What is it?: retractable sun shade for RV6/6A and other aircraft with
Size: 25" x 30" extended
Where do you get it?:
Cleaveland Aircraft Tool (800) 368-1822
What does it cost?: $165.00
This is a preview of a product review that will follow when I am
ready to fly my RV6. For obvious reasons it is difficult to fully evaluate
the Koger SunShade without a flying aircraft (Ok, I could prop up
the canopy on sawhorses, install the SunShade, sit under the canopy, make RV
sounds, and try out the shade. But the neighbors would finally have all the
evidence needed to have me committed, a move they have frequently pondered
since I started rolling homebuilt aircraft out of my backyard...).
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 himself 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
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
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.
I will post a follow-up to this preview once my RV6 is flying, and
produce the appropriate Cheers and Jeers. If any readers are using the
SunShade and wish to submit a field report, by all means do so, and I will
make it available for general consumption.
User report from J. E. Rehler,
I recently installed the Sunshade on the sliding canopy of my RV6A. The
installation was straight forward. It will be even better if you don't wear
bifocals or, like me, trifocals. You must sit in the cockpit and close the
canopy to drill and tap the mounting holes (3) in the fore and aft canopy
support bar. This results in your eyes being very close to your work which ,
in my case was too close for the bifocal lens to work. It all worked out
fine ( as my 83 year old mother says, growing old is hard work). The final
installation is very well designed and the shades fold or slide aft nicely
if not needed.
The big canopy is great for visibility but not sun protection so long
sleeves, sun protection cream and a baseball hat are standard procedure for
flying in sunny weather. The new sun shade worked very well and made a
noticeably difference. It covers the two seats nicely. No problem looking up
to the left from the pilot seat, and not much vision cutoff looking up and
to the right. Certainly superior to my previous Tripacer and any spam can.
Since I fly with a billed cap, looking up is not practical since the bill of
the cap hits the canopy before you can get your head back. The new sun shade
is no worse.
I am 6' 2" and have no problem with headroom wearing a headset. The shade
fits very nicely against the canopy with the sliding bows conforming to the
curves. Minimal reduction of headroom. To summarize, I think this is great
product for sunny flying.
User report from Don "The
Duck" Wentz :
"I purchased my Sunshade from Van's and installed it right before
heading to Arlington, WA for the '97 Northwest EAA Flyin. Took maybe 1/2
hour and was very easy (tip-up RV-6) requiring no screws. My wife Janet and
I used it going to Oshkosh last year and I think it's a great item. Easy to
move out of the way when you don't need it, but great for that high altitude
Now that I have used it for almost a year, the only complaint I would have
is the "thumbscrew" release. I think for the price Ralph could/should
provide a pushbutton quick release.
Otherwise, an excellent product and a must have for any -6."
User report from Jon Haas
"I have flown my RV-6 coast to coast in a day several times and
around the USA on many long flights. Before I installed this sunshade
dehydration was a serious problem. It works great. I do stow it during low
altitude flights and when near congested areas. I can agree that the price
seems high but my flying companion insists the comfort and UV protection
left us no better choice. After the "sticker shock" abated I am completely