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g zero 01-14-2012 07:55 AM

Canopy skirts
Getting close to finishing the fuselage ,received some prices fron Vans on the canopy frame and skirts ( I am using a Todd's Canopy , Grove Gear and Wheels, and a James Cowl ) .The price for the Skirts are over $500 .I am pretty good with carbon,glass,epoxy, is three any thing complex about these parts ?

Rhino889 01-14-2012 09:10 AM

I have Todd's canopy. Just about to rivet skirt to frame and sika the canopy to skirt top.

I ripped apart most of the skirt to get the fit I wanted (zero gap at canopy and sealing the slider rail). When I do my next plane and use Todd's canopy, I will save the $500 and do my own.

Found myself fighting to work within the skirt profile. I think it would have been easier to start with a "clean sheet". I had never worked with fiberglass before... with your experience, it shouldn't be much work.

Hope it help,


RV8RIVETER 01-14-2012 09:15 AM

I have a stock canopy, but I had to do enough work I might as well had done skirts from scratch. If I was building again, that is what I would do.

algrajek 01-14-2012 10:56 AM

You will be a lot better off doing your own. It took a LOT of work to get the Vans Skirt to fit Todds canopy, especially at the rear , and about 1/4 the way up the sides from the rear.

SmilingJack 01-14-2012 01:48 PM

I have a Todd's and found the same as the rest.

panhandler1956 01-14-2012 04:40 PM

I used the stock skirt on my stock canopy, but it took a lot of cutting and fitting and modifying and it's far from perfect - for $500 I would do mine from scratch!

Pat Stewart 01-14-2012 05:26 PM

I have built 3 RV's, two of them 8's. It is true that the skirts don't fit perfectly. There is no way to consistently fit the canopy which means every skirt will fit differently based on the canopy installation. The vans skirt usually requires some modification however it will still be a better option to work from vs. starting from scratch. If I build another 8 I will still use the skirt from Vans.


jaypee 01-14-2012 06:07 PM

Another Option
My canopy skirts also were pretty bad. As reported earlier, the fit around the back of the Todd's canopy wasn't close. My tech counselor suggested using the stock skirts to do layups for the sides as the fit was generally ok there except for the rear of the top (thanks Gil!). This "skirted around" the problem of making a mold for the sides. Being a fiberglass rookie and not the quickest study, the whole thing took quite awhile. What finally worked was 2 layups of 9 oz on the sides. It was then pliable enough to mold somewhat, but stiff enough to do additional layups on. Then drilling into the frame so they could be clecoed and laying up the rear to connect the sides. This was done using the "tape mold" around the rear documented so well on Ironflights' RV3 (thanks!) I ended up cutting off and redoing the tops along the sides to get a better fit. Also trimming and redoing here and there to get better fit. Lots of thrashing around learning.

If I did it again, one thing I'd do differently would be to mark the edge with contrasting tape. The sharpie lines come right off moving squishy layups around.

Hope this makes sense
Jerald King
RV8 finishing.....still

RV8MW 01-14-2012 06:30 PM


Originally Posted by panhandler1956 (Post 617576)
I used the stock skirt on my stock canopy, but it took a lot of cutting and fitting and modifying and it's far from perfect - for $500 I would do mine from scratch!

I have a Todd's canopy and fitting the vans skirt.I am in the third month of trying to get the rear to fit. Just about got it. It can be done but its a lot of work. I split mine in several places in the rear forced it flat and reglassed. Then you have a wide gap at the top you have to fill in then sand back from the outside. The front half from where it turns up the side of the fuselage forward fits pretty good. I would probably cut the rear half off and lay up that section if I had it to do over. It has really tried my patience I am just to much of a perfectionist. I bet I have taken that skirt off and on 200 times and that's no joke. Im getting to the point where you have to say its good enough and move on. If you look at my builders site I took some pictures back when I first started fitting and have not taken any lately. I will take some when I conquer it maybe in a couple more weeks.

Pat Stewart 01-14-2012 06:40 PM

Its really pretty simple although time consuming. If you look at the first picture in the first post there is one important step that needs to be completed before looking at skirt fit. Take a high speed and cut through both skirt halves down the center line in the back so that they do not overlap or touch. You can also cut each side back ½ inch or so. This entire area will be glassed in to fit the canopy track anyway. In most cases you will need to cut some relief slots in the skirt to get it to lay down flat. Just make sure when you glass in the slots and other modifications that you tape it up well and insure it will release. I have simplified the process but you just need to work with it. An additional thing to look at is the canopy frame. The tail usually needs to be bent down about 1/2 inch or so (be careful)and the fourth picture in the first post looks like it is riding high. The angle of the glass layup should also be a straight line down the center of the canopy.


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