Sunday, March 23, 2008


Build hours: 458

UCB's canopy frame is coming together and the turtledeck is in place. The canopy was harder than expected and the turtledeck flange and fitting was easier than expected. We added a rear bow to the canopy (6 oz.), made a flush joint on the side panel instead of the overlap and are just generally pleased with our progress. Now, if we can just remember how the canopy came together so that we can repeat on UCA.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Canopy frame

Build hours: 449
Plan note:
Don't do anything to the canopy area without the canopy. Almost every dimension on the canopy bow and canopy installation plan sheets appear to be more of a suggestion than actual working dimensions:(

Picture: Chuck Yeager checks canopy fit

There are lots of angles and dimensions to be monitored during the canopy/windscreen/turtledeck construction. We finally decided to clamp up the frame and canopy on the plane and then tweaked and adjusted until we had an acceptable fit. More to come as we continue the canopy building. The UC is really starting to shape up!

Gas Tank

Build hours: 436
In the last working post, we decided to order and wait for the canopies to arrive before continuing. While waiting, we decided to build the fuel tanks using leftover .016 6061 aluminum and pop riveted construction. Inspiration came from
Thanks Mr. Hoover!
Plywood/particle board forms for the tank front and back bulkheads were made from the plan layouts and the tank front and back were formed with 1/2" flanges. The tank bottom was cut out and bent per the plans. The tank parts weigh 1.25 lbs - which should be 1/2 the weight of the .032 5052 welded tank. Total cost was less than $95 dollars per tank.
Plan note:
Check the front and back bulkhead forms for proper clearance under the skin (approx 1/4" allows for padding under the tank on the rails and over the tank top under the skin) . The first rear tank bulkhead came out against the tank skin and the form had to be adjusted and the bulkhead remade.

After forming, the bulkheads were clecoed to the bottom. The front bulkhead flanges were turned in and the rear bulkhead flanges were turned out to accomodate the flange angles after forming an the tank slope. The tank top template was fitted and trimmed. The tank top was then cut, drilled and clecoed. One inch rivet spacing (117 total) was used and the rivet holes were dimpled to accept AAC rivets. The tanks will be completed by using red ScotchBrite and MEK or Alumiprep etching to clean the rivet lines and a generic ProSeal Epoxy from Van's Aircraft to seal the tank. No sloshing required!

An aluminum filler flange was found online from
and an AN867-3 was used for the outlet. The AN867-3 flange required turning on a lathe to remove the turned up edge and provide a wider flange.