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Old 11-26-2018, 11:28 AM
BVD's Avatar
BVD BVD is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 92
Default I'm back..with another need of panel upgrades!

It's been about 9 years since I've been here. I built an -8A in 2002 and sold it in 2009, and just got busy with know how it is. But I just picked up another -8A and will be stating a two phase panel upgrade, along with an in-depth condition inspection, next month. I hope to have a builder/flying log up in the next week or so to document the process, but it's not quite ready.

The "Ghost" is a 2006 RV-8A quickbuild with a 200HP IO360 and Hartzell C/S. The panel is VFR and pretty well done with vacuum AI and DG, Navaid autopilot, RMI VSI, VM1000, GTX327, 250XL, SL40, and a 496. It's also got a Propriety Software Systems AOA. Not bad, but if you know me, then you know i'm gonna upgrade it...LOL

Phase one will be quick and dirty (so I can fly while building phase 2 on the bench) and will include removing the vacuum system, AI, DG, Navaid, RMI, and 250XL (if you need any of these items please let me know), and the installation of a Garmin G5 with autopilot and GMC507 controller. I'll replace the AI with the G5, put the 496 in place of the DG to drive the autopilot for now. The autopilot controller will go in place of the 250XL, and I'll add an iPad Mini 4 running ForeFlight on a ram mount. The parts are on order and I'm estimating the cost of phase one to be around $5K..considering I still have plenty of "stuff" from when I was building panels to take care of all the harnesses and etc. And, perhaps I can recoup some of the cost by selling some of the removed equipment.

Phase 2 will be a new center panel I'll cut on the Panel Pro and will include the removal of just about all of the remaining original equipment and the installation of the 10.4" GRT Horizon HXr Touch with their Safe-Fly GPS and IFR Approach Option. I'll also add the GRT remote EIS package, a VAL remote NAV, and PSE remote audio panel. I may also add a Garmin Navigator of some kind, if I can find a deal (the pic has a 430W), but i'm in no hurry there. I'm also going to need the Garmin GAD29 AIRINC unit, and am planning on the GRT Echo combined with the Safe-Fly for ADS-B out, but will wait a bit to pull the trigger on that since things are still changing. I'm sure I've missed a couple things here, but I am still working out the details and the final design. I really want to put a map box of some kind in the empty space on the panel and have some ideas for that.

Please let me know what you think! All questions, comments, and concerns are welcome!! I'm excited to have an RV again and excited to be part of the community again after far too long.
Bill VonDane (BVD)
CO15 - Elbert, CO
RV-8A - Flying
CH750 STOL - Building

Last edited by BVD : 08-18-2019 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:07 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 3,250

Just finished a dual SkyView, GTN-650 install for my new RV-8 project. Some thoughts on your layout if you want:
- Move the autopilot panel to below the EFIS display, move the EFIS display as high as it will go. On the 8/8A you can do this.
- Move the IFR navigator up as high as it will go, the other stack stuff underneath it as you show. You have enough room to get it and the SL-30 above the forward cross brace.
- Move the backup EFIS to the right of the center EFIS display, again up high.
- Move the ELT control box off to the side someplace. It should not be in prime panel space.
- Consider keeping the steam gauge airspeed instrument. You have room for it on the right side.

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Old 11-26-2018, 01:36 PM
BVD's Avatar
BVD BVD is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 92

Hey Carl...been a while, Thanks!

Yeah, I was working on changing some things up today. Since I am not going to re-cut / re-install new side panels...yet. The stuff on there will stay, although I will cut another NACA on the right side and ad another vent. I really like having the AP control top center, as that's what I am used to flying on a daily basis, but I'll be flying with it on the bottom for a while so I can see how that goes. I put a couple backup instruments on the right, but I still think I'm going to design a map box to go there...

AP control on the bottom, g-meter and, iPad Mini.

Bill VonDane (BVD)
CO15 - Elbert, CO
RV-8A - Flying
CH750 STOL - Building

Last edited by BVD : 08-18-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 04:49 PM
Walt's Avatar
Walt Walt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 6,336

My 2c as someone like to say. I like the way this came out, plus for seemless IFR integration, I prefer not mixing and matching equipment vendors.

Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website:, Email:, Cell: 972-746-5154
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Old 11-26-2018, 05:34 PM
Danny King's Avatar
Danny King Danny King is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Southlake, Texas
Posts: 632
Default New panel

What Walt said.

Don't mix Vendors. Garmin is a good choice.
Danny King
Beautiful Doll 80434 TT 1710 hours
I0360 A1B6 200 HP
Christen Inverted Oil
First Flight 12 July 2000
VAF Dues current for 2021
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Old 11-26-2018, 05:44 PM
zilik's Avatar
zilik zilik is offline
VAF Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Pine Junction, CO
Posts: 657

Welcome back Mr VonDane! This 8A has a little more up front than your build did. Happy flying.
Gary "Seismo" Zilik
Pine Junction, Colorado
RV-6A N99PZ S/N 22993 SOLD
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Old 11-27-2018, 06:53 AM
BCP Boys's Avatar
BCP Boys BCP Boys is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kennesaw, Ga
Posts: 879

For Phase 1 considering putting a Aero 660 in place of the 496. You don't gain much in a sense of features but you do get wireless integration with ADSB In that you can always use for phase 2.

For Phase 2 I can't stress what Walt said enough, go with Garmin G3X Touch and you will never look back. The incredible integration with the Garmin suite is just something that we can't overlook.

Congrats on getting your RV Grin back
RV-7 - Regretfully Sold
RV-10 - Sold

Supporting VAF since the first visit
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Old 11-27-2018, 08:50 AM
BVD's Avatar
BVD BVD is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 92

Thanks for all the replies!

Walt, I love that panel, in fact it's one I have in my folder of pix of my favorite panels. I have designed some with the G3X and it's right up there at the top of my list.

I just really like what GRT is doing and the fact that they are "open"...and although I see the point of sticking with one vendor, I also see the benefit of not putting all your eggs in one basket and keeping your backup systems segregated and unaffected by other, possibly failing, systems. I fly a combination of stuff at work and they all have their plusses and minuses.

The Garmin autopilot was a no brainer, so I'll start there...It's likely it will lead me to the G3X, time will tell.

Hey Gary! How you been...? Yeah, I'm exited to fly the thing...I bought it sight unseen. I'll be home Sat and will start the condition inspection. My neighbor did the pre-buy, and a lot of the inspection already, but I'll do
deeper dive when I get home. I'll post all my findings.
Bill VonDane (BVD)
CO15 - Elbert, CO
RV-8A - Flying
CH750 STOL - Building

Last edited by BVD : 08-18-2019 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:51 AM
RV8iator's Avatar
RV8iator RV8iator is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Saint Simons Island , GA
Posts: 1,635
Default Preferences

Everyne has an opinion, but for me, with two independant EFIS?s, ie, HXr and Mini, or G3, I see no benefit at all of having steam gauges in a panel. I guess some just feel more comfortable looking at analog backups, but you already have primary and backup with standby batteries. Sure seems like a lot of wasted effort and panel space.
Of course, you are getting exactly what you paid for in this post. Just another opinion.
Jerry "Widget" Morris
RV 8, N8JL, 3,100+ hours on my 8.

VAF #818
Saint Simons Island, GA. KSSI
PIF 2007 - 2022

I just wish I could afford to live the way I do
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:15 PM
n38139 n38139 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 693

Since you are asking and if you are going with GRT, I would put a Mini-X in it and then if you go with the HRX it would connect to the HXR and you could run it in several different sub modes such as an Engine display while running your "big" screen in a Nav and Attitude or any other mode you desire. The GRT autopilot is pretty good, I've had several. The Mini-X can be wired with a simple switch to control the autopilot in the event of a "big" screen failure.
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