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Old 03-19-2014, 04:53 PM
alwaysoutdoor alwaysoutdoor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Twisp, WA
Posts: 55
Default My first panel plan

Greyforge's post yesterday got me thinking that I need to start planning my panel as well- what are your thoughts on my layout?? any insight is welcome (and needed).

Here is what the project looks like so far (1 year of part time work).

Last edited by alwaysoutdoor : 03-19-2014 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:22 PM
JohnCFord's Avatar
JohnCFord JohnCFord is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Posts: 110

Dude! Good job!

I like the RV-8, and Rv-7
RV-8 Preview Plans received 2/22/12
Collecting/fabricating required tools
Tool Box Project under const.
=VAF= Supporter April 2015
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:50 PM
truflite truflite is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 127

Looks good as I am building my panel as well. One thing I was told to avoid and pass this on to you- a panel mounted compass seldom works. To close to avionics wiring can and will interfere with proper compass operation. I went with a pedestal mount on the glare shield on got a big OK to that. My $.02.
David Nellis
7A slider finishing kit
2015 VAF dues paid
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:37 PM
Paul K Paul K is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 1,019

I remember the fun just beginning at that point. Spent hours planning and taping photos and prints to the blank panel. Hours looking at other panels and checking out the professional built ones at Stein. A few observations:

If you are going to put in heated seats, better plan on heated pitot.

I am very reluctant to mount anything to a panel that isn't going to be there for a while like iPads etc. I would keep panel space reserved for "permanent" stuff. Tablets work just fine on kneepads or mounts, besides they change faster than I can learn how to use them.

Looks like VFR only. Any thought of going IFR in the future? I see you have an Aux power source. Not needed for VFR but nice to have if you age planning to fly at night.

Good to put the cabin heat on the co-pilots side :-)

Any stick switches? Great place to put flaps and trim!

Your boost pump has a warning light. Is there more than one place to activate it from? If the switch is the only position where it can be turned on, then light not necessary in my humble opinion. Should be scanning switches as part of procedures. Up is on, down is off. I set up all switches in line and in groups where they are all in the same position during normal periods of flight. I just have to take a quick look and see if they are all in the same position or a quick swipe of my hand without looking.

I love your work space! Green with envy.

This is just my .02 worth! Don't flame me, we all have different thought processes.
Paul K
West Michigan

Unfortunately in science, what you believe is irrelevant.

2021 donation made, exempt but worth every dime!
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:10 PM
alwaysoutdoor alwaysoutdoor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Twisp, WA
Posts: 55

Thanks for your input guys! I am just a beginner on this and have never done a panel before- I am planning on a VFR panel only right now to keep cost down and really want a tablet (what do people think about the nexus 10?) on the panel for GPS/Sectional/Airport info (and to use up space as I have tons). Where would be the best place for a panel mount whiskey compass so it would be the most reliable? or should I just buy the magnetometer upgrade for the MGL and rely on that and leave the panel mount compass off? The AHRS upgrade is over $800 so I was thinking about not getting it as I am VFR only anyway. I wasn't planning on heated pitot- is this a must? I built the pitot tube that it calls for in the plans. Yah, I guess I don't really need the light for the boost pump- was just thinking it would be very noticeable if it was left on or was bumped on for some reason. The PTT is the only thing I have on the sticks (Going with cheapo grips that actually look pretty nice).

I have the IO360M1B with mags and the low compression pistons to burn car gas. I am about to order the 3 blade catto prop soon and probably will need a 20lb crush plate for aft cg problems.

Does things on the panel look like they are in a good place?
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:55 PM
pilot28906 pilot28906 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Murphy, NC
Posts: 579

I like your panel and engine to burn auto gas; simple. I am thinking the same way.

Nice work in a year.
John Johnson
Murphy, NC
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:10 PM
crabandy crabandy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ottawa, Ks
Posts: 2,309

That's a lot of progress for 1 year part time!

I would keep that tablet off the panel and mounted to you or your passengers leg. At your rate of building you could be flying in another year to year and a half, the tablet could very well be obsolete. Readability of tablets in the cockpit is another big concern.

Whichever EFIS you decide on deserves the panel real estate directly in front of the pilot (doesn't have to be centered, just first and foremost). It will be the instrument you stare at most. Regardless of the whiskey compass get the magnometer option.

I would keep the boost pump switch away from your start/master/etc, it is switched on/off multiple times during a flight where as the others are usually on for the flights duration. Once flying your left hand will be on the stick and all switches should be easily manipulated with your right hand.

Does the MGL EFIS not have a boost pump warning light?

Why the 7 1/2 amp starter breaker next to the start switch?

What wiring diagram/architecture are you using? I found my wiring architecture dictated at least a third of my panel layout.

For just VFR I wouldn't bother with a backup airspeed, if you really want a backup several manufacturers offer great mini EFIS's for the cost of 2 new airspeed indicators. If you really like the standby airspeed, pair it with an standby altimeter stacked to the left of your main EFIS.

I would leave the fuses (assuming your planning on ATC type fuses) off the panel and put them behind the panel somewhere. Reference the Aeroelectric Connection for why.

Leave the glove box off, way easier to add map/glove pockets on the side/kick panels.

Sit in your cockpit and do some "flying", plug in your headset go through all your checklist and find out what you like and don't like with your layout.

After my written checklist, before I take the runway I use my memorized flow check. It flows top to bottom, right to left takes less than 5 seconds and I consider it my best checklist.

Canopy locked
Fuel desired tank
Alt air in
Mixture rich
Flaps set
Elevator trim set
Throttle idle
Carb heat off
Boost pump on
Lights as required
Ignitions on
EBUS/aux alt on
Master/alt on
Take your time, don't screw up and have some fun!

Good luck!
RV 7 500 hours and counting
20 donation done

Last edited by crabandy : 03-19-2014 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:59 AM
Paul K Paul K is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 1,019

Sitting in the seat and doing some flying is really a good suggestion. Find out what the flow will be and how far you can easily reach and see.

One thing I discovered when my project was completed and ready to fly is that with my harness on and snug, I can't reach the far side of the panel very easily. I also can't reach behind me very well and I can't reach down to my cup holders and side pockets If I drop anything on the floor, it might stay there until the flight is over!

There is a good article about panels and where your eyes are optimized. I found it very helpful when laying out my panel. Not sure where it is but I'll look for it.
Paul K
West Michigan

Unfortunately in science, what you believe is irrelevant.

2021 donation made, exempt but worth every dime!
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:29 AM
RVbySDI's Avatar
RVbySDI RVbySDI is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tuttle, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,642

All above posts are good advice. I will second the comments about mounting the tablet on the panel in front of the pilot. No matter what brand of tablet, none will be reliable enough to use as your primary flight display. You want that real estate reserved for your EFIS. Tablets are great for a lot of things but I am not at all willing to rely on it for safe flight.

I also agree about losing the glove box. That is wasted space that could be used for more useful instruments.

Compass is not really necessary if you have magnetometers, but if you still want it think about the windscreen bar if you have a slider.

I also say you can lose the Hobbs. Unless you intend to rent out your plane that is a pretty unnecessary instrument.

Ditto other comments about fuses/circuit breakers on the panel.

Live Long And Prosper! 🖖🏻

Last edited by RVbySDI : 03-20-2014 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:50 AM
alwaysoutdoor alwaysoutdoor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Twisp, WA
Posts: 55

Thanks again everybody! keep the ideas coming my way. Great advice crabandy- I will get rid of the compass and get the magnetometer option for the MGL, I'll move the boost pump (without light)...Is in the middle between the light switches and flaps a good spot? I'll get rid of the glove box and panel mounted fuses but where should the fuse blocks go so I can get to them semi easily? My idea of putting the starter breaker there is in case it ever pops I could press it back in if I ever had to restart the engine mid flight or in a remote area. Should I just not have any breakers on the panel at all? I am not using any wiring diagram... I was wondering how to figure out what size wires and what size fuses to use for different things. Is there a good diagram out there you know about for my application? I would love to see something that will make this easier. I'll get rid of the airspeed indicator and move the MGL a couple inches to the right so it is in direct center view for the pilot. I have no idea if the MGL has a boost pump warning light or not- it probably does because it seems like this tiny thing has EVERYTHING! By getting rid of the airspeed and compass I wont have any use for the instrument lights switch as well, so I guess that goes off too. My panel will be completely bare without the tablet: my idea was to use super strong Velcro to hold it on the panel so if I ever needed it on my leg (for bright sun conditions) I could just pull it off no big deal. What do you think about this idea? Should I use some sort of clip device instead, or is everybody adamant that it shouldn't be on the panel no matter what and that space should just be bare? I really want something on my panel besides the tiny MGL. I'll get an updated picture posted this evening on the changes to see what everybody thinks about the new look. The airspeed indicator and compass are some of the few things I already have so I guess they will be for sale on the forums soon (once I get a more finalized panel plan).

Crabandy= "At your rate of building you could be flying in another year to year and a half"-
Dang I thought I was a little further than half way by now but I guess the engine/instruments/wireing/cowling/prop/painting/seats takes a ton of time- oh well I love working on this thing most every day after my carpentry job anyway!
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