Canopy covers are generally a really good thing for aircraft. Here in the southwest, the goal is keeping the sun (and heat) out of the cockpit. In some places, keeping the water out is the goal. Accomplishing both is very doable. One thing to be careful with is wind and dust/sand. A good wind storm can tear a cover to shreds and dust/sand between the cover and the canopy will result in scratches – a very bad thing.
I’ve said it before, I am a cheapskate. RV-3 aircraft canopy covers are available for $170 to $345 – that is just too much for my blood though I am sure they are a good product. That means it was up to me to manufacture one myself.
I found what appears to be good material for the task but it is a minimum of $10 per yard. So, I elected to build a prototype out of cheap materials first. I am neither a garment designer nor seamstress so a little practice is a good thing.
I found a single linen bed sheet (twin size) available at WalMart for $5 and some nylon webbing for about $2 each. A good starting point.
I tossed the sheet over the airplane and taped it where I wanted it to stay. I was initially thinking that some crescent shapes sewn together would be necessary to get the curvature of the canopy. However; once I had the sheet in place, I just started pinning the extra material to form lines to be sewn and trimmed. This actually worked pretty well. I took the wad of cloth to my sewing machine and started sewing and trimming away the excess cloth.
It is not a perfect fit but seems decent. For a grand total of about ten dollars in materials and a few hours, I am pretty happy. Obviously, this cotter sheet material will not hold up outdoors so this is not a final product.
Next, I’d like to purchase some Kartex from Seattle Fabrics and try again. From the website description, I believe this material will be a good option for a cover. Based on the prototype, I can see where I need to be more exact with the seams and a couple of additional places to add seams for a better fit.