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Old 01-24-2017, 10:11 PM
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KatieB KatieB is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Belton, MO
Posts: 1,145
Default Panel Layout

The layout of any instrument panel should reflect the intended mission profile of the airplane. I plan to use my airplane?s speed for quick, long VFR cross-country trips. I?m instrument-rated, but I?ve been flying cross country in VFR-only airplanes for so long, I don?t feel the need for IFR navigation equipment and ultra-redundancy I would want if I were to fly in the clouds. Not to mention those things cost a lot of money, and most importantly in an RV-3, a lot of weight. Just ask Paul and Louise?

So, because I?m VFR, a single EFIS and remote radio is ok, which means that I have room for a big screen. As a totally unplanned bonus, I also have room for Garmin?s new little G5 backup instrument? so I threw it in there for a last-resort battery-powered backup to get home if the big screen or the alternator craps out.

I made my basic screen layout in a publishing program that I?m familiar with, then flipped it to my husband, who knows AutoCAD pretty well. He drew out the basic shapes, using some of our Jabiru panel elements, and then attempted to teach me how to tweak it. I must admit that my first several hours trying to use AutoCAD, I felt like a monkey with a hammer trying to build a house. However, after learning a few key skills, I was able to do enough to really make the layout and text exactly how I wanted it. Normally we send our panel layout files to Industrial Nameplate Inc., a company in Wisconsin that prints them out on vinyl, coats them with plastic and laminates them onto aluminum, but I wanted to ?save time? (yeah right) and so I decided to try screen printing the text and switch hole locations onto my panel face. It?s been cloudy here in Tennessee for like a month, so I have yet to try the sunlight-activated screen emulsion. If I can?t make it work, INI is my backup plan, but he normally takes a few weeks to deliver anything.

Because my panel real estate is all being taken up by this gigantor EFIS, I had to find a different spot for circuit protection. I originally planned on using fuses for everything, but then i realized that a flip-down circuit breaker panel would be easy to make, and I really did want to be able to access my avionics breakers in flight. And then, in a further evolution (all in my tortured head, of course) I decided to make a narrow lower panel extension with the throttle, mixture, circuit breakers, headset jacks, cabin light rheostat, and cabin heat control. I made a posterboard mockup, taped it to the bottom of the panel and tried getting in and out of the plane without hitting it with my knees. It will make getting in and out of the plane a little more delicate, but there won?t be any sharp edges to scrape the shins, so I think it will work out ok.

Here's an older version of the panel layout. I'll try and put a new one up tomorrow sometime.

[IMG]0506161529 by jabiruchick, on Flickr[/IMG]
Katie Bosman
EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council
Rebuilt most of SNF tornado victim RV-3B Tony Boy II (had to sell him, but he's flying!)
VAF Dues Paid 2021!
Thoughts & opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of my employer.
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