Canopy jettison


My newly purchased G-200 has the canopy piano hinges screwed solidly to the airframe and canopy frame. The piano hinges have continuous loops encircling the wire, which definitely will not break to release the canopy. I've seen other planes (RV4, G202) with what look like pop rivets attaching the hinges, which are supposed to tear away when the canopy is unlatched and lifted. The construction manual I received with the plane doesn't cover the canopy. Does anyone have information from Giles on the recommended attachment devices? (Or from Van's?) I'm considering two approaches: 1. Replace the screws with long pop rivets. Does anyone have specs for the appropriate rivets? I'd have to add washers to reduce the hole size, as pop rivets the same size as the -10 screws would be much too strong. - This worries me a bit, as I don't want the canopy coming off accidentally. I think I might retain one screw on each hinge and hold it in place with a cotter pin bent only enough to keep it in place. The two cotter pins would be connected with a cord so I could pull them out with a single motion. 2. Replace the continuous piano hinges with the type that is made from flanges bent to form the tubes for the wire. These might be weak enough to release the canopy. (Or maybe use a Dremel cut-off disc to make a lengthwise cut in the loops of the existing hinges.) I'm planning to rig up test piano hinges to measure the forces needed to detach them, for both potential solutions. Unfortunately I don't know what sort of forces might be produced by a canopy that's unlatched and raised. I'm guessing maybe 50 lbs at low speed. I assume the force would be applied primarily to the front of the forward hinge, so the canopy would come off in a peeling motion (rather than a lifting motion). I'd like to hear what others have done to address this issue. Allan C-FAMP


Hi Allan,

I think all Giles canopies are attached similarly with screws and piano hinge sections. I agree, a not ideal design. A weaker design may run the risk of detaching unexpectedly however. Most problems have occurred with the latching system. This has occurred more often than a structural failure or fire necessitating a bailout. One G-200 I know of had the canopy come open in flight near VNE due to a latch pin guide failure. The canopy swung open and hit the wing, shattered, but stayed attached in the open position! So I think you are you are right in supposing that the hinge system will not allow clean separation. I have pondered a secondary latch, other than that a clean sheet design maybe?


Thanks for the reply, Grant.

My primary concern is engine failure. I've had one (fuel injector servo) in my Pitts but I was practicing over an airport so I just landed. Soon I will be moving to a mountainous island where there is no box over an airport, and the forced landing choices are trees and rocks or ditching in the ocean. I want to be able to get out!

It never occurred to me that one might deliberately shatter the canopy before leaving. It seems likely that hard right rudder after releasing the latch would ensure it flips over hard enough to break the cord and hit the wing, even at low airspeed. With only the frame to catch the wind it would be much less likely to slam shut while I'm part way out. It might even be safer than jettisoning the canopy, with the risk of it hitting my head on the way back.

Maybe I should cross this off the list of things I want to change.

Canopy's picture

Be careful about making the hinge weaker.  There is a huge amount of lift on the canopy at high speed.

It would be cool to see a release mechanism that can pull both canopy hinge pins out.


Mechanism that can pull both canopy hinge pins out

Vittorio Primultini's picture

Just two days ago I went to Torino (Italy) to see the G-200 S.N.28. I hope the pictures will show.

This G-200 had a Mechanism that can pull both canopy hinge pins out. Unfortunately I have seen Andrw's comment only after I went to see the plane, so my pictures are not complete.

Look at this two pictures first:

The key of this mechanism is that outside of the fuselage the two hinges are connected with a solid rod that can slide forward releasing the hinges.There is a release handle mounted on the instrument pannel (visible in firtst picture). From that handle there is a bicicle brake wire that goes around a pulley (visible in firtst picture), thru a bowden to the outside hinge rod. In this installation the wire pulls the outside hinge rod just infront of the aft hinge, but I guess it could be pulled from any point.

The owner said he had to pull both the opening handle and the release handle in order to jettison the canopy.

Hope this can help.


Work in progress.

static diplay

Michael Zacherl's picture

Hi Vittorio,

the Giles 200 from Turino looks like a garden gnome. Is it still flying or only neighborhood childrens playground. Or is it for sale?


Hi Michael,

Vittorio Primultini's picture

Hi Michael,

the G200 in the pictures is not flying. It has been sitting there for about 10 years now. I don't know if the guy is willing to sell it or not. If you send me your email I will send you his contact and you can check directly with him.


Work in progress.

Hi Vittorio,

Hi Vittorio,

I'm still looking for a G200 or G202  project.

Do you know if the G200 located in Torino has been sold? If not, could you please send me the contact of the guy in torino.