Chapter 18 – Canopy glassed

I started off today spending over 4 hours prepping the canopy frame for glass.

Part of that prep was marking and sanding a 3″ wide depression in the aft canopy frame for a strip of 3″ wide UNI tape, the same that is used for the spar caps.

I then did a rough cut of the 3″ wide UNI tape.

I was going to take a pic of only the UNI tape laid up but I was on the phone and forgot, so here’s a shot of the laid up 3″ wide UNI tape with 1 ply of BID laid up over it and the rest of the turtleback.

After the above shenanigans, I then spent another 8 hours laying up all the external canopy fiberglass following the plans layup schedule.  I then peel plied the layups.

Here’s the aft side of the canopy frame glassed as per plans, with of course 1 extra strip of 3″ wide UNI tape.  To keep the aft canopy from spreading I will add 2 plies of the 3″ UNI tape on the inside of the canopy frame as well.

Now, my canopy is a tale of 2 canopies …. I am extremely happy with the front half of the canopy, the skirt and the interface with the aft nose cover.  Unfortunately, due my slightly asymmetrical “D” shaped fuselage, coupled with a huge oversized canopy, the turtleback is a bit off kilter.  It is simply fatter on the left side than it is the right.  My neighbor, who has a really good eye for detail, had a hard time noticing it standing aft of the plane looking at it, but as with anything, once you see it you can’t “un-see” it!

Then there’s the issue with the turtleback and aft canopy intersection angle.  It is clearly a bit severe and I’ll need to ponder some on fix actions for that.  In talking with Mike Beasley in prepping to construct the canopy, he said to ensure that the line forward of the firewall maintains the upper cowling profile.  Moreover, Mike stated that if the canopy profile and cowling profile didn’t agree, then the turtleback profile should match the cowling, not the canopy.  Thus, as you can see, this is the predicament I find myself in . . . and not caring much for being in predicaments, I look forward to the day when I am not finding myself in one canopy & turtleback wise!!

I will probably pull the peel and clean up around the edge of the canopy where it intersects the glass tomorrow, but beyond that –while the canopy does its 48 hour cure thing– I will be attending to house stuff in prepping my place to sell.

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