Chapter 18: Nose Profile Templates

(Note:  This is not covered in the plans.)


The cosmetic appearance of the nose/canard cover/canopy is the most critically judged parts of the entire airplane.  You can have gorgeous wings and cowls, but if your nose and canopy donít flow together the plane looks compromised and the builder comes off looking like an amateur instead of a craftsman.  The key to achieving a good-looking nose, canard cover, and canopy is to carve the nose top, canard cover, forward deck, and canopy frame all at the same time into one smooth, consistent curve.  In my opinion, the best way to achieve that is to use nose profile templates. 


I taped the M drawings together and traced the outline of the nose profile onto two sheet of 1/8th-inch plywood.  Unfortunately, the nose profile on the M-drawings stops at the top longerons.  So I lofted the rest of the profile by using the canopy carving templates (41, 50, 60, & 70) and estimating what the height would be above the top longerons if the templates actually spanned the entire width of the fuselage and touched each other. Once I knew the lofting points, I hammered nails in the locations, connected the points with flexible metal yardsticks, and drew in the remaining profile.  I included the locations of the reference lines for WL-10 and WL-23 (top longerons), clamped the two pieces of plywood together, and cut out the templates with a jigsaw.  I included a cutout so the templates would rest on the tops of the strakes.  I located the WL-10 water line on both sides of the fuselage and screwed the templates to the fuselage.  I sanded the top edge of the templates nice and smooth for hotwiring the BLUE (not urethane) foam blocks. 


I used these nose profile templates to help locate the front edge of the canopy glass and to carve all the foam.  You'll find out later that I used leftover, blue wing foam, then used the hot-wire over the nose templates to cut out the nose profile. 


If you decide to follow the plans, you can still use the nose profile templates to shape the nose top in Chapter 13, shape the canopy frame in Chapter 18, and possibly use it to shape the canard cover in Chapter 24.  And if you use the urethane foam as per plans, the nose profile templates can still be used with your 4-foot spline sanding board to sand the foam to the desired contour.