Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Aircraft Specialty’s RV-12 Canopy Lock

One of the goodies recently ordered is Aircraft Specialty’s RV-12 canopy locking system. Frequent readers of the DOG Aviation Blog may recall a few months ago I posted photos of a method for locking the canopy I was planning to install which utilized a canopy C-1206 guide plate fabricated longer so a key lock could catch a slot cut into the guide plate. I fabricated a longer C-1206 guide plate but held off on moving forward because I discovered Aircraft Specialty was working on an eloquent canopy lock solution. Knowing the quality of their products, the canopy lock was placed on the back burner while waiting to see what their finished product looked like.

Pleased to announce DOG Aviation has received the last of five prototype RV-12 canopy locks manufactured by Aircraft Specialty as a proof of concept canopy locking system for the RV-12. True to form, Aircraft Specialty’s RV-12 canopy lock hits all the marks … simplistic, great looks, high quality and the attention to detail is excellent.
The Aircraft Specialty canopy locking system for the RV-12.

The design is eloquent and very functional. The Van's outside canopy handle is removed and the new Aircraft Specialty handle replaces it. The replacement handle is a custom CNC made handle with the same look (and seemingly size) as the original handle except there is a bulge on the right side that houses a key lock. The replacement handle is powder coated red with stenciling showing open and close direction arrows on the handle. A second component to the locking system consists of a pin receptacle … there are three receptacles included in the kit of varying heights to compensate for variances … since all the holes drilled in the shaft for the handle were drilled by the builder, they could be off by small amounts. Steve told me current production kits will include five pin receptacles.

The key lock has a pin that sticks up from the center of the lock ... when pushed down, the pin locks in the down position and protrudes past the bottom of the handle assembly and into a pin receptacle that is secured to the rear canopy bow. With the pin captured by the pin receptacle below the handle, it prevents the canopy latch handle from being turned. A round key (similar to the round keys on vending machines but a smaller diameter) is used to unlock the pin so it pops back up. Very slick!
The Aircraft Specialty outside canopy handle installed and the three pin receptacles of varying heights.

The pin receptacle is easily installed by drilling one hole through the Plexiglas and into the rear canopy bow then the pin receptacle is secured onto the canopy frame with one screw and a nut. As can be seen in the above photo the locking pin sticks up when in the unlocked position. To lock the canopy, the handle is moved to the closed position and the pin is pushed down so it enters the recess in the pin receptacle ... then locks in the down position. When the pin locks in the down position, the handle is now prevented from moving because the pin receptacle has captured the pin. To unlock the canopy, a key needs to be placed in the lock to release the pin so it can pop back up. Sweet!
Canopy handle in the closed position and the round pin receptacle is under the lock in the approximate position where it will be installed.

Because the canopy will need to be drilled for the screw that secures the pin receptacle, final instillation will likely have to wait until warmer spring weather … since it is not a good idea to drill Plexiglas when it is below 70 degrees.

Also of note, yes, it would be possible to lock a pilot into the cockpit if a person on the outside of the plane were to push the pin down. Steve said he is making a lock-out modification that will prevent this from happening and will supply it to all purchased kits … it should be available in the spring.