Click on a picture to
view a larger image.

I took a break to help out Dan Walton (Sonex sn: 0959) with some of his wiring.  I caught him mid blink but I don’t think he’ll mind.  Dan is a CFI and gave me my tailwheel endorsement last year and my flight review last month.  He has also been teaching me acrobatics in a Decathlon at Gauntlet Warbirds at Aurora airport. Then it was back to work.  After cutting the new canopy I had some scrap from it for doing even more testing.

Old material vs new material.

There has been a lot of chatter on the Sonex group about old versus new material. It seems the new material came out in 2007 and since my kit shipped in 2006 it presumably had the old material. The new canopy had a label that had only one change on it. It said ‘Sonplex’ installation instructions instead of just ‘Canopy’ installation instructions as on the old one.

All that aside, I could discern no difference at all in the feel of the material.  It came in the exact same box as my original one, it seemed to work the same and it seemed to flex the same.  So either my old canopy was the new material or the new material has differences that are too subtle for me to detect.

Regardless, I wanted one final test of my drilling processes so I made up three new drill bits, one #40 and one 9/64th (I’ll talk about the third one later). These two had the corners and flutes polished over as I mentioned earlier.  I then did a number of tests including the one shown. In this test I did 10 holes each four different ways. 1 – Pressing hard; 2 – just the weight of the drill; 3 – a normal push; and 4 – a normal push but bad technique (wobbling the drill while pushing with no backing and letting the bit push through about 1/2” while still wobbling the drill).  After all of that, in one hole I had what might have been two very small cracks. It was hard to tell. They disappeared when I enlarged the holes to 9/64th.  Satisfied that my bits were safe I started drilling.  In the last picture I have reached the same point I had on the first canopy.