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Pitts S1 canopy rails

decathlon8kcab

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Hello! I'm looking for a set of canopy rails for my new build S1-S. I've had an add in Barnstormers but didn't get any results.

A VERY well known Pitts parts and plans vendor near me just quoted me (get this!) close to $1,100 for a set of two new ones. I don't necessarily have to have "new", but I sure do want high quality and very good condition.

Seems like an older thread on this site suggested the rails were actually from a tool box. If I recall correctly the thread even had a manufacturer and part number! If I knew how elusive "affordable" rails would be I would have paid more attention. I'm new here - maybe I can find that thread!

I'm wanting to mount these rails directly on the upper longerons (like my first Pitts) and the attachment lugs are the only thing I need to add to my fuselage before sand blasting!

Can anyone help?

Kim
 

cwilliamrose

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Those K&V 1400 rails are no longer available. A lot of folks are using Accuride drawer slides these days. I had my S-2A rails re-plated due to some surface rust from the plating be worn off. If you find a set at a decent price you had better grab them.
 

decathlon8kcab

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Thank you sir! I'll run them down.

I got the tracks for my first Pitts from Harold Chappell. They were aluminum, were very light, and mounted nicely on the upper longerons. I think I paid him $80.00! Times have changed!

This forum is FANTASTIC!
 

Dennis Flamini

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Kim,
As i remember our S-1S the track was only bolted to the coming and backup angle not the tubing.
upload_2019-5-6_19-12-14.png
 

decathlon8kcab

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Kim,
As i remember our S-1S the track was only bolted to the coming and backup angle not the tubing.
View attachment 48309
Yup! No doubt you're right about that. And I very much appreciate the drawing and the effort you went through to send it.

I've got my heart set on doing this one just like I did my first Pitts. It's a very minor departure from a stock configuration. Please let me explain......

I've found that mounting the rails to the upper longerons has some advantages that I like. When the rail is mounted to the top side of the longeron, the top side of the rail now defines the cockpit opening; which is now at lower point than the original aluminum coming. Being an old guy...., this is nice because I don't have to lift my leg as high to get in! And it's also much easier to get out! Secondly, when I mount the rails to the upper longe
image5.jpeg
rons, I can hide them "inside" the canopy system rather than have them sticking outside in the breeze. If you look really close at this pic, you might be able to see that it has a canopy, but no obvious rails. They're hidden! This is my first Pitts - I built it in the 1980's - now owned by a guy named Dave Schmelzer.

Ya know, it's funny. When we were younger, we talked about how fast different airplanes were, or how much they could carry, or how short they land. These days, I find that simply being able to get in and out of them seems far more important!

Cheers! And thank you for your help!

Kim
 

Dennis Flamini

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Kim,
i think Bill did the same with one of his Pitts and it looked way better than stock. i figured you were doing something different to need a tab to the longeron.
You could just make the tab adjustable by bending it like the Eagle does for the canopy. If you wait long enough the rails will show up, we had 4 or more sets at one time with all
the projects.
 

lakeracer69

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Kim,

Do you have any other pictures of the canopy setup on your old plane? That looks like a nice clean setup.
 

decathlon8kcab

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Kim,
i think Bill did the same with one of his Pitts and it looked way better than stock. i figured you were doing something different to need a tab to the longeron.
You could just make the tab adjustable by bending it like the Eagle does for the canopy. If you wait long enough the rails will show up, we had 4 or more sets at one time with all
the projects.
Man! I loooooove this forum! The unselfish flow of knowledge from the highly talented is huge! As you aptly demonstrate.

And - I know, you're right. Bill did this as well. I recall him telling me and sharing pics!

Thanks a ton!

Kim
 

decathlon8kcab

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Kim,

Do you have any other pictures of the canopy setup on your old plane? That looks like a nice clean setup.
Hi! Thank you! And yes, I have one or two digitals where this can be seen. I'll see what I can do to duke it out with my puter skills (and this site) and see what I can get to you. The hidden rail installation is easy to do........ kinda like turning a glove inside out really..... much easier than working computers! And, you know, I'm sure I have a TON of old 35 MM prints. Just gotta look through them and scan them for you. My other thought is - we could contact the current owner - he might be willing to take some detailed pics for us. But, let me see what I can come up with first.

Kim
 

lakeracer69

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The easy thing to remember for this forum is that picture size file has to be under 500KB. Anything over 500KB just needs to be resized with Photoshop or the like.
 

cwilliamrose

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Mine wasn't as low as yours Kim, it was at about stock height above the longeron and only attached to the sheet metal -- no angle was installed for some strange reason. I just recently got some photos of the latch system, I had only taken a quick Polaroid of the finished canopy when the mods were done. And now that I have seen my latch design I think I'll do something different next time. I may also mount it a little lower but not all the way down to the longeron. A bigger canopy means more aero loads to deal with and more chance it won't stay put when latched.
 

decathlon8kcab

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The easy thing to remember for this forum is that picture size file has to be under 500KB. Anything over 500KB just needs to be resized with Photoshop or the like.
Hi!
Now what the HECK is a KB? I know that KW is Kilowatt! Ha! Remember, I'm the guy who does not know how many innings are in a football game!

AAAAAANNNNYYYYYWWWAAAAAYYYYY........ I found one digital pic that I hope I will be able to send to you through this site. Let me try and upload (Hey! That's a computer word! Yaaay for Kim!) that pic to this message. If it go's through I'll post some info that I want to share. Wish me luck!

K
IMG_2209 (2).jpg
im
 

decathlon8kcab

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Mine wasn't as low as yours Kim, it was at about stock height above the longeron and only attached to the sheet metal -- no angle was installed for some strange reason. I just recently got some photos of the latch system, I had only taken a quick Polaroid of the finished canopy when the mods were done. And now that I have seen my latch design I think I'll do something different next time. I may also mount it a little lower but not all the way down to the longeron. A bigger canopy means more aero loads to deal with and more chance it won't stay put when latched.
Understood.

I copied Harold Chappel's installation..... the one he used on his 540 powered biplane - the one that Alan Bush I believe now owns. You might recall that Harrold was a world team member - until he was killed in the Ratsrepus anyway. He was lucky enough to never loose a canopy - even with extensive unlimited acro. Just the same, the installation may not suit everyone's taste. My canopy was actually a stock Pitts unit - but larger at the rear side because I didn't trim off the excess plexiglass left over from the blowing process. And of course, "effectively" larger due to the location of the rails - hence the loads you mention.

Cheers!
 
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decathlon8kcab

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The easy thing to remember for this forum is that picture size file has to be under 500KB. Anything over 500KB just needs to be resized with Photoshop or the like.
Ohhhhkaaayyy! Looks like I was able to forward my pic. Again, it's not the best but I wanted to point out a hard-to-see detail.

If you look at the turtle deck itself - directly behind and in line with my name - starting at the back of the canopy but ending before the white oil cooler inlet - you should be able to see a tapered opening that might look something like an exit for air. This is a clearance "pathway" for the canopy rails as they move to the rear when the canopy opens. The bottom of the front turtle deck bulkhead is "notched" enough to provide clearance for the canopy rails..... about 7/8 of an inch. This pathway disappears in to the bottom edge of the turtle deck as the turtle deck gets narrower moving towards the tail.

I'm sure I have lots of other pics - but they are the old 35MM (not KB or KW haha!) not digital. I've promised myself I would dig out my old pics for years. Someday!

Cheers!
 

jrs14855

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Standard S1S the track is bolted(actually machine screws) only to the sheet metal but the sheet metal is quite well supported by the 3/8" steel tube that runs around the opening. S1T the steel tube was eliminated and the canopy track is supported by 1" x 1" aluminum angles that run from the instrument panel to the turtledeck. The S1T has just slightly more room for entry because the sheet metal is trimmed in line with the top edge of the angles.
 

Dennis Flamini

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Kim,
Here is Bill's higher mounted canopy with recessed tracks.
You have no idea how hard it is to fit everything unless you have done it!
Canopy 800x600.jpg
 

jrs14855

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Canopy #4 or 5 it starts to get easier. I had some advice, maybe from Herb Anderson, to assemble the sliding portion first and then fit the windshield. I also made my own windshield attach angle from fiberglas which probably made things easier.
 

decathlon8kcab

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Kim,
Here is Bill's higher mounted canopy with recessed tracks.
You have no idea how hard it is to fit everything unless you have done it!
View attachment 48387[/QUOTE

Nice! Beautifully engineered and executed!

You are RIGHT. Allot of this stuff can be much harder than one would at first think. But it's so much FUN! And REWARDING!

I have not scanned any of my canopy pics (yet) but I did find three pics (on line) of Harrold Chappels (World Team Member) first Pitts (the 4 cylinder one) and they show the rails on the longerons pretty well. His 6 cylinder biplane was done just the same way. Unfortunately they are too big (to many kilowatts I guess) to post on this site. I'm going to try and see if I can find a way to make them smaller.

Anyway, thanks very much for sharing the pic of Bills work. It's beautiful!

Kim
 

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