|LongEZ - N961EZ on the tarmac in Alamogordo, New Mexico|
I FLY EZ
Early in my LongEZ building project, I decided that the original LongEZ canopy stay just wouldn't do. It was prong to damage from climbing in and out, and was susceptible to getting ripped out of the headrest if the wind or prop blast caught the canopy just right.
The system I installed solved these and other problems. The Gas Cylinder assembly is the one that was sold by Aircraft Spruce for many years.
The geometry of the gas cylinder provides a couple key features of this design. When the canopy is closed, the gas cylinder applies down force to the canopy, Wind cannot get under it and blow it open.
When opening the canopy, as the canopy passed through about a 45 deg angle ( the gas cylinder is fully compressed) you can let go of it and the canopy will open to the full position smoothly but firmly. No worry about the wind tearing the canopy out of your hand and slamming it against the strake.
I didn't want to install the "Arrow Stock" across the back of the canopy like the original RAF LongEZ canopy plans has you do it. However, The arrow stock does add structural strength to the aft portion of the canopy and this would need to be strengthened in some other manner. So, when I did the lay-ups across the aft "bow" portion of the canopy frame, I added a couple layers of left over spar cap BID tape to the inside and outside of the canopy frame. These layups (4 or 5) add the strength back to the bow part of the frame, so there is no need for the "Arrow Stock"
In the middle section of the canopy I installed a steel tube. The steel tube was positioned so it would clear the headrest by about 1 inch when the canopy is closed. The steel tube adds support in the middle of the canopy, and also is the bracket for the gas cylinder.
The bracket that mounts on the headrest was made after I verified the gas cylinder geometry. Basically, when the canopy is open, I wanted the bottom of the canopy to be straight up and down, 90deg from the cockpit, and the gas cylinder would be fully extended. (SEE Photo above)
When the canopy is closed and locked, The gas cylinder is almost fully extended. If I pop one end of the gas cylinder off its pivot, it would only extend out another 1/4 to 1/2 inch. (SEE Photo right)
When the canopy is opened to about 45 deg, the gas cylinder will be almost completely compressed. (SEE Photo left)
After some trial and error, I had the bracket geometry correct and the gas cylinder and canopy did exactly what I wanted it to do.
NOTE ABOUT GAS CYLINDER INSTALLATION
I got an e-mail from Ken Miller, He says to turn the gas cylinder the other way, so when the canopy is closed, the piston rod is on the bottom and the cylinder is on the top. The reason for this; When the piston rod is on the bottom, oil inside the cylinder will fall down against the rod seal and keep it moist and lubricated. This will greatly improve the life expectancy of the gas cylinder.
1) Anytime I taxi my LongEZ with the canopy down, I either have it completely DOWN AND LOCKED, or, I place the latch into the LOCKED position, and the canopy is sitting on the latches (about a 3/4 inch gap under the canopy).
NEVER taxi your LongEZ with the canopy all the way down and NOT locked. This is a boobie trap. If the canopy is closed, IT MUST BE LOCKED.
2) If you have a GIB (Guy in Back) warn them to keep their hands off the steel cross tube when you are opening or closing the canopy. There are two pinch points, 1) when the canopy is 45 degrees, the gas cylinder is parallel to the steel tube and fingers could get caught, and, 2) when the canopy is near fully closed, fingers could get caught between the front seat back rest and the steel tube. (OUCH)
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