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What is it?: retractable sun shade for RV6/6A and other aircraft with
The RV aircraft are renowned for the incredible visibility afforded by their large canopies. However, the panoramic view comes with a price; Big-time solar exposure. Van's is very implicit about the need for adequate ventilation in the cabin, but sometimes the solar assault overcomes the ventilation system resulting in half-baked RV pilots and medium rare avionics. I have read of pilots experiencing rather uncomfortable burns (not actual burns of course, but unpleasant nonetheless) on the back of the neck and ears. Here in the South, we occasionally see redneck pilots (these are the ones that enter trailer parks as waypoints in their GPS), but arriving at your destination with a broiled neck is definitely not cool!
I first saw the SunShade in an RV6 parked on the flightline at Sun-N-Fun 98, and then took a closer look in the Cleaveland Tools booth where Ralph Koger hisself was demonstrating his nifty invention. He eagerly pointed out the simple yet ingenious design of the shade, and the compact manner in which the shade is stored and extended. The SunShade is available for both tip-up and slider versions of the RV6/6A.
The SunShade consist of a pleated cloth shade with wire ribs which slide along an extruded aluminum track that is attached to the canopy with double backed tape.
This photo shows the shade installed on one side of the rail and the wire ribs on the other. Mystery Hand points to the thumbscrew that locks the shade in the extended position.
The SunShade is rather compact when it is in the stowed mode.
Van's has been flying the SunShade on their aircraft for some time now and seem to be pleased with the performance of the shade. I see no reason to think that I will not likewise be spoiled by the option of having either shade or unrestricted vision, whichever is desired at the particular moment. The construction of the shade appears to be rather good, and Ralph has developed a unique product, one that fits into the category of "Why didn't I think of that?". The thumbscrew could possibly be replaced by a more sophisticated item, but I guess if it works and ain't broken, there is no reason to fix it. My first impulse at seeing the SunShade was that it may be a little overpriced, but no doubt future use will prove its value in the real world of RVdom.
User report from J. E. Rehler, RV6A:
User report from Don "The Duck"
User report from Jon Haas