Canopy Skirts Started

Time: 6 hours

I started the process of installing the canopy skirts. These come in to halfs that will eventually get mated at the aft end. They come in a rough size and need to be trimmed down to a scribe line they put in them. I started with my cut 1/4″ from the line to give me some working room. 

I grabbed my Dremel and cut to the line and created a lot of dust! Before I can mount them to the canopy frame I need to make reference lines for the holes in the canopy. These lines, 2 per hole, will intersect at the hole center. 

Then you put the skirt in place sliding it forward and aft until you find the sweet spot as Glenn called. Once that’s found you tape it in place so that you can transfer the lines you just drew. 

I started at the front and worked aft clecko’ing as I went. This is backwards from the plans but I have read others have done the same since the aft end is the hardest to get done and usually requires modification. I used the triangle shaped templates to drill the frame ribs. One side on and one to go. 

I had to do a initial trim of the aft end to get them to layup somewhat close. 

I’ll work on the aft end a little later for now I need to work the sides a little. First this is to mark the final edge cut now that I know where the rivet holes are.

 I’m glad I left 1/4″ extra since there was an area on both sides in the back end that was right at the needed distance and didn’t require any extra cutting. Once I had the edge marked I cut it off with the Dremel and sanded the edges to get a nice straight edge. The desire is to have the lower edge nice and tight to the fuselage skin. Both sides have a little gap at the bend where it turns up. 

To fix this problem I will make slot cuts in the fiberglass vertically to relieve the stress and allow me to bend down flush against the fuselage. I placed packing tape all over the fuselage under the area that needed fixed to prevent the epoxy from sticking. Then I marked where I thought the cuts needed to be. 

I cut the slots then prepped the area for some fiberglass. I cut some squares of medium fiberglass cloth to cover the gaps I just cut. With the skirt off and upside down I wetted the cloth peices and put them over the slots. Then I put the skirts back on the frame with it slid back a little. Then I slid the canopy forward so that it set in its closed position. The sides are able to easily be pushed down flush with the fuselage and held there with some gorilla tape. 

When this dries I will remove the black tape and fill the slots on the exterior with epoxy and micro. Then I will put another layer of cloth inside and a lightweight layer on the exterior to strengthen this area. So I couldn’t move the canopy as this dries so I called it a day. I will repeat this process for the right side tomorrow. After these are done I will attempt to build the aft end and join the to halfs. 

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