Now that we are in the season of doing some cross country overnight trips I needed to think about protecting Man O’ War while it sits on the ramp. I already had a cover made a few years ago from Bruce’s Covers. The last piece I needed was cowl plugs. These do just as their name suggest and plug the two big holes to the right and left of the propellor. They keep things like birds and any other debris that would make its way into you engine compartment area. The process was simple enough to order them. They request good measurements and high definition photos to make the fit perfect. With that information they get to work and in a few weeks you end up with a great set of plugs that include a feather tying them together, two flags so that you can visibly see them from the cockpit and personalized N-number on both of them.
I was photographed the other day by @airbaer150 and didn’t even know it until someone pointed it out. I reached out to Mike Baer and he sent me a few of the photos he took.
I’m loving this shot and we are going to try to get another one done but in higher definition. That way we can blow it up and put it on a large canvas.
In the original plans Vans gives you the option to put a lock similar to the forward baggage door to secure the canopy. I just didn’t like the look of that lock and never installed it. One other option to secure the canopy is with a locking mechanism on the aft end of the canopy using the canopy rail. The gang over at flyboysaccessories.com has one that fit what I wanted. The idea is that you drill a small #28 hole in the rail at just the right spot. Then slide there lock mount along the rail going forward. There is a pin that screws up and down allowing it to slide into the hole you drilled and preventing it form sliding fore/aft. Then you can add a lock, which they provide, and lock the mechanism in place. I added a small piece of the soft half of a Velcro strip to pad the canopy from the new lock.
It works great and is easily removed and hidden away in my tool bag. I won’t need to use this very much but nice to have when I will be away from the RV for longer periods of time at unknown airports.
One really cool thing about the RV-8 is the speed. On our way home we flew at 9500’ with a pretty good tailwind giving us a great ground speed. That’s 206kts over the ground or 237mph!
On our trip to Nebraska we landed in Shenandoah Iowa for fuel as we headed west. When I got out to fuel I found this:
I have an idea why this happened, when we loaded up in the morning it was still windy and cold at home. After we loaded up I slid the canopy closed loosely just to get the wind off us. When I needed to secure the canopy I just used the latch to pull it closed the rest of the way rather than sliding the canopy aft and sliding it forward with the normal force to get it to its closed position. So I think I added a little of side force on that corner and that plus the rivet hole caused the crack.
So I tried to stop drill it in Nebraska but the drill bit was too dull so I stopped. I figured I would take my chances on the trip home. I reached out to Vans with my game plan and they agreed it was the best plan of attack.
What I decided to do was to drill the hole using a coat hanger heated red hot and melt the hole. This was needed since the crack is right on top of the roll bar frame. After melting the hole I carefully sanded the edge of the hole to clean the edges. I then used my scratch repair liquids to remove the sanding marks and return the area back to clear. Once that was finished I made sure the crack was perfectly lined up and then used Weld-On #3 to weld the two parts of the crack together. Weld-On is an acrylic glue that actually welds the two parts together chemically. This glue is thinner than water and wicks itself into the crack.
After 24 hours I sanded the crack a little to make sure all the edges were nice and smooth and then polished it all up. Even with the crack repair you can still see it as a shadow. So I decided it was time to cover the forward edge of the canopy. This is a common practice to clean up the edge. Some paint it but I decided I would just cut a 3/4” strip of glossy black vinyl and use that to cover it.
You can still see a slight ripple where the crack was if you look just right but most will never see it. They always say it’s not if but when you canopy will crack. If this was “my” crack I will be very happy it happened where it did.