Chapter 18 – Canopy latch system

Today I started out by pulling the peel ply and trimming the 2-ply BID layup securing the nutplates and one RivNut for the canopy latch handle mount. I then drilled out the glass covering the holes and dug out the protective plastic wrap (saran) that I had shoved in each one.

I then test mounted the handle assembly and it fit like a charm.

Although at first I thought I had my fore/aft mounting positioning off by about 0.050″, then I remembered the phenolic back plate needed a small U-shaped notch on the forward center edge of it to allow the handle linking rod to travel in unimpeded fashion.

A shot after the notch made in the phenolic back plate, and also the gray PETG triangular interconnecting plate back in play. Note the HEIM-4 rod-end connector, which I bought by mistake about 9 years ago and am just now putting to good use!

Here’s a shot of the front seat canopy latch system, sans the front hook and connecting rod (shown below).

And a couple of shots of the aft side in the GIB seat area.

I had to order a rod-end for the front latch hook rod so I won’t be able to truly test out the system for a few days yet. I’m kind of stepping out on a leap of faith here from just a few pics I have of an unknown Long-EZ’s –that BOTH Beagle and Terry Schubert couldn’t ID whose it was– setup with this central triangular connecting piece configuration. From what I can gather, it’s a type of mystical push-me/pull-me type setup where the rod force from the front hook and rear hooks play off of each other to push the rear hooks open while pulling the front hook open, then vice versa to close (rear pull, front push).

In addition to needing that rod-end connector (AKA “clevis”) to test out this setup, I also need to reprint the current blue PLA plastic handle with a more robust PETG or ABS (I should have that capability when I get the 3D printer back online) with the pivot bolt holes moved inboard about 1/8″. To dial in the canopy handle system I will keep both the aft triangular interconnect plate and front handle in plastic to modify as required. Once the configuration is good, I’ll drill/machine those parts in aluminum to finalize the canopy latch handle.

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