Saturday, 24 November 2007

Removing the Skylight

One of the first jobs tackled was the removal of the skylight as this would give me a little more elbow room while removing the interior. This was a fairly easy exercise but helps to illustrate some of the issues that lead me to wanting to undertake the restoration.

Firstly I removed the tapes that surrounded the edges of the skylight. This revealed the first surprise - the skylight was riveted down in places - to what I'm not sure yet.

I could also see that the skylight appeared to be glued down as well.

Next I removed all the screws that held the skylight to the wood formers around the rear of the skylight and at the front where it overlaps the windscreen. The windscreen and skylight also appear to be glued together.

Using a screwdriver I gently part the skylight from the frame. The glue turns out to be silicone sealant. I definitely won't be using silicone when the skylight goes back in as it's not in the spirit of a vintage airplane.

Separating the windscreen and skylight was more difficult and the windscreen unfortunately succumbed in the process. The Plexiglas at the top had become very brittle probably due to the action of UV light over the years and broke while being separated.
Thankfully, I had made the decision to replace the windscreen after a flight into sun one evening. Although the windscreen looked to be in good condition, it was not good enough to last another 20-25 years so I would have to replace it sooner or later.

This is the resulting mess after the skylight was removed.

The new skylight will be smaller, terminating one bay forward of the existing skylight. This is partly because of the saving in weight but mainly because the additional area serves no useful purpose. It doesn't increase the rearward view at all and in summer helps to create an uncomfortable greenhouse for the pilot and passenger.

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