had several issues while fitting the
skirt. I don’t want
to give a step by
step process here, but rather want to discuss those issues, and how I
with them. You
could encounter these
same issues installing your skirt.
It doesn’t really matter which airplane you
fiberglass may not fit exactly, and you will have to make it work.
Drilling to the Frame
I marked the two lines at
on the canopy at every
hole in the top rail of the frame.
transferred them to the skirt as I went.
I used a hole finder for the bottom rail, and
for the holes in
I initially used a
smaller bit to
drill the holes in the
way, if I was off by
just a little, the smaller bit would still be in the frame hole. Then I wiggled it around a
little to center
the hole in the fiberglass. Then
went back with the #40 drill bit, I had a centered hole.
My parts didn’t fit very
well. The top and
bottom lips of
the canopy skirt would
not both lay flat to the canopy and the side of the fuselage at the
time. Either the
top was flush and the
bottom stuck out, or the skirt fit well to the fuselage and poked out
With the canopy propped
1/8” open, I
started by trimming the
aft ends of the fiberglass just to get the large amount of extra
of the way so I could get a good fit.
realized I had a pretty good fit on the back of the canopy and fuselage
the very front, forward of the first canopy frame rib.
But the middle section didn’t fit well.
So I cut lengthwise down the seam where the
skirt bends from fitting the frame and fuselage to where it fits the
canopy. You can see
the white line in
the above picture, just below the clecoes.
started from the front of the canopy skirt,
to the frame. I
kept drilling until the
skirt no longer matched, and that is where I started the cut. Then I kept drilling aft,
working my way down
what was now the upper and lower pieces of the skirt.
This worked until I got about half way around
the aft curve of the canopy. Then
to cut the skirt vertically in two.
finished drilling and clecoeing the
front piece, then fit and drilled the aft piece.
You can see the vertical white lines where I
had to make several cuts to allow the bottom of the skirt bend tight to
After all the parts were
taped the ends of the
pieces I had cut to the sides of the fuselage until everything was held
proper place. Then
I layed up one strip
of fiberglass on the outside of the skirt across all of the cuts I had
made. Some of the
gaps were ¼” or more,
but that didn’t matter, I just put the one strip of fiberglass.
When it was dry, I
the skirt half from the
frame and filled the backside of the cuts with resin and micro balloons
waited for that to set enough so that it wouldn’t run, but was still
flexible. Then I
clecoed and taped the entire thing
back to frame and let it dry hard.
I took it back off and
excess material on the
inside. Then I
added another layer of
glass to the inside and the outside of the seams.
I then marked where I
wanted the top
of the canopy skirt above the
holes, and trimmed it to size.
The canopy skirt was now
pretty much set in
position, and I trimmed
the back of the bottom to final size.
Prep for Final Assembly
used a lot of electrical tape to mask things off.
After the skirt was riveted to the canopy and
frame, I put two layers of electric tape directly to the canopy right
edge of where I wanted the top of the skirt.
I then ensured the rest of the canopy was
still covered so
fiberglass got on it.
I used wax paper against
to keep the fiberglass
I had to fill a few low
the canopy skirt to get it
smooth. I also had
a few spots across
the top edge that needed finishing.
is where the two layers of tape came in handy.
I laid up fiberglass or just resin as
sanded. I was able
to aggressively sand until I hit
the first layer of tape. Then
to finer paper until I started wearing through the first layer. I swapped the top layer as
I wore through,
but never got to the second layer, keeping the Plexiglas pretty.
did the aft end of the skirt last, and it took a lot of
work. I joined the
two halves and built
up the fiberglass with micro balloons and layers until I got the smooth
lines I wanted.
I made a form for the
it covers the rail by bending
a piece of scrap aluminum into shape.
You can see in the
picture that it
has a good shape, but I
still have a little edge dressing to finalize.
finish up the entire canopy assembly by looking at the windshield
from Canopy Skirt
to Finishing Kit
or to Fiberglass
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