Ventus 2c: canopy

Cutting the canopy to size and glueing it onto the frame is one of those jobs that’s tricky and easy to get wrong. Worst of all is that any mistakes are very visible afterwards – a badly fitted canopy can really ruin a glider. No wonder I’ve never met anybody who actually likes doing this. Same here. I always wait for a day that “feels right”. I first check that the canopy frame is sanded to size (approx 1mm back from the outside of the fuselage – depending on the thickness of the canopy). Then I make the first rough cut of the canopy, place it over the frame (mounted onto the glider) and mark where I should cut it. Important is to make sure you mark the center at the front and rear of the canopy, to make sure that it’s always in the same place. The first “rough” cut I do using my Tamiya canopy scissors. Then it’s time for the (very rough) permagrit and 80grain sanding paper. Fit, sand, repeat (very often). I usually takes me 2-3 hours to get it right. Just be extremely careful with the sanding – one slip over the canopy and it’s ruined….

Once I have a fit that I’m satisfied with it’s time to glue the canopy to the frame. I do this using epoxy resin thickened with aerosil and micro-balloons. First I make sure that the fuselage is nicely waxed and protected with tape. Then I use a syringe to add glue all over the frame. Then comes the tricky part: carefully place the canopy over the frame and center the front and rear markings. Then I use wax tape to glue the frame in place. In areas where the frame is standing out I use leftover ebechi wood (vertical grain) with double-sided tape to make sure that the canopy is level with the fuselage. Now it’s time to let the resin cure and see how well I did this time.There will always be places where there was too much or too little epoxy, and I’ll need to make some small corrections after the first epoxy is cured.