Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasflügel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New view, New Canopy! Part 1

Back to the story!

Crunch, crunch,... when you replace a canopy, expect to hear that sound!  I tackled the start of replacing the canopy.

I was a little uncomfortable about the three cracks in the front of the canopy for three reasons. The first, there was some distortion, and second, I didn't trust the repair strength, and last, it was nasty looking.

One of the first major goals after buying the Libelle, was to purchase a replacement canopy. ThermoTechUSA has a replacement canopy, so, I called them and spoke with Ray. He had the mold for the standard high canopy, and could ship me a replacement in two weeks!.. So, I bought one!

Which has been sitting in a spare bedroom for better than seven months now.

Finally after three long cold months of winter, I was ready to start work on getting the canopy frame ready for the replacement plexie.

To start the work of removing the old plexie, I was tasked to remove the old paint off of the frame to expose the screws that are used to help secure the plexie to the frame. 

So here I am taking an hour sanding the paint away to expose my first screw, but it looked more like a resin plug and not a screw. Now I find myself pestering poor Robert Mudd for info on what I was doing wrong. Robert said, just bring the canopy in and let me see what you're taking about.

I drove to his shop and showed him what I did. He asked if I had time to work on the frame there, which I did.

We set up two saw horses outside and set the canopy on them. At that moment, Robert brings out a pneumatic tool with a small grinder blade on it.

On the first screw I believed I started to expose, Robert ground out a gash exposing the head of the screw. He then took a flat head screwdriver and tried to clean out the resin in the notch.

Note, when doing this, there is sometimes a lower lip of the frame. Do not grind into this. Fortunately I knew this already and I knew better to avoid gouging into the lower frame.


Once that was done, he started to loosen the screw and then asked me if I could do the rest!

Shit!, I would have spent a week just trying to remove one screw, and here it was done in just two minutes!
A special note: If you think you are going to save the canopy after doing this, think again!.

I spent about an hour removing forty-one screws. That was it! Picking up the canopy and walking back into the hanger, Robert took a look at canopy, and with wide eyes said "You done already, damn that didn't take long".

Robert began trying to pry the canopy from the frame, first with a thin putty scrapper, then followed by a flat chisel. After a few whacks around the inside frame, the old plexie start to separate.

As the heavier glued areas begain to emerge, the whacking of the hammer and chisel began to be more than the match for the plexie, and it started to crack and split. Then it just popped off!

It's too funny and ironic, that during the process of hammering with the chisel, the two areas that I would have thought  to be the first to crack apart were the earlier repair work, and the side sliding window opening.
Both remained intact. only shortly after removing the canopy away from the frame did the sliding window opening cracked.

The repair has remained sound!.  The lesson of the story,.. If the repair was done correctly, it is stronger than the plexie around it!

So here it is! A canopy frame ready for the next step.

The plan is to paint the frame to match the planned color of the cockpit interior. So, before that can happen, I will need to fill in the gaps, voids and old screw holes that once held a camera mount.

I will also need to remove any plexie fragments still attached to the frame that the original sealed still held in place.

Another little bonus:
While removing the old felt protectors, I came across the original Werk Number on the canopy frame! Hidden for nearly forty years!

Yahoo! it matches my airframe serial numbers!

Next, to be done to the frame:
Clean off the old glue and start filling the holes and gaps!

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