Windscreen Fairing #4

Time: 2 Hours

I decided that five layers wasn’t going to be enough sickness for my liking on the windscreen fairing. So I added two more layers of carbon fiber on top of the existing fairing after sanding all of the surfaces to prep them.  Using a technique that Lee taught me made this process fairly easy, and I laid one long length from left to right as one piece.

This will give me a total of seven layers four of which are carbon fiber. I’m hoping this will give enough strength to prevent cracking in the future.

Windscreen Fairing #3

Time: 4 Hours

So the Fairing was cured for 3 days since I had to fly for work. I peeled the ply off and reveled a fairly smooth surface and was happy. Ok let see if we can get this thing open…nope! I worked for 3 hours pulling and prying with no luck. I ended up using a carefully placed ratchet strap and a very thin plastic ruler sharpened on one end to cut the packing tape that was adhering to the windscreen. Finally with a slow motion it finally broke free with no damage. 

Wow am I happy! Ok so I needs to cut this down to the appropriate size. I removed the orange tape and packing tape and put down a new layer of painters tape. One at the aft edge of the canopy frame bar and one centered around 3″ from the bar. I then measured aft from the bar tape 3″ and made a mark. 

No I could close the canopy and use that 3″ mark to measure forward and place a mark on a piece of tape I put on the new fairing. 

Now I had a very accurate line in which to cut the new faring. I opened The canopy and lined the interior with plastic to protect from dust and used my Dremel cut off tool to cut the faring.

I left the cut about an 1/8″ long as I plan on adding two more layers, one E glass and one carbon, to the fairing to give it a little more structure. I sanded it all down so that I could start the work from the transition of the vertical piece to the horizontal piece. 

I really happy with the fit and shape so far. Still a ton of work to go to get this perfect but I’m on track. To strengthen the joint between the vertical and horizontal pieces I added a T-shaped layup. 

More work to come!

Windscreen Fairing #2

Time: 3 Hours

I sanded all the work I had already done to allow for the new work to adhere to it. The plane was to work on the fiberglass that goes vertical over the top and ties in the canopy to the windscreen. I asked my good friend, Lee a LanceAir builder, to come over and give me some pointers and help. After cleaning up the area we set out to get this done. Before we started I tied two lengths of rope to the canopy frame and ran them aft under the canopy skirts for later when the work had all cured to help with getting the canopy open. I also applied packing tape all over the canopy and put car wax on it to help with the release of the canopy later. To help with the gap between the canopy and windscreen I bridged the space with packing tape just catching the windscreen by a 1/16″-1/8″.  Lee then taught me the correct or easiest way to get the layers together and cut just right. First I cut three layers of E glass to a size larger than I wanted. Then I cut two layers of carbon fiber sheet to the same size. I also cut a piece of plastic sheet twice the size of the parts I just cut. I mixed up a good amount of resin, hardener and black pigment to apply to the strips. I poured it over the five layers that were laid out alternating between the fiberglass and the carbon fiber. These all laid on top of the plastic so that I had enough plastic left over to fold over on top of the strips. I themed used a hairspray can to roll the parts and squeeze any extra resin out. Now I had a nice flat sandwich of plastic, 5 layers of fiberglass/carbon fiber and plastic. I then used my rotary cutter to cut the final shape that I wanted through all the layers. I could then peel the top layer of plastic off and have an easy time applying the layup to the windscreen. Once in place I could just peel the other piece of plastic off and we were in business. Once in place I made some slight position adjustments to get it just right so that it wasn’t overlapping the orange tape. We then applied ply peel to get it to a smooth finish. 

So we will let that cure and see how it turns out, hope I can get the canopy open! 

Arm Rests

Time: 1 Hour

In between fiberglass layups and cure times I find little tasks to complete to keep busy. I had Classic Aero supply the passenger arm rests in the stock shape and custom ones for the pilot’s. I had created a template out of card stock and mailed them to Classic when I put the order in. They turned out beautiful and are made out of the same leather as the seats. To attach them there is three platenuts built into them on the underside that will accept a #8 screw. To get the placement of the screw holes on to the aluminum arm rests of the aircraft I stuffed some small pieces of paper towel into the screw holes. I then used a sharpie pen to soak the towel with the ink. While the ink was still fresh I placed the armrest into position and pushed down hard so that the towel pieces would touch and leave their mark. This worked well and gave me a marking to drill through. I started with a #40 drill bit and opened it up to a 3/16″ to give me a little wiggle room for the screws. This process worked well and I completed all four in an hour. I used some torx screws, they are easier to tighten, to attach all four in place. Here is a view of the right side pieces in place. I also put the arm rest side panel in place to see how it all looked. 

Jack Points

Time: 1 Hour

I saw a pilot, Don Eccker, post on the VansAirforce.net about a jack point he developed. These solve a problem of when you need to change a flat tire how to jack the RV-8 up to do this. There have been several ideas and solutions but I really liked his approach. So I ordered a set and was very pleased at the speed at which he shipped and the quality of work. I carefully jacked up the gear leg so that I could get the wheels off and remove the axel. 

I had ordered new longer axel bolts to accommodate the jack point plate and put them in place. The idea is that these plates stay in position and a “arm” is removable and placed in position when needed to jack the plane. 

You can use any type of jack to capture the arm and lift. Well done Don!