Canopy and windshield work

September 15, 2016 – In the last post I described how I prepped the forward top skin for installation before I could install the windshield. One of the things I had done previously bugged me a little bit as far as maintainability is concerned.

The fuel vent lines are clamped in place as they run from the inlets to the tanks. I realized when the top skin is installed, I wouldn’t be able to get to the top clamp if I ever had to remove a vent tube. So I removed the screw and nut for that clamp, and I installed nutplates in the left and right top gussets.

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Here’s the screw from underneath:

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I moved on and started preliminary trimming of the windshield. I have a pretty nice 3/16″ or so gap between the windshield and the canopy. I’m just going to clean that edge up to prevent future cracking.

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My friend Floyd came over to see the project, and to help me drill the inner side skirt braces. Then I prepped, painted and installed them.

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I started on the aft blocks that provide the stops for the canopy. There are pins in the canopy frame that will go into holes in hard lastic blocks, and will secure the aft end of the canopy when it is closed.

Before I could start those, I realized I had left out some rivets in the side skins right at the aft ends of the tracks. I installed them so the skin was tightly in position.

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The plans call for the channels that the blocks go into to be 1/8″ from the outer edge of the canopy decks to allow for clearance of rivets. I drilled for that.

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One little problem, which really has everything to do with my canopy still being just a hair too wide (see previous posts). here’s how the pin on the canopy frame is positioned in the channel for the block on the left side:

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The pin should go into the block more inboard than it is. I decided that I have enough clearance from the rivets to move these channels a little bit outboard, closer to the canopy frame on each side. I thought maybe I could make some of these channels, but I decided to go ahead and order two new ones from Van’s, and I’ll drill the new ones so they are a bit outboard from where these are.

Here’s a picture of the inner skirt brace and an aft block shot from inside with the canopy closed:

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Time: 7:30

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Made and installed fuel vent tubes

November 11, 2015 – I made the two fuel vent tubes.

The fuel tanks are vented using air from fittings installed in the belly, routed up through the fuselage and out to each tank in the wings.

There are several somewhat complex bends. The tubing is soft and easy to bend, but it can be overbent, which will damage it. I had read that it helps to use stiff wire to lay out the bends. I used a coat hanger. Not sure how much it really helped, but OK.

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I installed the fittings in the sides of the fuselage where the tube connects and goes out to the wings.

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I just slowly bent the tubing to fit.

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The worst part was down at the side fittings, because there are two or three sharper bends. I switched out the fittings for a better fit. The original configuration is for a 90 degree fitting. I put in 45 degree fittings and got a better fit.

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I also found it easier to install the clamps as I went. This held the tubing in place so I could fine-tune some of the bends by hand.

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The tubes don’t look like they came out of Boeing, but I’m pretty happy with them.

Time: 5:00

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Some small fuselage stuff

November 3, 2015 – I did a couple of small items today.

I crawled back into the tailcone and installed the shoulder harness brackets.

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I had previously cut the fuel vent fittings that are installed under the belly and take air in to vent the fuel tanks. I sealed on some screen to keep the bugs out, then I installed them in the belly. The sealant job could probably be prettier…

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Time: :30

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