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Old 01-14-2012, 08:55 AM
g zero g zero is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: palm coast fl.
Posts: 997
Default 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 ?
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:10 AM
Rhino889's Avatar
Rhino889 Rhino889 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Jupiter FL.
Posts: 451

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,

VAF DUES 7/13, 12/13, 03/14
Replace paint with performance.

This is my personal account and does not reflect the official communications of We have retained a username for such correspondence. I post about formation, eating, aerobatics and pilot stuff .

Last edited by Rhino889 : 01-14-2012 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: 1T7, Kestrel Airpark , Texas
Posts: 780

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.
Wade Lively
-8, Flying!
formerly IO-360A3B6D, Dual SDS CPI now, WW 200RV

Last edited by RV8RIVETER : 01-14-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:56 AM
algrajek algrajek is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Posts: 441

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.
Al "Nordo" Grajek
repeat offender
Now RV7A!!
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:48 PM
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SmilingJack SmilingJack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Hilton Head Island
Posts: 1,105
Default Ditto!

I have a Todd's and found the same as the rest.
John Mastro
10 years of Awesomeness!
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:40 PM
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panhandler1956 panhandler1956 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,686

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!
Brent Owens
EAA Chapter 9 Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Columbus, OH
RV-8 'Contrary Mary' flying
N784DE S/N #82614
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:26 PM
Pat Stewart Pat Stewart is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Granbury Texas
Posts: 1,136
Default skirt

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.

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Old 01-14-2012, 07:07 PM
jaypee jaypee is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 46
Default 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
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:30 PM
RV8MW RV8MW is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: CLINTON,NC
Posts: 109

Originally Posted by panhandler1956 View Post
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.
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:40 PM
Pat Stewart Pat Stewart is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Granbury Texas
Posts: 1,136
Default Skirt

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.


Last edited by Pat Stewart : 01-14-2012 at 08:09 PM.
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