Cowling Dynamic Shift No Yes
Receptacle Weight .0155lbs .0185lbs
All receptacle components plated Yes No
Non-Floating Grommets Yes No
Cleko Inserts for easier installation Yes No
Hole centering device Yes No
Rivets for Flanges Included Unknown
Kit Price with Flanges Higher Lower
Kit Price without Flanges Lower Higher
Kit Upgrades (4) Yes Unknown

Note (1) Independently tested by Constellation Technologies. (2) Skybolt patented the adjusting receptacle in conjunction with the construction of our RV4. Our competitor originally made the receptacle as a Skybolt subsidiary in the 1990s. (3) Skybolt developed the interchangeable receptacle inserts to accommodate the need for float when holes do not align as planned. Our standard inserts prevent floating. (4) Skybolt constantly adds new innovations to our kits and we offer upgrades to our customers. We are not aware of any competitor innovations that require kit upgrades. This data was obtained from years of testing both in-house and through outside contracting including FAA records. The information is our opinion based on past ownership of both companies, advertised claims, and industry participation.

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All Vans Series Cowlings Instructions