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Latching canopy from the outside printer friendly version
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dannparks
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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 10:15 AM  

As more canopies get replaced with versions that do not have the sliding window, there is increasing interest in being able to operate the latch from the outside. Also for safety reasons, someone might want a faster way to open the canopy from the outside. Has anyone worked out a modification for the mechanism, or developed a new design?

It would seem that a simple way would be to redesign the bracket to extend a rotating shaft through the fuselage to a small, aerodynamic lever on the outside. I'm not sure what the structure is in that spot or if putting a hole there is a smart thing to do. There is also the safety latch-pin to consider -- that would prevent the handle from being rotated from the outside. Maybe creating a more positive over-center holding action would be enough to eliminate the safety pin. Although it's never a good solution to remove a safety device, Van's RV aircraft have a similar design concept for their latches with just the over-center holding them.

Another question about the design would be if you want to latch it "flight ready" from the outside, or just latch it for security or so it doesn't blow open. Maybe the flight safety could be just on the inside, but you could latch it without the safety from the outside.

Are there some other ideas? Maybe post some examples of similar latches?

--------------------
Dann Parks • RF4D #4051 N2188 • now flying!
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eugenio
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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 01:28 PM  

Just a consideration: do you like to be cooked into the motorglider? I don't think you live (and fly) where it's so cold that you don't need some fresh air coming into the cockpit. Do not count on the two small air vents on the wing, they just blow some air below your knees. That said, it is true that the window may start cracks, but there are lots of other things that do the same. At last all gliders have a sliding windows (at least the european made) and not all have the canopy broken, most of them are in perfect shape!

Eugenio

Jorgen
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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 04:43 PM  

Quote:
Maybe the flight safety could be just on the inside, but you could latch it without the safety from the outside.

Dann,
no offense, but I don't think it's a good idea with the safety just on the inside if you plan to remove the window and that's what I meant by the safety issue. If the pilot is incapacitated after a landing someone on the outside needs to be able to open the canopy from the outside ASAP.

I also agree with Eugenio (as almost always): I like the slide window: for ventilation, snapping pictures with the camera outside, opening the canopy in a pretty standardised way that many (most?) people are familiar with and last but not least- I think that window is part of the glider heritage of the RF 4. I'm soaring the 4 a lot and I do think I get more of "the glider feel" with that window, I recognise that whistling sound when I crack it open a bit etc.

That said, maybe there is a better way to latch the canopy. I'm not overly impressed with the safety latch pin, I've had it come un-safe on two occasions after take-offs from bumpy strips. But if your main concern are cracks in the canopy I bet all those screw holes for the frame are just as likely "crack-culprits". Maybe one should view the canopy as a "semi-expendable" and be prepared to change it every now and then, when it gets cracks/scratches/opaqueness etc.

May the 4's be with you/ Jörgen

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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 05:45 PM  

I'm new to this, so take my comments for what they are worth.

I like the idea of the sliding side window for the reasons already given, and it solves the outside access issue without redesigning the latch. The Diamond I recently flew had a sliding window on both sides to allow access to the canopy latches and for ventilation while taxiing.

I've found the safety latch pin to actually secure rather well, although I have not taken off from a bumpy strip. It takes a firm pull to disengage when opening the canopy.

Also wondering if the sliding window could be retrofitted to an installed canopy?

Don

dannparks
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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 11:09 PM  

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if a sliding window can be fit to the canopy I have. The rounded shape at the bottom would likely not match the window shape very well, and it would need to twist a bit as it slides. Thats why I looking for a different solution. Ventilation can be accomplished with popup vents that mount in simple holes in the canopy. And the safety (and convenience) issues can be addressed if a latch can be developed that meets all the requirements. Not as sexy as a sliding window, but I don't think that will be an option for me.

Has anyone mounted a sliding window to a non-standard canopy with more rounded sides?

Maybe there is a different kind of window that can be used?

--------------------
Dann Parks • RF4D #4051 N2188 • now flying!
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milnerd
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Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 @ 08:32 AM  

Dann,

You could try a Piper Cherokee style fold down window. They also have the option for the big scoop that flips forward into place when the clear view window is folded down. Those scoops really move a lot of air!

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/koolscoop.php

The latch that holds the window closed could protrude through both sides so that it can be opened from inside or outside.

Dave

jb92563
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Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 @ 02:51 PM  

Extra air in the cockpit is essential in the summer as the wing inlets do not provide much.

I have a sliding vent from Mecaplex and that still does not do the trick. It needs a scoop type vent to get the air directed inside.

I have no cracking problems with the slider on my canopy.

The opening is right over the canopy latch so it solves the ingress from outside issue.

Opening the sliding vent only seems to let air exit and does not bring in air in my experience.

I had to make a scoop pop open vent on the slider as well to actually force some air in.

In retrospect one of those aircraft spruce 2" vents installed on the slider would work great probably.

I did notice during my flight with the new scoop, that the air pressure from inside tended to push the scoop open a crack when it was in the closed position which makes me think that I really need a vent to let more air out somewhere.

I suppose a NACA flush style exhaust vent (Minimal drag penalty) perhaps behind the pilot, high (to facilite hot air exiting) up in the turtle deck over the storage shelf might be a good idea to vent the incoming air.

Alternately perhaps a hidden place would be better. Perhaps a NACA flush vent in the rudder cable exits might serve a dual purpose without much impact. I should add a vent/grill in the rear storage shelf to provide a way for the air to get the rudder exits though.

[Edit by jb92563 on Friday, June 22, 2012 @ 03:02 PM]

[Edit by jb92563 on Friday, June 22, 2012 @ 03:04 PM]

--------------------
Ray
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milnerd
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Posted Saturday, June 23, 2012 @ 07:44 AM  

That would explain the aft facing vent on the back right hand side (over your right shoulder) of my original Milan canopy. It is a round, dome-like, moulding of clear plastic about 2" in diameter and 1/2" high and open on the back side with a semi circular shaped hole through the canopy inside I would guess that it is to create a negative pressure in the cockpit so that the ventilation will work.

I see that Aircraft Spruce has a gizmo that woould achieve the same thing if you installed it facing aft rather than as a scoop:

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/vistavents.php

eugenio
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Posted Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 06:41 AM  

The sliding window can be installed on any canppy, just if you want the window matches with the canopy you need a piece of plexiglas bent/blow (call it as you like) with the canopy shape. Who produce the canopy know how to bent a piece of plexiglas (usually is 4 to 5 mm thick) with the same shape of the canopy.

For the air scoop, I agree that the original Mecaplex one (very expensive by the way) does not work much, but if you build your own air scoop as per my own project, with scrap plywood, you will have a very effective fresh air inlet without any modification to your aircraft.

The drawing is here: http://www.cfiamerica.com/images/Air%20vent0001.pdf

Eugenio

[Edit by eugenio on Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 06:43 AM]

Bob Grimstead
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Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 10:18 AM  

Hi Guys,

We have slipped off-topic again.

For improved cockpit ventilation which works excellently in +40°C temps, see www.fournieruk.com
Click on 'Technical'
Click on 'miscellaneous'
Click on 'Bob's mods'
See mod no 6, which uses cheap, low-temperature SCEET (I think) ducting, but swimming pool cleaner hose works just as well, provided you use the correct diameter.
The P-clips holding the ducting to the wheel cover are cut out from Aeroshell oil bottles.
Be sure to use short self-tapping screws, so you don't puncture your tyre!

This system is much better than a window vent, because it blows cool air directly into your face.

Now, about opening the canopy from the outside without a vent?....

Yours, Bob

--------------------

eugenio
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Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 02:13 PM  

Also my vent direct the air on your face if you want, and you can choose if you want the air direct on your face or somewhere else because the air flow is direct wherever you like, plus is much more simple, is lighter, does not need any modification and you don't have ducts running everywhere and is lighter.

Eugenio

Collin
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Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 02:43 PM  

http://www.cfiamerica.com/images/Air%20vent0001.pdf

--------------------
Collin Gyenes rebuilding RF4D, Flying RF5B

dannparks
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Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 05:46 PM  

Great thoughts about vents, but maybe back to the topic of the latch from the outside without a sliding window...

One thing is to determine what you what like to do, and what is absolutely necessary.

If it was just an emergency access concern (incapacitated pilot), the pin on the frame that the latch hooks on to could be modified by drilling it through the frame and replacing it with a quick-release-type pin that had a ring on the outside. In an emergency you would pull the pin out and it would allow the canopy to be opened. http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/topages/quckPins.php This is for emergency use only and does not solve the issue of latching from the outside, but if that solves a main issue, maybe that's as far as it need go.

A bigger modification would be to drill through the fuselage and modify the handle and bracket so it was on a shaft that also had a small, streamlined handle on the outside. The problem with the safety pin could be overcome by allowing the shaft sprung horizontal movement so that you would push the outside lever inward to move the inside handle away from the pin and rotate to unlatch. Operation from inside would be just as it is now. This requires drilling through the fuselage in a place that may create structural issues. That would need to be investigated.

There are plenty of ventilation options without the window, so it really comes down to safety, and maybe wanting to get a tighter canopy seal leaving the bird outside, or if it rains while it's parked somewhere. Maybe a canopy cover could solve that.

I know there are some flying without the slide window. How do you deal with it and what are your thought about it?

--------------------
Dann Parks • RF4D #4051 N2188 • now flying!
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Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @ 11:38 AM  

Hi,

Charlie Webber's RF4D had a mod to open from the out side but I can not find any pictures. I will see him in August. I will also email Charlie.

Collin

--------------------
Collin Gyenes rebuilding RF4D, Flying RF5B

Jorgen
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Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 04:22 PM  

Where I fly the temperatures are generally not that high, but when they are I use a manually operated vent:

Sorry, off topic again. I really intended to snap a shot of my latch which I think is fitted to the upper longeron. Since it's already drilled in place there I don't know if letting the latch axle protrude through to the outside will create any structural issues apart from what's already there, but to answer that I guess I would need to dismantle my latch. Which perhaps I should anyway- I suspect my "unlatching" episodes might be related to too much play in my latch.

May the 4's be with you/ Jörgen

[Edit by Jorgen on Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 04:26 PM]

Bob Grimstead
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Posted Monday, July 2, 2012 @ 11:39 AM  

I saw a good solution on Barry Smith's Acro Advanced yesterday.

Invert the latch, put its knob on the other side and have it pivoted on the canopy frame, then the only hole has to be drilled through the canopy frame, not through the wooden structure.
Put a long bolt fore-and-aft through the outer end of the pivot, so that it can be twisted to unlock from outside.
The locking pin could be spring-loaded, again on the canopy frame, but to be released by pulling from the outside.

I'll have to fiddle with some prototyping, but this may be our solution.

Yours, Bob

--------------------

Donald
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Posted Monday, July 2, 2012 @ 12:54 PM  

That does sound like a better way forward rather than cutting through the wood. I think though, I'd give some consideration to inserting a little tube through the frame both to provide a housing for the pivot and to reinforce the frame. The frame on the RF3 is not welded, but brazed, and I daresay silver solder as an even lower temperature jointing material would work perfectly well.
eugenio
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Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2012 @ 01:05 PM  

Perfect! so you have one more stuff that can break the plexiglass ...........

Eugenio

dannparks
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Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2012 @ 04:06 PM  

Reworking the latch to put the rotating part on the frame is very good design direction. Very interested to see what Bob comes up with as it might be easy to retrofit.

--------------------
Dann Parks • RF4D #4051 N2188 • now flying!
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Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2012 @ 11:40 AM  

Sorry, I will post a picture later. But in Keeping with Eugenio... "simple is best!" and talking with Todd (canopy guy) my goal was to lock the canopy so I focused on the outside lift handle. According to Todd, most of the broken canopies that are sent to him for replacements are cracked/broken around windows, eps. the sliding rectangles. Anyway, I added a small hinge (left over from the gear door rebuild) just forward of the handle. In the closed position, it lays under the canopy frame and out of the way. Then when parking and wanting to lock the canopy, open the hinge with a hole lined up near the lift handle... insert a small padlock and it is locked. It doesn't make a compressed fit, but the canopy can not go anywhere as it can only be lifted about 1/2". Almost too simple to talk about.
Bob Grimstead
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Posted Thursday, July 5, 2012 @ 06:43 AM  

Excellent idea Bob,

That covers the 'locking from the outside' case very well, but doesn't allow opening from the outside (after an accident) a canopy that has been locked from the inside if it doesn't have a window.

Don't hold your breath on my possible mod. I cannot legally do it in England, and I won't be back in Australia for months, so any other ideas or prototypes would be very welcome.

Yours, Bob

--------------------

jb92563
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Posted Thursday, July 5, 2012 @ 10:29 AM  

Love the simple hinge/padlock idea.

I may have to add that real quick before the fly-in.

--------------------
Ray
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http://picasaweb.google.com/jb92563/FournierRF4D
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jb92563
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Posted Friday, July 6, 2012 @ 12:52 PM  

I had to sketch it out to visualize how this would work and I can see its pure simplicity.

A single hole for a regular padlock will suffice and double holes if your using one of those flexible cable types like bicycle locks or gun locks.

I'm installing mine this weekend. Thanks Bob B. for the great idea.

--------------------
Ray
RF4D #4057 N-1771 Rectimo 1400cc
http://picasaweb.google.com/jb92563/FournierRF4D
http://www.touringmotorgliders.org

dannparks
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Posted Friday, July 6, 2012 @ 06:40 PM  

My latch bracket has a hole for a padlock built into it. I thought this was the way they were all made. Where some cut off or not made this way? A small padlock actually pulls it down pretty tight.

--------------------
Dann Parks • RF4D #4051 N2188 • now flying!
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Posted Saturday, July 7, 2012 @ 00:36 AM  

Hi Dann,

Your canopy lock was made by Mike Bittner.

Collin

--------------------
Collin Gyenes rebuilding RF4D, Flying RF5B

jb92563
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Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 11:31 AM  

I installed the Hinge lock this weekend and it works perfectly however the diagram shows the hinge installed near the rear of the handle and that is not the correct place for it because the canopy has an alignment pin in that area.

The proper location for the hinge is at the front of the handle where there are no obstructions.

I also rounded the corners on the hinge to prevent getting caught on stuff while entering and exiting the cockpit.

I also installed a keyed Mag ignition switch. (Sierra MP39760 Switch Ignition ~$10 online)

[Edit by jb92563 on Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 11:34 AM]

--------------------
Ray
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Bob Grimstead
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Posted Thursday, July 12, 2012 @ 07:22 AM  

Hi Guys,

I've had another, closer look at the canopy latching mechanism, and it would seem fairly easy to operate it (or a similar one) inverted, with an extension to the outside.

The roller on to which the latch locks is actually a small bolt, held in place with a locking nut, and sleeved with a short bush.

I haven't yet tried it, but it would seem a fairly straightforward matter to remove that bolt, drill further through the canopy frame and acrylic (making the acrylic hole nice and wide and smooth-edged, of course) and then fit a longer bolt from the outside, with a smaller bolt though it to act as the outer handle.

Then one would have to make another inner latch with a slightly different, shorter shape to lock around a pin fitting in the hole currently used as the latch's pivot.

So far I've done no more than glance at this, but it does seem not only feasible, but fairly straightforward (ie, probably not much mroe than one day's work).

Yours, Bob

--------------------

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