Chapter 18/22 – Canopy skirt layup

I started off today by checking the mail to find that I had received the 8-Channel video signal multiplexer (signal combiner/sequencer, AKA “Mux”) that Eric Page constructed and Alec Myers coded…. in collaboration with Bob Nuckolls.

As per usual Eric did a phenomenal job in constructing this Video Mux.  You may have noted above that there are 4 white RCA jack pigtails hanging off the interfacing D-Sub connector.  These were connected by Eric since my original & current requirement was for only 4 video cameras (as a reminder, I have one camera each on the fuel site gages, one top side camera on the pilot headrest looking aft and one bottom CL fuselage camera just aft of the nose wheel well looking aft as well).

Here’s the module’s board that Eric constructed.

And the back side of the board.

I then got to work in the shop on finishing up the prep for glassing the canopy front underside with 3 plies of BID as per plans.  The first task was to finish taping up the canopy edge with first yellow paint tape, then duct tape over top of that.  After taping up the canopy edge to match the external canopy line, I then finished sanding the canopy edge to texture it to grip the BID plies.

I then spent about 20 minutes getting the 2 forward hard points sanded both level to each other and down to the foam canopy side rail elevation.  At first I used the Dremel tool to knock some surface glass off of the front hardpoint.  Then I switched to the “L” shaped Perma-A-Grit tool (still LOVE these Perm-A-Grit sanding tools… if you’re a builder and don’t have them, STOP what you’re doing and order them NOW!  Indispensable when building a foam/glass airplane!!!!)

After getting the front 2 hard points leveled and to the correct height, I then prepregged 2 plies of BID to combat every front line officer’s worst nightmare: “holes in the line!”  Yep, before I placed flox in the channel behind the aft wall of the canopy front skirt groove, I made 3 little mini wall inserts out of 2 ply glass and wedged them into place.

They may be a bit difficult to see, but here are the 2 ply BID mini wall layups placed inside the channel which is situated AFT of the canopy front skirt groove.  These mini walls will keep the flox inside the channel and from oozing out into the groove.

I then spent a good hour microing up the foam and creating flox edges along the canopy frame sides.

Since I had a fair bit of thick micro in a cup, instead of wasting it I then added a LOT of flox to it and created a thick flocro paste –heavier on the flox– to fill in the channel just aft of the canopy front skirt groove (where I placed the mini walls into above).

Here we have a couple shots of the floxed edges along each side of the canopy frame.

I then laid up 3 plies of BID using 6 separate pieces of BID.  The overlap for the first 2 pieces making up ply #1 is over towards the right side (left side in pic), whereas the overlap for the next 2 pieces making up ply #2 is on the opposite side.  The final 2 pieces that make up ply #3 I cut much larger so that the overlap actually created an entire new ply of BID . . . #4, which is situated in the middle 50% area of the layup where the front of the canopy frame is fairly narrow at the very forward tip of the canopy.

After the glass was laid up I then peel plied the layup.

Another shot of the glassed and peel plied canopy front underside skirt.

I then went to dinner with my buddy Rob and upon returning a few hours later I pulled the peel ply and very carefully razor trimmed around the inside edge of the glass that overlaps onto the canopy.

Inside shots of the razor trimmed glass on the interior canopy edge.

I also razor trimmed the glass overhanging the canopy front skirt groove aft wall.  This is of course the initial trimming and cleanup, with a more detailed cleanup coming tomorrow.

Here we have one final shot for the evening of the glassed canopy front underside skirt.  I really like the way the canopy frame transitions into the canopy here and think it will look really good once installed.

Tomorrow will again still be all about getting as much knocked out on this canopy as possible.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.