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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Canopy Stops

I spent some time tonight doing a canopy mod that isn’t in the instructions but most people really recommend.   The canopy is held in place only with the goosenecks in the front.  When the pneumatic struts are installed and the canopy is closed, there is a large amount of forward pressure on the front corners of the canopy.  This pressure bends the canopy frame and changes the alignment with the front skin in negative ways.  These stops that I put in are adjustable and push back against the canopy frame absorbing the pressure from the struts.   You can see here how they work.  Pretty efficient and other than remaking the angles a few times weren’t that difficult to install.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Drilled Canopy Frame Hinge Brackets

To drill the hinge brackets I had everything fitted per the plans and used my ¼ inch bit reaching up through the firewall access.  It was awkward but I started the holes and pulled out the assembly to finish drilling them on the bench.  This is where it got stressful..  I used a brand new sharp 3/8 inch bit to open the hole to final diameter.  The hole was already opened up to about 5/16 and so only needed to be slightly larger.  The sharp bit wanted to dig through the hole instead of drilling.. It almost flipped the entire frame out of my hand and off the bench as it caught.  I started sweating and swearing a bit, but eventually got the hole drilled through straight and fairly clean.   Then I pressed in the bushings and they went in smooth as well.   No pics of the bushings right now, but I will add them shortly.

Then the moment of truth.  Set the frame back on the fuse and look at the fit with the pins in place.  As you can see in the pic, I think I got it nailed..  Some people have lots of trouble at this phase and throughout the build, this frame moves around a bit, but I think I got it nailed so far.  If anything the fit might be too close and will need to be trimmed up before I try to
open the canopy the first time. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Initial Riveting of Canopy Frame

After you do initial fitting and drilling, you need to spot prime and rivet the structure of the frame together.   I deburred, countersunk and riveted the two frame halves and the angles that support the goose-necks.  Next step is the big one..  I need to drill the goose-necks.   I will need to make sure this thing is fitted and as solid as possible before doing that.  I do think I am going to go forward with the mod outlined "here".  This will ensure that the canopy frame is not pushed forward once the spring loaded struts are installed.  They tend to move the frame around a bit which might mess things up down the road..

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fitting Canopy Frame

Tonight I took the plunge and started to fit the canopy frame.  There are lots of people who had problems with this so I am going to take my time and hopefully get it right.  I carefully re-installed the forward top skin, then reached through the firewall to tighten up the bolts on the UMHV Blocks that hold the canopy so that everything is nice and tight.  Then I protected the newly riveted side rails with tape and paint sticks..  As I tried to fit the frame, I think the major problem people have is they aren't able to get the two halves of the frame straight across in the center section.   I used an additional angle and some clamps to force the halves straight.  I almost pushed the center up beyond straight to see what it did to outer ends of the frame.. After some messing around I was able to get the fit really well.  Then put on a ratcheting tie strap and it sucked it down great...  Measuring out the gap in the skin with a spacer to be about .040 I then started the drilling process.  Worked the center plate first, then drilled down the center ribs and the side ribs.  After all the drilling was done I reached through the firewall with a Sharpe to mark the holes where the retaining pins will be drilled.   Looks at least for now like I got the measurements right.  The hol seems to hit dead center in the goose-neck.  Although it might be a tad low (which I don't think will be a problem), at least both sides were the exact same.  Time to remove this, clean it up and put back in to drill the forward holes in the goose necks...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Canopy Side Rail riveting

Final step before going back to fitting the canopy frame is to rivet the side rails and all the rivets around the F705/Roll bar junction.   You can see in the pics I got through all this and was able to rivet the side rails.  The pics don't due it justice, the rivets popping out of the black paint look great..  I just hope the paint lasts.  Time to be careful now and make sure no scratches happen during the rest of construction.

I also mounted the canopy latch with "lightening" holes built in..  Probably not a lot of weight savings, but sure looks cool..

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Misc Items

I have been working on the plane, just getting through some smaller items that aren't worth talking to much about.   I am going to rivet the side rails before I drill my canopy frame, I want to be assured the fuse is as stable and as final of a position as possible.  To do this I realized that I need to rivet F-705 seat back supports in place too, so over the next few days it will be more riveting for me.  I took the roll bar off and filled the tooling holes with Epoxy and micro-balloons which turned out great (dirty in pic, but will be ultra smooth when painted).  I also put the tubes and tires together using talc to make sure the tubes slid into appropriate positions inside the tires when I pumped them up.   I also was able to trim the right side off of the canopy latch since it isn't used and provides additional weight savings.  Lots of little things that add up and need to be done..

Monday, June 13, 2011

Map Box ?

Working with Initial Panel layouts and I think I am going to be able to go with the Map box option.  This will allow for a spot to put cell phones, car keys, sunglasses and other items from our back pockets that we don't want to mark up the seats..  ;-)   The Map box is quite deep in fact it goes through the sub-panel, so in these pics you can see I modified the sub-panel per the instructions.  It worked out pretty well and this was definitely the time to do this work while everything was removable and accessible.  Going forward this hole will also be an advantage when it comes to riveting the forward top skin on.

Also, if you look closely in the pics you can see I worked through several efforts to make the canopy frame fit more snug.  I ground down the bumps on the flanges of the sub-panel ribs where the top skins meet.  Also, not shown I had to recess the spacer where the goose necks fit, so that the canopy frame will be able to slide all the way forward.

I am also reworking my forward canopy frame rails.   I didn't like the way they fit with the panel, and since I had to cut the right one up for the map box it was  a great opportunity to rework them with new ones..

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aft Canopy Latch and Pushrod

Tons of progress yesterday with lots of moving parts.  The entire canopy latch system is now installed and I have some great pictures to show for it.   The install of the aft latch and push-rod went quite straight forward.   Tapping the push-rod tube actually took the longest of all the steps..  I have to pull this all apart again to prep and prime, and of course there is some fine tuning and of course final riveting, but all in all it is a smooth mechanism..

Monday, June 6, 2011

Canopy forward Latch

This was a fun piece of work.  I fully installed the canopy forward latch this weekend.  the latch comes punched but fairly rough job..  You have to straighten it out, and deburr like crazy.   Then cut some angles to house the latch which eventually get riveted to the forward pilot side skin.  The latch is really funny looking but works effectively.  You can open it from inside or outside of the airplane.  Its two parts and lock together when closed..  Some people upgrade this part, but I like the simplicity of Vans solution.

Once the latch has been roughly fabricated you use a template to start drilling in the side of the plane..  Drill careful here, you only get one shot at it..  Then you take it up to allow easy use of the die grinder to cut slots in the skin.

After the slot is drilled, you use some cardboard spacers to sandwich the latch mechanism in the angles, then the skin to match drill the angles.  After painted and primed, UMHV take is used between the angle and latch to allow for smooth operation without binding or scratching.

The handle arms slide through the slots and allow you to function it from outside the plane as well,but they tuck away nicely when the latch is closed.  From the inside you open the locking tab and rotate the latch rearward to unlock the canopy.  I will be building in the rear latch and push-rod that connect to this latch shortly.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Canopy Quick Release

I have been working on the quick release mechanism, but am not sure I will completely install it per plans.  Fully installed it is meant to allow for the canopy to be jettisoned in flight..   To my knowledge, no RVs have ever used this functionality and many builders build it in specifically for a fast way to remove the canopy while the plane is in the shop.  It installs right over the "hat" section.  In the pics you can see the twisting of the center post pulls the pins out of their slots which releases the canopy attach hinges.  I still have to do some work and actually buy a new UMHV (nylon) block since I miss-drilled mine a bit, but I have all the big pieces done.   I used a die grinder to cut the metal slots in the push tubes..   Worked pretty well.

Note that the bolts sliped through the tubes are only temporary.  In the end they will be non threaded pins securred by cotter pins.  Vans sent the wrong size, I will need them to resend appropriate ones.

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