Wed May 12 2010

Drilling canopy frame

Well, just as I was about to get working on the plane this morning, Snickers came in with something stinky (I believe it was bunny poo) smeared on his face and chest. Why he feels compelled to roll in disgusting things I have no idea. Anyway, into the tub he went. Here he is about 20 minutes later, wet and disgruntled.

After placing the wood spacer blocks in the right side of the cahnnel, I placed the front half of the channel on the assembly in preparation for drilling.

Using lots of clamps and checking the thickness of the assembly frequently, I progressed with drilling the inside row of rivets.

Same procedure for the left side of the canopy frame. Here are the wood spacer blocks in position just before placing and clamping the front of the assembly for drilling.

So far, I hadn't been concerned about keeping this assembly flat. I knew from previous experience that it would be quite flexible until the final (outside, forward) row of rivets was drilled and clecoed. Here you can see how flexible the assembly is with both inside rows and the outside aft row clecoed. It doesn't take much force to get a good 8 to 10 inches worth of twist.

Prior to drilling the outside forward row of rivets, I leveled some wood scraps on which I placed the canopy frame. Notice I'm using a heavy blue item (power supply) to weight down the left side of the canopy frame. Once level, it was time to drill!

Here's the assembly fully drilled and clecoed. It's much more rigid with all four rows drilled and clecoed.

I spent some time working on determining the correct location for the canopy frame assembly. There are two conflicting indications on the plans which result in about 5/32 difference of position.

Here you can see the plans indicate the forward edge of the canopy frame is to be 56 13/16 from the firewall. However, you can also see that the forward face of the canopy frame is aligned with the forward edge of the turtledeck skin. After doing some research, it became clear that this is a common point of confusion and most folks align the forward face of the canopy frame with the skin, but care must be taken to ensure the four fasteners shown here are reasonably well centered within the flanges of the forward and aft curved sections of the canopy frame.