INSTALLING THE CANOPY PAGE 5
Above left is a photo of the left skirt with the canopy open. The plans call for a notch at the bottom of this skirt 8 15/16" long so that the skirt does not rub the side of the fuselage while the canopy is being moved. I cut the notch shorter than that initially because the measurement given is approximate. In the photo above right I have the left skirt laying on the right one. The right skirt has not been trimmed so had I been a little more observant and had I also taken a couple of measurements, I would not have had to make a new skirt for the left side. I drilled the right skirt from the left skirt.
In the picture at left above the right skirt is laid out and marked with tape for trimming. Notice that a slight amount of material is to be removed along the top edge. Also notice that the top edge of the ends up slightly curved. I wish I would have looked more carefully before I drilled the left one up in the beginning. At right above is a photo of the right skirt with the fastener holes marked from the left skirt. The holes were transferred from the "New" left skirt. Notice how much further from the edge they are. The drawing wasn't clear and of course I was in a hurry.
Above left is a photo of the right C-660 cleco'd in place. Notice that the bottom edge runs right along the middle of the fuselage side skin upper rivet line. This would have been a handy clue to have while I was locating the left C-660. The plans or a note on the drawing could have been worded like, "Align the bottom edge of the C-660 with the center of the upper fore and aft rivet line on the F-770 cabin side skin. Check for adequate edge distance on the lower edge of the canopy plexiglass and the upper edge of the C-660 side skirt." The canopy is not a very good design so I guess that it is OK for the plans to be lacking as well. The photo above right shows frame attach rivet holes drilled in the center of the frame. As I stated before, I transferred these holes from the left C-660 and they came out in the center of the frame.
Above left is a photo of the right C-759 inner canopy skirt cleco'd in place. I used a hole finder to locate two rivet holes and then cleco'd the C-660 in place over the C-759 to finish locating the rest of the holes. Above right is the C-791 canopy skirt brace. I took this photo just after I finished installing the lightning holes. I did not use the measurement given on the plans because the aft hole would not be the same distance center to center as the other holes. The made a drawing of the dimensions between holes that I used (below).
These dimension gave me ten equal distance holes. I don't know if I have mentioned this before but I use scales that measure in tenths and hundredths on one side and 1/32nds and 1/64ths on the other. That makes it easier to measure dimensions like those above.
Next, I drilled the holes that will attach the brace to the canopy frame with the help of a rivet fan (above left). This tool sure makes some of the steps in the project simpler. Above right is another problem caused by my desire to align the pin blocks with the track. Again it was easy to solve by removing the material between the two lines.
Above left is a photo I took after I trimmed the C-791. Above right is a photo that shows that I am ready to drill the holes to attach the C-791 to the C-660.
Above left is a picture that I took after the left C-791 was drilled and cleco'd to the canopy frame and the left C-660 side skirt. I repeated the process for the right side. The next step was to trim the C-666 aft canopy skirts from the plate that contained their pattern. Above right you can see that one skirt has been cut out of the plate.
The lines for one of the C-666 parts was fade so badly that it had completely disappeared in spots (above left). I used the other C-666 to re-draw the lines in the faded sections (above right).
Above left the C-666 is marked and ready to cut. At right is a sheet of 1/8" plexiglass I purchased from Lowe's. I purchased it to help save me a little time in drilling the C-666 aft skirts. I have a theory about time and money that is basically simple. "You can save time or you can save money but you cannot save both." I decided to save time on the aft skirt installation.
The first thing that I did was to cut the shape of a C-666 skirt from the plexiglass. In the photo at left above I have laid one of the C-666 skirts on the plexiglass. I traced a line around it and cut it out on the band saw with a fine tooth blade. I removed the protective coating and taped the plexiglass "C-666" in place on the canopy (above right).
Working from the top I started drilling the holes through the plexiglass to the canopy. The photo above left shows the plexiglass "C-666" just prior to drilling. I drilled from the top down, attempting as I went to keep the drill bit in the center of the hole and perpendicular to the frame. I continued to pull down on the plexiglass with masking tape as I went to keep the skirt tight above right).
After all of the holes were in the plexiglass I transferred the holes from the bottom edge to just about where the upper cleco clamp is in the photo above left. I did not drill any holes where the skirt follows the contour from the side of the fuselage to the top yet. I used a hole finder to install the three most inboard holes in the aluminum C-666 (above right). I also drilled one hole5 holes away from these three with a hole finder.
Next, I cleco'd the plexiglass over the C-666 in these 4 holes only. I then drilled the holes between the three inboard holes and the one five holes away. This process takes more time to do than to describe. The basic problem is that with the aluminum sandwiched between the plexiglass and the canopy the plexiglass is displaced outward. This is not a problem on the flat areas but on the curved surface this causes each successive hole to be a little further off. Anyway, my plan worked to near perfection and the total elapsed time to drill the left canopy skirt was 2 1/2 hours including cutting the plexiglass pattern. In the photo above right, the left skirt has all of the fatsener holes drilled
The photo above left is a view of the left C-666 aft canopy skirt cleco' in place. At right I am trimming protective coating from the right side to begin the drilling process for this side. This plastic protective coating was wrinkled enough that I didn't want to place the skirt on the wrinkles.
Above left the drilling process has begun on the right plexiglass "C-666" skirt. The arrow above right shows a problem area that I have seen on some other RV's. The canopy skirt doesn't want to conform to the side of the fuselage (arrow).
I pulled as much of the gap as I could with tape while I was drilling. This helped but did not eliminate the gap. I am assuming that this gap is the reason that each skirt is made in two sections.