Sunday April 15th, 2007|
Canopy Latch Lugs
Today I got the latch lugs installed. These things are non-trivial to get installed once you have the canopy together and installed. The problem? The plans tell you to clamp them in place but there's absolutely no way to do it. What I did was get a scrap piece of aluminum, cut it to the same width as the latch lug, then drill a hole in the centerline toward the top. Then I got inside the fuselage, closed the canopy and reaching up through the latch lug holes in the gusset (you tip-up builders know what I'm talking about) I put a mark on the canopy channel centerline. Then I opened the canopy and extended the centerline vertically a few inches. I drilled a hole on the centerline, aligned vertically with the rivet holes. Then I clecod on my scrap aluminum and tried to close the canopy. When you close the canopy the aluminum will slide slightly to the right or left and align perfectly with the hole. Then, from inside the fuselage, I marked on the scap aluminum what I thought was the approximate location for the bottom end of the lug. I carefully opened the canopy without moving the scrap left or right, then pulled it off. I transferred the hole in the scrap to a hole in the lug, then clecoed the lug in place. I closed the canopy again to make sure I had the height correct. I managed to nail the height on the right side but the height on the left side was a little off, so I just had to (as they plans describe) 'cheat' the hole a little up. Once you drill to full size you have a perfectly round hole. Anyway....once I was sure I had the lug in the prop location I traced down either side to make sure I knew where the lug should sit, then I drilled a lower hole through the lug and the channel and angle on the forward side. After checking again, I enlarged the holes to full-size.
Oh yeah...one other thing. Do this part of your project after you have the skin riveted on. The lift struts actually push the canopy forward when the forward skin isn't installed...and even pushes it a little forward when the forward skin IS installed. This caused the canopy skin to catch on the forward skin when I opened it and it bent my forward skin pretty good as well as cracking some of my fiberglass work. Oh well, I guess I got a little carried away on the fiberglass when doing the canopy and carried the fairing a little far down. I have no idea how I'm going to fix this...but I'll figure it out just like everything else on this project. The trick to finished this plane is to not get discouraged.