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Canopy Redux

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Pivot Arm...TommyJ

I haven't written a blog update since July. This doesn't mean I haven't been busy on the build. I had spent months thinking about a canopy mechanism; something that would meet the criteria of i) slides back ii) keeps the fuselage profile and iii) opens for taxi. I started this canopy mechanism in July, by the time mid October came around, I realized I was in a gloomy situation; every time I hit a problem, I found that I could fix it, but was creating more complexity in the opening mechanism as I progressed. Till one day, I suddenly realized that what I was building was no longer what I had envisioned at the outset. So, I decided to cut it dead and start over, going back to the drawing board.

I then recalled a forum user, Tommyj, who had designed his own mechanism and according to his pics, was successful with his design. Having spent months of wasted time, I needed to get this right this time, so I arranged to go to Tommyj's location, which is in Dayton OHio - I had to see the mechanism in person so I could absorb everything. It was a whirlwind visit; flew there in the AM, had 4 hours on site, then flew back. It was a long day, but well worth it, since I returned armed with dozens of pics, lots of measurements and copious notes.

Getting out the cut-off wheel and cutting through all that work was painful, but it had to be done - this has been by far, the worst redux on the whole project.

I have moved! The plane now resides in Georgetown, this is only 10.5 minutes from my house, previously, I was having to travel 40 minutes to work on the project. Now, it is a complete lifestyle change; I can be sitting there watching boring TV at 7PM, and on a whim, I can just 'pop down and do a bit' for an hour or two. This close proximity will speed up the build time significantly.

After cleaning up the old canopy attempt, polishing removed welds, etc, I started on the new'. Basically, the canopy frame sits on a canopy fuselage frame. The fuselage frame was tacked in place. I then tackled what was probably the most difficult part of this design, and that was fabricating the rotating mechanism fore and aft. These components are now built , dry fitted and finish welded. I now need to order the bubble. Meanwhile, I have plenty to focus on, what with the locking mechanisms still to make, etc.

The canopy is a tilt and turn format. These don't normally work on a Skybolt due to the canopy clashing with the upper wing as it rotates, but Tommy came up with a rather ingenious approach; the canopy slides rearward 13 inches or so, then it rotates over.

2010 is coming to a close and I was hoping the fuselage would have been powder coated, oh well, if it wasn't for the huge canopy redux it would have been....

Fully open...TommyJ
Fully open...TommyJ
The new home...
The new home...

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