INSTALLING THE CANOPY PAGE 6
Above left the holes are in the process of being transferred to the right C-666. At right the right C-666 is marked to trim the inboard edge.
Again I drilled three inboard holes with a hole finder (above left) but this time I skipped a hole from the second hole to the third (above right).
I cleco'd the plexiglass in place (above left) and drilled the holes on each side of the outboard cleco (above right).
The cleco on the right above left is in a hole that I drilled on the bench. The cleco above left is in a hole that I drilled using the plexiglass template. I drilled the center hole between them (above right) and then drilled the two remaining holes. Both aft canopy skirts are now drilled. It is only lunchtime on Saturday. In one of the forums, someone made the statement that these parts got the part number "666" because he was sure that they were right out of the bowels of hell. Using this method they were not too bad.
Well, as hard as I tried to eliminate it, my gap is still here (arrow above left). I will deal with it later. First I need to trim some excess from the skirt.
I decided to round the corner from the aft skirt to the side skirt which is not exactly per the plans. At about this time I also decided to attempt to make the skirts one piece. In order to do that I riveted the side skirt to the aft skirt after the aft skirt was trimmed (above right).
Did I have a gap on the left aft skirt at aft lower edge? You betcha! See the arrow above left. This was a trial fit before I used the assembly as a pattern to make one piece canopy skirts. Above right is a photo of the one piece skirts. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures while I was making the parts however, I can describe what I did. I went to the shop at the airport and used the two skirt assemblies as a pattern on a full sized sheet of .032 2024T3 aluminum. I transferred all of the fastener holes from the original skirts to the new parts before I cut them out of the aluminum sheet. I cut the parts out on a full sized bandsaw. I had aligned the lower fore and aft edge with the edge of the aluminum so that I did not have to cut that area. It took about two hours to make both parts including drilling al of the holes.
Above left is a photo of the right one piece skirt cleco'd in place. Above right is a photo of the gap (arrow).
Above left is a photo of the left one piece skirt cleco'd in place. Above right is a photo its gap (arrow).
Above left is a photo of a Swedish made shrinker/stretcher. At right is a photo of the shrinker jaws. As you can see the teeth are smaller and closer together than standard shrinker/stretchers. This machine does less damage to the aluminum than the normal shrinker/stretchers. I have had it in the shop for about 14 years and it gets constant use.
Above left I am using the shrinker to try to eliminate some of the gap. Above right is a photo of a much reduced gap. The protective coating is still on the skirt. That is why it looks odd in the area where I shrunk the alumnum.
While forming the skirt by hand in some areas (with the help of a soft jawed vice), I put a few kinks in it. To remove the kinks and round the skirts a little bit I used an English Wheel (above left). I had to be careful as the English Wheel is mainly a tool for stretching and smoothing aluminum. I did not want to stretch the area that I had shrunk. As you can see by the photo above right it has been over a month since I last worked on the airplane. I lost two weeks because of hurricane Wilma and two weeks due to a road trip to Tupelo, Mississippi. When I finally got back at it, the I drilled the lower holes from the C-791 to the canopy skirt (arrow).
In order to drill the C-791 I used a block of wood to hold the outside flush with the side of the fuselage. I then reached around to drill the holes from the inside into the skirt. This worked pretty well on the left side of the canopy.
The right side decided to be more difficult. The skirt was flush with the fuselage but there was a much larger gap between the F-791 and the skirt (arrow above left). I got into the airplane and drilled the holes while I gently pushed the C-791 out to just barely touch the skirt with an ink pen (arrow above right). I used very little pressure on the drill bit so that I did not push the skirt out.
Above left is a photo of the left C-791 drilled to the skirt taken from inside the airplane. Above right is a photo taken from the outside. The arrow points to the very aft hole which is drilled but there is not enough of a gap between the skirt and the C-665 anchor block for a cleco.
Above are photos of the start of another minor modification that I decided on. I thought that the canopy might look better with all of the corners rounded. I decided to widen the C-653 center strip to 2 inches and put corners with 4 inch radii at the forward and aft ends. The only reason for this modification was strictly cosmetic. The left photo shows a pattern I made with construction paper. I liked the concept so I transferred the pattern shape to aluminum (right ).