I haven't written a blog update since July. This doesn't mean I haven't been busy on the build. I had spent months thinking about a canopy mechanism; something that would meet the criteria of i) slides back ii) keeps the fuselage profile and iii) opens for taxi. I started this canopy mechanism in July, by the time mid October came around, I realized I was in a gloomy situation; every time I hit a problem, I found that I could fix it, but was creating more complexity in the opening mechanism as I progressed. Till one day, I suddenly realized that what I was building was no longer what I had envisioned at the outset. So, I decided to cut it dead and start over, going back to the drawing board.
I then recalled a forum user, Tommyj, who had designed his own mechanism and according to his pics, was successful with his design. Having spent months of wasted time, I needed to get this right this time, so I arranged to go to Tommyj's location, which is in Dayton OHio - I had to see the mechanism in person so I could absorb everything. It was a whirlwind visit; flew there in the AM, had 4 hours on site, then flew back. It was a long day, but well worth it, since I returned armed with dozens of pics, lots of measurements and copious notes.
Getting out the cut-off wheel and cutting through all that work was painful, but it had to be done - this has been by far, the worst redux on the whole project.
I have moved! The plane now resides in Georgetown, this is only 10.5 minutes from my house, previously, I was having to travel 40 minutes to work on the project. Now, it is a complete lifestyle change; I can be sitting there watching boring TV at 7PM, and on a whim, I can just 'pop down and do a bit' for an hour or two. This close proximity will speed up the build time significantly.
After cleaning up the old canopy attempt, polishing removed welds, etc, I started on the new'. Basically, the canopy frame sits on a canopy fuselage frame. The fuselage frame was tacked in place. I then tackled what was probably the most difficult part of this design, and that was fabricating the rotating mechanism fore and aft. These components are now built , dry fitted and finish welded. I now need to order the bubble. Meanwhile, I have plenty to focus on, what with the locking mechanisms still to make, etc.
The canopy is a tilt and turn format. These don't normally work on a Skybolt due to the canopy clashing with the upper wing as it rotates, but Tommy came up with a rather ingenious approach; the canopy slides rearward 13 inches or so, then it rotates over.
2010 is coming to a close and I was hoping the fuselage would have been powder coated, oh well, if it wasn't for the huge canopy redux it would have been....