Hi List,

Just wanted to see what people experience is with fitting the 650 style canopy. I have just attempted this and ended up with a nice cracked canopy as there is no way that the shape of the canopy roll will adhere to the shape of the aluminum tube with undue stress. I have heard that other people had experienced this and had more joy with Todd's Canopies.

Anyway my question was whether the canopy feels flimsy or not when installed correctly? Anyone's experience in this area?

Second question...on lifting the canopy it springs inwards slightly meaning that it will not close properly as it hits the top of the latch mechanism. Anyone had this problem and what was your work around?

For your information - I have not yet installed the front canopy aluminum tube yet but at this point the canopy seems excessively fragile and I am not sure that this single piece will sufficiently firm up the canopy.

Any comments would be appreciated.


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Just a thought...if I set the forward canopy aluminium hoop such that it creates outward pressure on the two steel canopy arms will this fix the second problem I mentioned above?

Hi James - installing the canopy was definitely one of the most challenging aspects of completing the fuselage. I needed to reshape all three aluminum hoops to some extent to match the curve of the canopy and to match the fuselage width. The latter was important, as you mention below, where the aft hoop shape dictates how well the latched line up. What worked well for me was to take a curved piece of 3/4" plywood (used to be a form for an aft fuse bulkhead) and screwed to the surface of my workbench, with a 1x2 board screwed down adjacent, leaving enough room for the tubing to lay in between. The radius of the curved plywood was slightly less than the hoop and allowed me to put the needed pressure to reform as required without deforming the tube. Make many small adjustments creeping up on the fit you need to match both the curve of the canopy and the fit to the sides of the fuselage. Don't cut the ends of the hoops to length until you are satisfed with the fit. It will be critical to be sure the shape of the aft two hoops are identical, otherwise once you cut the canopy there the canopy edges will not line up. Regards //Dave

Thanks Dave..the kak thing is that I have already cut and drilled the canopy into the hoops (but not the first/forward one).  Any other ideas?
I spent 100 hrs on the fitting of my 650 canopy to an HD.  Just be very patient.  Work on it when it is very warm.  If it isn't warm outside, run a heater in the shop.   I'm afraid that you may have made it exponetially more difficult by fitting the hoops first.  my suggestion woudl be to order new hoops, bend them to the correct shape, then drill the hoops through the holes you already have in the canopy.  CAUTION... ONCE YOU HAVE A HOLE IN THE CANOPY HOOP, AND YOU TRY TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS, YOU WILL ALMOST INEVEITIABLY BREAK THE 3/4" ALUMINUM HOOP ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE TRYING TO "TIGHTEN THE RADIUS".   I BROKE TWO SETS LIKE THIS,OPENING UP THE HOOP IS A LITTLE SAFER SINCE THE PORTIOI WITH THE HOLE IS THEN IN COPMRESSSION.  THE HOLE IS A STRESS CONCENTRATION POINT AND IT GIVES LITTLE TO NO WARNING THAT IT'S GONNA BREAK.  The canopy is flimsy until it is all "buttoned up", then it is rigid.  I added a cross brace, but it doesn't stiffen it up that much.  It does however give you something convenient to grab onto when lowering the canopy.  GOOD LUCK.  I've attache a photo of all of my ill attempts so that you don't feel like you're the only one...


     I am building a 650 from a kit. I have completed the basic canopy installation but have not fastened it to the air frame yet. I struggled tremendously with the canopy, the middle hoops and trying to get the canopy to fit at the back, the front and onto the two hoops all at the same time. After much discussion with Todd Silver at Todds canopies and Roger at ZAC, and an e-mail from a fellow builder, Phil Barnes in Australia whose canopy and hoops did not fit either, I decided that ZAC parts were not correct. ZAC reviewed the middle hoops and sent me new hoops. This made a big difference in the fit and I was able to get things to where I am fairly happy. Granted,I am a sick perfectionist and can always find  fault some where. I would suggest you call ZAC and see if they can help you make corrections.     Once my canopy and hoops were all clecoed together and positioned correctly, I did not have problems with flimsyness or misalignment.  

     The canopy has been very challenging and stressful as big ticket items are involved and one wants it to look "marvelous".                                                                                

      Best of luck                                                                              Jerry

Thanks for the responses and morale support.  As Jerry says this is a big ticket item and you could do without the misalignment issues.  It would be fair to assume that ZAC have a template/jig on which they bend the hoops therefore all of the hoops must have this problem...grrrrr


Michael - on the build in general I have what I call a "pile of shame" which is essentially is a large rather expense pile of all the pieces that I have buggered up on the build to date...it is quite an impressive size (thanks for sharing yours!)


I think that I will add an additional cross brace to the hoop that supports the rear edge of the lifting portion of the canopy.  Also looks like it doubles well as a handle to pull down the canopy before flight.


BTW - Michael your canopy looks great...must have been worth all the blood sweat and tears.

Hi James

My aircraft is also a 601xl with 650 canopy. As I explained to Jerold when he was having trouble with fitting his, I plotted out the hoop coordinates from the plans onto a board. The supplied 650 hoops did not match at all and where as the original 601xl hoop were perfect and the hoops were a smooth bend unlike the 650 ones. I very carefully adjusted the 650 hoops by hand which although turned out successful, took me the better part of a day to do so.


Hoops should match the marks in the purple circles. My XL canopy hoop matches perfectly.






Hoops should match the marks in the purple circles. My XL canopy hoop matches perfectly.


We all have our pile of shame as you put it but i'll bet that no ones is bigger than ZAC's. I would rather call it my learning heaps so be proud of you have learnt heaps too.


Please take a look at my site and if I can help some more, don't hesitate to ask. http://www.mykitlog.com/users/category.php?user=ch601xl&project...





I have been already enviously looking at the finished article on your website.  Looks awesome.


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