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Old 07-15-2012, 10:01 PM
SteinAir SteinAir is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 2,478

I have lots and lots to say, but it would be good if we could spend some minutes on the phone. Before we talk, I have some questions for you to ponder. Why did you build an RV? Specifically, why this plane and not something else? Is the engine new or used? Will the prop be new or used? Will you leave it unpainted? How about the interior, new or used? Have you priced out in detail the instruments you're planning as shown (complete with the needed probes/sensors, etc)? Will you sell the plane within 5-10 years? While they might seem like irrelevant questions, it's very relevant to the direction you're choosing.

Please ponder this and we'll chat! This may end up the direction you go, but I'll bet you've made a few assumptions on prices of certain equipment (new/used/digital/analog) that will not prove to be true.

Not trying to be negative, but I think a little guidance would go a long way. PM me with your contact info and I'll try to get hold of you.


Last edited by SteinAir : 07-15-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:22 PM
bifft bifft is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 123

Didn't expect so many answers. Thanks a lot. I really like the idea of moving the ELT down to the side panels. I have the fuel gauge on the lower left panel, but the right is just empty.

Do feel the lack of symmetry in this design. What I really want to do is to put the map box down lower, then the engine instruments above. But that is as low as it goes (without cutting it much shorter, I believe so much so a sectional won't quite fit in). Want the radios on the left so I can twiddle knobs without taking my hand off the stick.

This is an 8A, so no gear towers for the push pull controls, actually planning on shoving one more above that one, will have elevator trim, cabin heat, carb heat.

I know that glass panels offer lots of data for not too bad of costs these days, and don't take up much panel space. However, that give a 21st century airline feel to the cockpit, I want to keep it a bit more old fashioned. I'm flying an airplane, not watching TV. The same thing goes for engine monitors. I am considering putting switches under the CHT and EGT so as to be able to check all four cylinders. Doubles the sender cost, adds a point of failure. still, thinking about it.

As for GPS, I currently just put my Etrex under the windshield of the Starduster, no "nearest airport" functions, hard to change the route in flight, but great at estimated time to destination, on/off track. Mostly navigation is by following mountain ranges (live in Utah) and 99% of my flying is local anyway. I could see adding some kind of holder for a portable GPS down in that blank space. Could then leave it out when playing fighter pilot.

And as for going to 2 1/2" G-meter to save space, the reason I put the map box on there in the first place is that after adding everything I wanted in a panel, still had tons of space left over. Not the usual complaint for a tandem plane.

Last edited by bifft : 07-15-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:14 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,127

I fly Day VFR only, so this might be applicable.

Personally, I use rate of climb information a lot, mostly to work with planning descents on cruise. Knowing the anticipated rate of descent and my speed, I can figure out how far from the destination to start the descent.

I also really like some sort of stabilized compass. I hardly ever use the whiskey compass, which wiggles and waggles too much. The gyro compass is much easier to use - and mine is the old style that looks like an old whiskey compass, original equipment with my 1955 Cessna 180.

Now both of these are mostly used for cross-country flights. For these, I also like to have some sort of moving map capability. It doesn't matter much what sort or how big it is, but something. Ideally it ought to be on the panel somewhere.

As for arranging things, I'd like to see the energy instruments in a small group: ASI, altimeter, rate of climb, tach and unless you're using a fixed pitch prop, manifold pressure. Nav and positioning info in another group, and assorted systems in a third group. They can be - they'll have to be - contiguous, but the groupings should be defined.

Also, a digital fuel flow computer is a must-have. And if you're using a carburetor, an ARP carb ice detector, too.

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Old 07-19-2012, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,412

I think different than you, but I see where you are headed.
I redesigned mine a few times. It's nearly done now...that is, it will get me thru certification...and hopefully phase one.
I liked the SR-71 'Old style' cockpit at the Boeing Flight Museum.
white tape around the three instrument groups;
Engine, Flight, & Navigation.
Engine gauges were on the left, by the throttles, so that's what I did. Flight Instruments front & center, symetrical so you understand them in a panic. Nav instuments to the right and radios (for me) across ther bottom so you can adjust them with either hand.
Good start. Keep at it.
You can see a pic of my panel on my chapter gallery page in the link below.
Scott Emery
EAA 668340, chapter 326 & IAC chapter 67
RV-8 N89SE first flight 12/26/2013
Yak55M, and the wife has an RV-4
There is nothing-absolute nothing-half so much worth doing as simply messing around with Aeroplanes
(with apologies to Ratty)

Last edited by SHIPCHIEF : 07-19-2012 at 11:50 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:37 PM
Chris Hill Chris Hill is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Del Rio
Posts: 124

Originally Posted by David Paule View Post
I fly Day VFR only, so this might be applicable.

Personally, I use rate of climb information a lot, mostly to work with planning descents on cruise. Knowing the anticipated rate of descent and my speed, I can figure out how far from the destination to start the descent.

There are other potentially faster ways to figure out your descent point.

If you take your Altitude divided by your distance from your level off point and overlay that fraction on your attitude indicator pitch ladder for 0 to 10 degrees, that is the pitch angle you need to maintain for your descent.

For example, you are at 10k feet and 30 miles away, you would use one third of your 10 degree pitch ladder and fly a 3 degree descent profile. Your VVI will just be your pitch multiplied by your groundspeed in miles per minute. So if you are 10k feet at 30 miles doing 180kts (3 miles per minute) you need about 900-1000 VVI down.

In my 8, I always use 3 degrees since it lets me keep the power up on descent. So for me, the math is always very quick and easy. I just do 3 times my altitude in thousands of feet, pad it by 6-9 miles, and thats when I request my descent.

example, Im at 10k feet. 10x3=30, pad a little for level off, slowing, configuring for pattern, so plus 6 miles. I start my descent 36 miles out and pitch for 3 degrees down from level flight. The VVI is sort of irrelevant at that point, but its a good cross check.

Food for thought for anyone who might find a use for it...
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:50 PM
bifft bifft is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 123

Thinking about the ideas in this thread, modified for a bit more symmetry. this takes the fuel pressure away from the rest of the engine group, but does look nicer.

Also added a fresh air vent, playing around with other places to put it, couldn't find anyplace else it wasn't going to interfere with my legs.

For moving map/GPS, I'm waiting to see what happens to prices on ADS-B equipment. I'll need one eventually, and would rather that it be moving map with traffic shown. I'm hoping prices come down and user interfaces standardize a bit before the deadline.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:05 AM
GusBiz's Avatar
GusBiz GusBiz is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 211
Default I can see the issue here

I think that its pretty clear whats wrong here.

none of these gauges are colored in with pencils, crayons, or even felt pens.

This is going to make night operations really difficult.

Get yourself a set of Derwents and rememeber....there is no undoing going outside the lines.
Gus Bisbal


Obsession only exists when someone else isn't doing it too.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:21 AM
RV8R999 RV8R999 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: na
Posts: 1,457
Default no map box

Honestly...get rid of that map box. Plenty of space along side panels for all the things you think you'll need in that space zapping map box.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:55 AM
yooper's Avatar
yooper yooper is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boston. MA
Posts: 77
Talking Upgrade?

I would definitely suggest an upgrade from paper to actual instruments. Improves the usability immensely . . . (hee hee)

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Old 07-31-2012, 10:01 PM
bifft bifft is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 123

By popular request, without the map box. Looks way better, but feels kinda empty.

Does leave lots of space to fill in with stuff later. Maybe make place to mount a GPS on the right side?
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