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  #1  
Old 06-22-2011, 05:16 PM
NBowers NBowers is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Leesburg, FL
Posts: 70
Default Cowling Construction by Ned Bowers - Skybolt

After years of design work on aircraft cowlings, I finally came full circle back to the typical Vans Cowling and the builder option for Camloc or Skybolt CLoc 1/4-Turn Fasteners. The challenge has always been the supporting flanges to mount locking receptacles. Looking at alternatives, with input from many builders, our team came up with the interlocking flange concept. When we finally got it to look good on paper, we built a mockup of an RV8 cowling to not only test the concept, but to see if it "looked" good enough to place our name on it. In the process, we were able to evaluate the cowling construction from beginning to end, using Vans instructions, our experience, and a new approach to building and trimming a completed cowling. I encourage all builders to view the Skybolt Vans Instructions posted on our website so that you may evaluate some great options for your current or future project:

http://skybolt.com/Vans%20RV%20Cowli...%20Rev%204.pdf

We invite your comments, questions and your business.

Regards,

Ned Bowers, Skybolt
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2011, 08:27 AM
NBowers NBowers is offline
 
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Location: Leesburg, FL
Posts: 70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBowers View Post
After years of design work on aircraft cowlings, I finally came full circle back to the typical Vans Cowling and the builder option for Camloc or Skybolt CLoc 1/4-Turn Fasteners. The challenge has always been the supporting flanges to mount locking receptacles. Looking at alternatives, with input from many builders, our team came up with the interlocking flange concept. When we finally got it to look good on paper, we built a mockup of an RV8 cowling to not only test the concept, but to see if it "looked" good enough to place our name on it. In the process, we were able to evaluate the cowling construction from beginning to end, using Vans instructions, our experience, and a new approach to building and trimming a completed cowling. I encourage all builders to view the Skybolt Vans Instructions posted on our website so that you may evaluate some great options for your current or future project:

http://skybolt.com/Vans%20RV%20Cowli...%20Rev%204.pdf

We invite your comments, questions and your business.

Regards,

Ned Bowers, Skybolt
On a follow up thought, with reference to the Vans instructions for constructing the cowling, the cowling installation remains the (at least one of the) most challenging aspect of the entire project. As a mundane step in the building process, it also has the ability to define the entire quality of the finished product. For years, I (Skybolt) have received our fair share of criticism for lame instructions reference the cowling. The most criticism has been the lack of diagrams or drawings. Basically, our instructions have simply said “install parts” assuming the builder has vast experience with ¼-Turn Fasteners. Possibly, a bad assumption. I then turned to the Vans instructions to see if I might pick up some guidance from a better perspective. My opinion was that the Vans Air Force Forum had more tips and information on cowlings than both my instructions and Vans instructions combined. What was really missing was the best starting point. Here I have two cowling halves worth about $900 that are not even close to fitting. Why? The kits supplied by Vans in today’s world are CNC prepared so why can’t the cowling as well be better prepped for a final fit? In my mockup, I ordered actual Vans firewall and skins and found that the components fit perfectly. In defense of the cowling producers, they are attempting to cover multiple engine configurations, thus the cowling halves leave plenty of skin area for trimming. But trim where what and when? In other words, what sequence and where do I start? So I proceeded to write our new instructions based on my experience building both production cowlings and kit plane cowlings. As I worked my way through the process, I also made changes to the fasteners as well as fabricating inserts to “clamp” the cowling after trimming the firewall without committing myself to the final hole locations. All the while, I assumed that the sequence I was using would apply to a hinge installation versus our CLoc ¼-Turn fastener installation. In conclusion, I invited feedback from various builders and made appropriate changes. Skybolt has been shipping the newest version of our kits with the interlocking, precut flanges, and we are beginning to receive positive feedback. Knowing the vast amount of experience in the Vans world of outstanding aircraft, I continue to rely on tips and feedback on experiences so that Skybolt can write the best possible procedural instructions to make a mundane step in the overall build just a little bit more “exciting”. At the end of the day, the cowling is one of the first things to define the finished product. It certainly gives us pride to walk the flight line and see the incredible craftsmanship, especially when our fasteners are used and showcased. We have made a vast improvement in our product and remain committed to advance as the Vans product advances. Your feedback and comments help us provide the best design possible. Whether you plan to use hinge, CLoc fasteners, or a combination, I invite you to use our instructions as a guideline for installing and trimming the cowling for the best possible results. Please note our web address for instructions: http://skybolt.com/Vans%20RV%20Cowli...%20Rev%204.pdf


To all our customers, my sincere thanks,
Ned Bowers
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:08 AM
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DanH DanH is offline
 
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Segmented flange sections....what a clever idea!

Ned, the only suggestion I'd have has been discussed here before. These three gaps have a bad habit of capturing the rear corner of a cowl section when you reinstall after maintenance. It's a scratch and chip thing. My next airplane will get solid flanges (no scallops) in that short section along the side.

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  #4  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:13 AM
NBowers NBowers is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Leesburg, FL
Posts: 70
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NBowers View Post
On a follow up thought, with reference to the Vans instructions for constructing the cowling, the cowling installation remains the (at least one of the) most challenging aspect of the entire project. As a mundane step in the building process, it also has the ability to define the entire quality of the finished product. For years, I (Skybolt) have received our fair share of criticism for lame instructions reference the cowling. The most criticism has been the lack of diagrams or drawings. Basically, our instructions have simply said “install parts” assuming the builder has vast experience with ¼-Turn Fasteners. Possibly, a bad assumption. I then turned to the Vans instructions to see if I might pick up some guidance from a better perspective. My opinion was that the Vans Air Force Forum had more tips and information on cowlings than both my instructions and Vans instructions combined. What was really missing was the best starting point. Here I have two cowling halves worth about $900 that are not even close to fitting. Why? The kits supplied by Vans in today’s world are CNC prepared so why can’t the cowling as well be better prepped for a final fit? In my mockup, I ordered actual Vans firewall and skins and found that the components fit perfectly. In defense of the cowling producers, they are attempting to cover multiple engine configurations, thus the cowling halves leave plenty of skin area for trimming. But trim where what and when? In other words, what sequence and where do I start? So I proceeded to write our new instructions based on my experience building both production cowlings and kit plane cowlings. As I worked my way through the process, I also made changes to the fasteners as well as fabricating inserts to “clamp” the cowling after trimming the firewall without committing myself to the final hole locations. All the while, I assumed that the sequence I was using would apply to a hinge installation versus our CLoc ¼-Turn fastener installation. In conclusion, I invited feedback from various builders and made appropriate changes. Skybolt has been shipping the newest version of our kits with the interlocking, precut flanges, and we are beginning to receive positive feedback. Knowing the vast amount of experience in the Vans world of outstanding aircraft, I continue to rely on tips and feedback on experiences so that Skybolt can write the best possible procedural instructions to make a mundane step in the overall build just a little bit more “exciting”. At the end of the day, the cowling is one of the first things to define the finished product. It certainly gives us pride to walk the flight line and see the incredible craftsmanship, especially when our fasteners are used and showcased. We have made a vast improvement in our product and remain committed to advance as the Vans product advances. Your feedback and comments help us provide the best design possible. Whether you plan to use hinge, CLoc fasteners, or a combination, I invite you to use our instructions as a guideline for installing and trimming the cowling for the best possible results. Please note our web address for instructions: http://skybolt.com/Vans%20RV%20Cowli...%20Rev%204.pdf


To all our customers, my sincere thanks,
Ned Bowers




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  #5  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:29 AM
NBowers NBowers is offline
 
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Location: Leesburg, FL
Posts: 70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanH View Post
Segmented flange sections....what a clever idea!

Ned, the only suggestion I'd have has been discussed here before. These three gaps have a bad habit of capturing the rear corner of a cowl section when you reinstall after maintenance. It's a scratch and chip thing. My next airplane will get solid flanges (no scallops) in that short section along the side.

Dan: Thanks for weighing in. Going back to another recommendation you made to me referencing floating receptacles versus non-floating receptacles, I did make a radical change to tradition when I built this mockup by approaching the project with 100% non-floating (adjustable) receptacles. This eliminates all concerns of dynamic cowling “shift”. Using the sequence of trimming as referenced in my instructions, prior to trimming the sides, I found that a few “floating” receptacles allowed me to move the trim line ever so slightly to close any remaining gap at the firewall. Then I trimmed the sides and installed all non-floating receptacles along the sides. Thus, based on your recommendation, I used only 6 floating receptacles in a complete kit in the upper firewall, three on each side; relying on the non-flaoting receptacle as the prominent part. This cowling fit close to perfect (a relative term in the world of craftsmanship) at all trim lines with no cowling “shift” at all. Your input did indeed drive me to think along these lines that broke tradition. I thank you for your suggestion.
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:57 AM
islandmonkey's Avatar
islandmonkey islandmonkey is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Posts: 538
Default

Excellent.


This thread should be made a sticky somewhere.

What do you think Mods?
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Brit working in Zurich, Switzerland.
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2011, 09:15 AM
NBowers NBowers is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Leesburg, FL
Posts: 70
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NBowers View Post
On a follow up thought, with reference to the Vans instructions for constructing the cowling, the cowling installation remains the (at least one of the) most challenging aspect of the entire project. As a mundane step in the building process, it also has the ability to define the entire quality of the finished product. For years, I (Skybolt) have received our fair share of criticism for lame instructions reference the cowling. The most criticism has been the lack of diagrams or drawings. Basically, our instructions have simply said “install parts” assuming the builder has vast experience with ¼-Turn Fasteners. Possibly, a bad assumption. I then turned to the Vans instructions to see if I might pick up some guidance from a better perspective. My opinion was that the Vans Air Force Forum had more tips and information on cowlings than both my instructions and Vans instructions combined. What was really missing was the best starting point. Here I have two cowling halves worth about $900 that are not even close to fitting. Why? The kits supplied by Vans in today’s world are CNC prepared so why can’t the cowling as well be better prepped for a final fit? In my mockup, I ordered actual Vans firewall and skins and found that the components fit perfectly. In defense of the cowling producers, they are attempting to cover multiple engine configurations, thus the cowling halves leave plenty of skin area for trimming. But trim where what and when? In other words, what sequence and where do I start? So I proceeded to write our new instructions based on my experience building both production cowlings and kit plane cowlings. As I worked my way through the process, I also made changes to the fasteners as well as fabricating inserts to “clamp” the cowling after trimming the firewall without committing myself to the final hole locations. All the while, I assumed that the sequence I was using would apply to a hinge installation versus our CLoc ¼-Turn fastener installation. In conclusion, I invited feedback from various builders and made appropriate changes. Skybolt has been shipping the newest version of our kits with the interlocking, precut flanges, and we are beginning to receive positive feedback. Knowing the vast amount of experience in the Vans world of outstanding aircraft, I continue to rely on tips and feedback on experiences so that Skybolt can write the best possible procedural instructions to make a mundane step in the overall build just a little bit more “exciting”. At the end of the day, the cowling is one of the first things to define the finished product. It certainly gives us pride to walk the flight line and see the incredible craftsmanship, especially when our fasteners are used and showcased. We have made a vast improvement in our product and remain committed to advance as the Vans product advances. Your feedback and comments help us provide the best design possible. Whether you plan to use hinge, CLoc fasteners, or a combination, I invite you to use our instructions as a guideline for installing and trimming the cowling for the best possible results. Please note our web address for instructions: http://skybolt.com/Vans%20RV%20Cowli...%20Rev%204.pdf


To all our customers, my sincere thanks,
Ned Bowers
Using Skybolt's new interlocking flange system, this RV8 colwing mockup was completed in a weekend prior to our forums at Sun N Fun.

To accomodate engine mounts, sharp curves, other obstacles, the interlocking flange system allows the builder to easily position flanges/fasteners. Once flange positioning is determined, outer skin (cowling) fastener holes are easily located at center due to transparency of cowling skin. The pre-fabricated flanges save considerable build time and allow a very professional finish even if this is your first project.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2011, 03:29 PM
RV7Guy's Avatar
RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,526
Default A real winner!!!

Hi Ned,

First, it was pleasure assisting you in the instruction review. Second, you've got a real winner with the new system. This has reduced the time to install by days not just hours.

I'm looking forward to installing the system in my new RV7.

For those considering fasteners for the cowl, the quality, ease of install and customer service is without equal.

Thanks Ned for a great product!!!
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:58 AM
rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGG
Posts: 1,754
Default instructions

Hi Ned,

Seems your original link does not work. The link on your website didn't work for me either.

Could you please let me know the link to the current version of the document?

Found it:

http://skybolt.com/images/pdf/Vans&#...bolt-April.pdf

Thanks,
Mickey
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http://rv8.ch
52Y65716HH937683V

Last edited by rv8ch : 07-13-2013 at 10:03 AM. Reason: Found it :)
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2013, 10:16 AM
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Sig600 Sig600 is offline
 
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Default

I'm intrigued. Is this easier to construct/maintain than the piano hinge method?
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