Chapter 18 - Step 10

In this step you install the canopy.

New Canopy August 25, 2006. Let the fun and confusion begin. Here is the canopy as it came out of the delivery crate from Todd's Canopies. My turtleback is about 1.75" higher than plans and the canopy was still plenty oversized. I don't recall if I told Todd to make mine a bit bigger or not. The blue tape along the aft end of the canopy was added by me to protect the inside of the canopy while testing the fit.

Oversized Canopy August 25, 2006. Here is a shot from the rear showing how much the canopy was oversized. This is a good thing. You want a bit extra so you can cut it to the correct size for your plane.

Trim at Shoulder Support August 25, 2006. The first task to get the canopy cut to size is to cut enough where it interferes with the turtleback flange and the shoulder support. Simply measure the circumference of the turtleback and transfer this to the canopy. A key point to remember is that the canopy isn't at all like the rest of the plane. One wrong cut and you are buying a second canopy. You can't simply glue a piece back on and add some glass like you can with a bulkhead or other part. So like the plans say - cut in small steps - not all at once.

Instrument Panel Cutout August 25, 2006. The next place to cut is at the instrument panel. This is done to get the front of the canopy down to the correct height. This is where my confusion really started kicking in. The plans have you use the B.L.0 template but it's really dependent on the canopy being exactly the same shape as the one used on Nat's prototype. When I first began cutting my canopy the B.L.0 template was 3" above F-28! That can't be right. To me a better measurement would be how high the canopy should be above the top of the IP and at what B.L. the edge of the canopy should be at when resting on the IP. I posted a question to the Cozy list but only received three answers and they were all several inches apart. Oh well. I guess I can do what I "think" is right within reason.

Initial Trimming August 26, 2006. Here is the canopy in place after the initial trimming was complete. I do not have the typical dip at the canopy/turtleback intersection that so many builders have reported. The combination of the higher turtleback and Todd's canopy eliminated the issue for me.

Initial Trimming August 26, 2006. Here I have trimmed the bottom of the canopy to give a 1/4" clearance above the longeron. I have also added the tape around the canopy as well as bubble wrap over the original plastic. Under the duct tape is some high quality 3M eletrical tape. DON'T stick masking or duct tape directly to the canopy - YOU'LL BE VERY SORRY year(s) later when you try to remove it.

Initial Trimming August 26, 2006. The front of the canopy showing the tape in place. It's important to get the tape down perfectly for a nice clean straight edge. This will be one of the most looked at portions of the airplane so do a good job.

Bigger View August 26, 2006. Another shot of the whole canopy. It sort of looks like I have the dip but it's just an allusion from the bubble wrap.

Another View August 26, 2006. And yet another shot head on.

Canopy Deck Platform August 29, 2006. Next came time to build a platform for the canopy deck foam. I hate gluing and attaching these sorts of things so I came up with a way to hold up the platform with some boards and clamps.

Canopy Deck Platform August 29, 2006. A shot showing some of my crazy setup.

Canopy Deck Platform August 29, 2006. And another.

Retrimming Canopy August 30, 2006. After a lot of confusion about how best to trim the canopy and all I decided to retrim it. Since the canopy deck foam gets trimmed to 3/4" depth later on, it seems the canopy should be trimmed so no more than 3/4" is left below the tape line. So that's what I did. I trimmed the front so there is 3/4" left and then along the sides I tapered the cut toward the turtleback.

Retrimming Canopy August 30, 2006. Shot of the retrimmed canopy from the front.

Propping Canopy August 30, 2006. Of course trimming the canopy that much shorter at the front meant I needed a bigger block at the instrument panel to hold it up. As it turns out I need exactly a 1" block at the IP.

Floxing Canopy September 1, 2006. Floxing the canopy in place was very stressful for me. It was such a big committment after all the indecision I had about how to tape and trim the canopy. No going back now. You can see the weight I put on top of the canopy. The canopy actually fit the turtleback fairly well even without the weights.

Constraining Canopy Sides September 1, 2006. Once again I didn't want to bondo boards on to the turtleback to hold the canopy sides in place so I just did the silly setup. Worked well enough.

Final View September 1, 2006. Another shot showing how I trimmed the canopy and propped up the front at the IP. It's easier to see since I sanded the canopy with 220 grit.

Final View September 1, 2006. And another view.