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Old 05-20-2020, 03:08 PM
RONSIM's Avatar
RONSIM RONSIM is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Largo, FL
Posts: 1,071
Default Conundrum: Too much technology

Over the past few years, I have updated my purchased -6A from this:

to this:

and it has become a wonderful, fun, fully capable airplane. There is not too much this airplane cannot do ------ unfortunately, the technology has forced my partner (a really wonderful guy who loved his T-28, his T-6, and, our -10 and the -8A!) to not fly the airplane unless I am with him! ("too many buttons").

So, I have three (?) choices -- sell the airplane and get something more "steam gagy", trade the plane for a basic 8/8A that someone wants to move to a side-by-side, or---modify my panel by removing the (wonderful) screen and put in some more basic stuff -- and, yes, I know -- The AFS 5600T will display steam gages, but that requires some button pushing (two), and I also know that if I could get him to train in the current plane for a few hours, his fear of the technology would be tempered.

But, as much as I love the airplane, the way it is --- I will do something to help my partner get back to flying. So, right now I am looking at removing the screen and using that space to put in some semblance of steam gages surrounding maybe a G5, MiniX, or a even a D3. No buttons would have to be pushed and I would still have a capable airplane for VFR/IFR.

Anyway, something for me to think about other than virus stuff!

Stay safe, out there!

RV-10 Co-built, maintained, flown (sold)
RV-8A Maintained and flown (Sold)
RV-6A (Sold) Bought and Flying (N177RV), upgrades $$$
IO360, 180HP/CS, AFS 5600T, D10A, G650, G430, G327, ADS-B, VIZ385 AP
Very Happy Contributor
Based at KCLW (Clearwater, FL)
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:18 PM
rapid_ascent rapid_ascent is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dublin, CA
Posts: 1,615


You have a great looking panel. It would be a shame to go backwards. If you feel comfortable with the instruments that have been installed maybe you could just spend some time flying with your partner as a training exercise. Of course just because you have a backup instrument doesn't mean you have to use it. Again it would be a shame not to, but considering that you want to go back more in the direction of your starting point that is an option. Same goes for the navigators you have two now, but previously a simpler GPS.

Anyway I think if you could spend some time on a limited set of instruments it might be helpful enough to jump start your partner.
Ray Tonks
2022 Donation Paid
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:23 PM
rocketbob's Avatar
rocketbob rocketbob is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: 8I3
Posts: 3,758

Some people need flip phones.

Please don't PM me! Email only!

Bob Japundza CFI A&PIA
N9187P PA-24-260B Comanche, flying
N678X F1 Rocket, under const.
N244BJ RV-6 "victim of SNF tornado" 1200+ hrs, rebuilding
N8155F C150 flying
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Not a thing I own is stock.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:38 PM
odens_14 odens_14 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: West Central, MN
Posts: 337

Are you certain that he actually wants to fly it solo? could "too many buttons" actually mean I just prefer to fly with you?

I'm not familiar with the AFS system but if it really is as simple to get to a 6-pack screen as pushing two buttons, and he agreed to the upgrades in his co-owned plane. I think there's likely more to the story than just being worried about buttons; a quick search online shows an awful lot of buttons in a t-6 or t-28...

If I'm reading between the lines correctly I think he's just looking to spend more time with you; which makes sense as your post shows a great level of respect for your partner. Plus, like you said the more time he gets behind the screen the more comfortable he'll be with it. My 2c is take him up as often as you are able.
Chris Odens
West Central, Minnesota
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:56 PM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,573

Yup, and I'm sympathetic to your partner. Having become an old dog when I wasn't paying attention, I regard the glass cockpit in my -9A as requiring currency like a taildragger.

(Flame proof suit on). One reason I chose Garmin over the alternatives was that the Garmin round dials worked better -- no HSI overlaid on an attitude indicator, for example, or a small size attitude indicator atop a synthetic vision background but with horizon lines that did not coincide with the synthetic vision horizon. And I did not purchase my system until round dials were available, as tapes are harder to read quickly unless you read the actual digital readout, whereas you can detect needle motion without looking directly at it. (The new Boeing tapes overcome some problems I'd noticed). And I'd done engineering development in jet transport simulators, so I'd had some experience with tapes. (/Flame proof suit off).

I've also found that flying with and without the autopilot are two distinct styles of flying. With, I spend energy entering numbers into the system, loading and arming approaches and monitoring what the thing is doing now. It's great once everything is entered in, but... Without, I keep everything in my head and spend energy hand flying the plane, just like when I only had steam gauges. I try to keep current at both.

What solution there might be is to show your friend how to fly the plane VFR only and have him forego all the IFR-isms. To oversimplify, if the avionics are considered to have a set of display functions and a set of control functions, (at least on my system) the display functions are easy to learn and useful, even if there are a number of them. The control functions have fewer buttons, are more complex, more steps, stuff to monitor, more gotchas, and that's where I have to work harder. Setting up the plane for simple VFR can be a dedicated checklist, and if it's only a few items, your friend should be able to master that. Don't forget to have a restore to IFR checklist as well. (On my system, there are some things that are not restored at power on, but I've not yet put them on the checklist, but they might make it onto the next one, Rev 26).

Hope this helps.

Constructive comments welcome, flamers not.
RV-9A at KSAV (Savannah, GA; dual G3X Touch with autopilot, GTN650, GTX330ES, GDL52 ADSB-In)
Previously RV-4, RV-8, RV-8A, AirCam, Cessna 175
ATP CFII PhD, so I have no excuses when I screw up
Vaccines kept me out of the hospital but COVID still cost me a month of living, all told...
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:25 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,092

Originally Posted by rocketbob View Post
Some people need flip phones.
SO happy with mine.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:48 PM
xblueh2o xblueh2o is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: SF East Bay
Posts: 868

I think a lot of the problems you run in to in little airplanes is different boxes by different manufactures and each has their own particular architecture for the user interface. It is becoming a bit less so as time rolls on but it is still true.

In a big airplane everything is designed from the outset to work with each other so everything is nicely integrated and works homogeneously. That just isn't so with little airplanes unless you get everything from a single manufacture and even then it isn't a guarantee. Also, do to the limited space available it makes the man machine interface much more difficult. You need look no further than the Garmin 430 for a classic example. It is a fabulous box and does incredible things if you know how to work it. I you had never seen one before in your life, had no instructions on how to use it and had never dealt with anything else even remotely like it I wager you would be hard pressed to get even the most basic functions out of it because the user interface is so convoluted with twisting and pushing as to be almost detrimental to safe operation while airborne. If you are twirling and poking knobs searching for the function you want you are not flying the airplane or looking out the window for traffic. There is a reason why even the airlines almost universally have some sort of policy that one guy flies the airplane and the other guy pokes at the box.

Next thoughts, and this will seem somewhat like heresy to some, but what do we need all this fancy technology for anyway? Now full disclosure here, I fly glass cockpits in everything at work and I will most likely have some sort of TAA cockpit when I can finally get around to working on my airplane again but think about what you use the airplane for. Do you really need a WAAS GPS navigator with a huge multi function map display to hop out for the $100 hamburger? I do BFRs and I am seeing a definite trend of people who get sucked in to spending way too much time looking at all the cool stuff in the cockpit and not enough time looking out the window. Before we had full instrumentation for the engines we used to lean until it coughed and then turn it in some. Now I see people obsessing over a 10 degree temp difference between cylinders. It used to be the RPM was set right when the needle pointed more or less at the correct line. It may or may not have been exactly what you wanted but that was the best info you had and it worked. Now I see people spend inordinate amounts of time getting the RPM set as close to exactly on target. More info is not always better. It needs to be managed properly.

To the OPs question. I don't know if I would go backwards if you are using the full functionality of the airplane. Can you make him a cheat sheet on the most basic functions? We have all seen people who have taken a TV remote and placed a template over it covering everything except the power, channel and volume buttons. Could you do essentially the same thing except with some training and a cheat sheet. I bet if you could get him to be able to use the radio, xpndr, set the altimeter and enter a direct destination into the GPS that is all he would ever need.
RV-8 with the Showplanes Fastback conversion
Emp completed except for glass work
Wings completed except for bottom skin and glass work
Fuselage underway
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:02 PM
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olyolson olyolson is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: St Louis, MO
Posts: 1,082

Get a different airplane partner. Sounds harsh but he doesn?t fly the way you do and you?d both be happy if he went elsewhere and you got someone who can appreciate the plane.
RV-8, Aerosport IO-360M1B, MT 3 blade, AFS 5500
RV grin every flight
"Sure is nice to have smart friends"
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:19 PM
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emsvitil emsvitil is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: SoCal
Posts: 631

Ok, I'll ask...........

How were you able to change to glass if your partner doesn't like glass?
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:43 PM
DeltaRomeo DeltaRomeo is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Highland Village, TX
Posts: 4,242


What a great looking panel!

I'm on the other end of the spectrum, I guess. My RV-6 started plain jane (steam) and morphed into 'fancy glass' over the course of 15 years. It sure made situational awareness easier to obtain and maintain while getting an IFR ticket.

Fast forward to today - I'm spending more and more time as a part time sim helper in this:

The RV 'fancy glass' ABSOLUTELY prepared me for this slowly over the course of a few months.

As an option, you can declutter the screens in your RV to present you with less info.

My .02? A couple of weeks just tooling around at low speed in the local area can do wonders for your confidence level in regards to becoming familair with new tech. Maybe this would work for your plane partner.

My first few sim sessions I thought my head would melt and I was a couple of states behind the a/c. Now I kinda dig it, and enjoy the improved SA. Nothing but time in the seat and my outlook changed.


PS: My iPad running Garmin Pilot displays 'backup steam gauges'. Another option.....

Doug Reeves (your host)
  • Full time: since '07 (started it in '96).
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