Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, August 15, 2010


8 hrs, 40 rivets

An airplane has two sides, left and right. Many items on the plane have a left and right version. Left HS, right HS. Left wing, right wing. Left longeron, right longeron. Because there's two, you learn how to do it on the first, and then second is always better. Notice how I always enumerate from the left? I did that during construction, too. The left side has lots of mistakes, the right side is noticeably better (to me, that is). I'm convinced this plane will only fly in circles!

Then there are items where there's only one. One instrument panel. One engine. You have to get it right the first time. One canopy. Either that or you do a better job on the next plane.

So it happens I glued up the canopy today. I should say We. Wayne came over, bringing with him hundreds of clamps, and we masked, prepped, primed, and ran beads of SikaFlex. In the end, it looks like it will work. But I already know what things to do different next time. So, assuming Wayne has me help with his canopy, Wayne's will be better than mine!

This morning was spent getting ready for the adventure. This meant finishing drilling the 957 attach strips to the canopy frame, countersinking them, and then riveting them. The rivets will be hidden by the skirt.

Then I bent the canopy frame in by a small amount to compensate for the spread that the canopy will cause when it's attached the frame. In my case I needed to bend the frame in another 1/4". To do this I had to compress the deflect the forward and aft bows about 5 inches from their natural state. This is really hard to do by yourself with any accuracy. I cut a 2x2 to length, placed it between the bow where I'm trying to bend, and then put all my weight on the bow until it hits the 2x2. Measure, cut another 1/2" off the 2x2, try again. Eventually I squeezed both the aft and forward bows in by just the right amount. After clamping the canopy in place, it spreads the frame to just the right width for a good fit to the tracks and fuselage.