Jettison able Canopy:
No one ever wants to ditch a canopy… but it might be useful to do so in certain situations.
My mission profile is 1000ft down the beach enjoying the view, aerobatics and occasional flights with the wife down in the Bahamas’ island chain.
I’ve read at great lengths regarding the 8’s canopy and getting out in flight while tumbling around. This is a possible concern, however for me ditching in water situations is also a possibility. The thought of a ditch at sea while your passenger is sitting back there, most likely still cocooned under the canopy... not good.
From what I’ve read, most guys put quick-disconnect pins where bolts normally go for connecting the rollers and canopy bow. Some have suggested both pulling the pins in emergency situations and also flying with the pins completely out (downward and forward air pressure on the canopy).
I’m not comfortable flying with the pins out. I’m sure it’s fine and I don’t question others for doing it. It’s just not for me.
Pins engaged causes a problem in my mind for VERY rapid jettison and exit. Too many steps:
1. Rotate canopy handle for disengage of latching mechanism.
2. reach left, find pin
3. pull pin
4. reach right, find pin
5. pull pin
6. PUSH UP and BACK with everything YOU GOT!
* I separated the find and pull steps to illustrate the time and effort of performing this task under tumbling situations.
My solution cuts down the steps to:
1. rotate canopy handle for disengage of latching mechanism
2. pull back while giving UPWARD pressure. (upward should be natural in this situation)
I’ve spent some time trying to figure out a simple (USMC style) solution to this problem. My desire was to have something quick and natural, something you do every time you exit the aircraft.
The “cool” things about the RV8 canopy system. I want to be able to open the canopy 3-4 inches in flight (Florida heat) and taxi with the “Cool-guy arm on the rail”. I won’t make excuses, I want to look cool! With that in mind I made sure these two factors were retained.
I plan on cutting out 3 inches (3x roller diameter) of the roller track’s upper cap. Approximately 15 inches and extending to 18 inches behind the front canopy bow. This was determined for me personally using seat back rest and leading edge of my shoulders. I place the cut-out before the shoulder because of “cool-guy arm” position would dictate canopy locked into position behind shoulder. This cut-out position also gives a 10+ inch buffer behind my inflight open canopy position. Should the canopy somehow become unlocked from the inflight position, the downward and forward air pressure on the canopy would have a margin for ????.
The only other player would be on the ground while loading people. I think we can all agree that gravity will retain the roller for 3 inches while traveling forward-rear-forward.
Scenario 1: Tumbling from doing a maneuver reserved for MX2/ Extra aircraft. Wing left about 20 seconds ago! Time to try and catch it leaving fuselage behind! Dang, guess those engineers know what they are talking about!?
1 rotate canopy handle for disengage of latching mechanism
2 pull back while giving UPWARD pressure.
Once rollers get to cut out: Canopy gone…
Time to go skydiving
Scenario 2: Flying with wife over open water. Engine quits/ Fire onboard/ etc.
1. Within couple 100 feet of water and slowed (possible canopy impact with HS, slow speed reduces blunt force trauma on HS)
2. rotate canopy handle for disengage of latching mechanism
3. pull back while giving UPWARD pressure.
Once rollers get to cut out: Canopy gone…(hopefully)
Time to go swimming
I present this to the group for input and ideas. It’s always better to get as many different opinions on a safety subject like this. I’ve left some thoughts out to allow for free exchange of ideas. Instead of just countering mine, I’d like the clean slate approach. I figure someone has thought of this or done this by now? I haven't been able to find anything with the searches?
Hopefully nobody ever needs this modification, but hey $h1% happens!
Disclaimer: I do not recommend this and I have not tested it. I am just a pilot, not an engineer.
These are some rough cut up scrap. Final product would have nice rounded edges and look better.
Maintaining the structural form
Blue tape is position of my cuts (determined by pilots shoulder+seatback)