Panel Layout Recommendations

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Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby FredHoffman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:18 am

I like the Skyview system. On the right is an I-pad linked to the Skyview's GPS. All electrical connections go through an EXP Bus on the bottom. The extra warning lights on the left and right are for battery not charging and low fuel level in the header tank. I put an LED strip under the joggle I made in the panel controlled by a rehostat on the top right side. The joggle in the panel is about 1.5 inches deep and allows the skview to sit centered in front of the left seat and clear the frame tubes behind. Took a bit of time to get this panel done. Made it out of cardboard first. The wiring got a bit complicated but after doing it once second time would be a breeze.
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby Tralika » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:20 am

The wiring behind the panel of FredHoffman's plane would give me nightmares. "Got a bit complicated" must be the understatement of the year. My hat is off to Fred for figuring all that out.

I have some strong feelings about the glass panels. I think if I were flying hard IMC all the time I would like to have them. For VMC not so much. I'm an instructor and I see a disturbing trend when flying with people who have the glass panels and/or notebooks. The displays can be a huge distraction and many of the pilots don't look outside anywhere near enough when flying VFR. There's no question that the displays provide a huge amount of information that can improve safety but pilots do not need all of that information all of the time. I try to encourage pilots to be selective on what information they really need from the displays in any given situation and ignore the rest. Also the buttonology involved in programing the system and retrieving information seems to be challenging for some and shouldn't be done while in flight. I preach a 5 to 1 ratio of time spent looking outside compared to looking at the gadgets. Unfortunately the displays are so seductive I doubt I'm making much of an impression.

Occasionally I fly a 185 on floats that belongs to a lawyer friend with deep pockets. His plane has the two large Dynon glass panels installed. It's a nice system but they are placarded "NOT APPROVED FOR IFR". When I fly that plane about the only thing I look at is the back up Airspeed and Altimeter mounted between the two glass panels. Those two instruments provide all the information I need to fly a float plane safely. I admit that I don't fly it often enough to train myself to use the digital display efficiently.

I took a hard look at the various glass panel options for my plane and ended up going with steam gauges, Airspeed, Altimeter & VSI. That's it. I couldn't justify the expense and effort to put such sophisticated technology in a plane used to land on sandbars and mountain tops. I live in Alaska and don't spend much time flying in a radar environment or controlled airspace. If I lived in the Lower 48 I suppose I might feel differently.
John Nealon
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby mnwinger » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:34 pm

Great discussion. Thanks everyone! I'm starting to lean towards something like the Sport EFIS along with the EIS 4000. I can throw my iFly 720 in the flight bag for long trips to keep the passenger occupied. I'm Sport Pilot, so I'm limited to daytime VFR flight. I'm signed off for tower operations but haven't needed to or wanted to enter towered space. Don't need anything too complicated. I fly comfortably with just the EIS, compass, and a chart. I also do alot of off-field operations (e.g. frozen lakes, my back yard, local farm fields), so keeping it light is very important to me. I'll rework the CAD diagram and post it for more feedback. CAD sure makes it nice for concept generation :D If anyone is interested, I'll post the CAD drawing file when I get it a little more polished.

Matt
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby gkremers » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:29 pm

Matt,
The GRT Sport EFIS gets the engine monitoring data from the EIS through a serial connection.You have to have the EIS as all the engine probes, tach pickup, oil pressure/temp ext...attach to it. The EIS does not need to be mounted in the panel, you only need to program during initial set up. I like mine in the panel as it provides a back up to the EFIS engine parameter display. I also have the EIS come on when the battery is switched on before starting, the EIS indicates oil pressure (and everything else) just after start. I don't turn the EFIS on until the engine is running and the alternator is on.

If you go with Dynon, Garmin ect they all pretty much work the same way, the engine probes do not connect directly to the EFIS.

The engine probes and wiring probably weigh as much as the EIS itself so I wouldn't worry to much about the weight of the EIS.


Gary
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby gkremers » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:02 pm

John,
I went the other way and only installed a single screen EFIS. No airspeed indicator, altimeter or VSI. After flying behind glass for the past 12 years on the experimental side (20 years before that with convention instruments) I was sold. The GRT Sport was cheaper than the 3 new instruments mentioned earlier. The EIS adds additional cost but when you add up the traditional engine monitoring equipment it's actually cheaper.

I understand your concern about people not looking out the window and agree it's a problem. Really comes down to how you were taught. Blaming the technology for people not paying attention is backwards.

I also don't have any conventional gauges in my RV10. Dual Skyview screens, Garmin GTN650, Garmin G5 backup EFIS, ect....Absolutely legal to fly IFR. Not sure why your friends plane is placarded, maybe he doesn't have an approved navigator?

Gary
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby kenryan » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:21 pm

I would like to offer another opinion on the glass vs. steam debate. Like John, I also live in Alaska, but I did put in glass. I do agree with John that glass can provide way too much information that can easily lead to distraction. Steam gauges, on the other hand, offer up a single piece of information clearly and with a quick glance. That's why I chose hybrid solution.

On my panel (which has not flown yet) right in front of me is a big (3 inch) round airspeed indicator, and directly above that is my slip/skid ball. Those two, airspeed and ball, along with engine rpm are what I need most. The Dynon allows me to customize the engine instrument screen, so I can make a large engine tach widget, and now I have everything I really need, right in front of me.

Meanwhile, in the background there is a lot going on. For one thing, the Dynon is constantly monitoring engine parameters, and if anything gets out of whack I get an audio alert through the headset and an annunciator light comes on (also right in front of me). With the Dynon being primarily responsible for watching the engine, I can devote more attention outside the cockpit than the same airplane equipped solely with steam gauges.

Another advantage, constantly running in the background, is the ability to push the "Level" button at any time and have the autopilot instantly level the wings and maintain altitude. This could prove handy if poor judgement ever gets me into a bad weather situation. The Level button will also be a really nice luxury for iPad navigation, or simply taking photos.

The Dynon will also be my backup GPS navigation. I will primarily use the iPad, but if needed, the Engine Instruments screen can be swapped for the map screen with the touch of a button. Another advantage of the Dynon is the way the peripherals integrate into the system. I have the Dynon EFIS, radio, transponder, ADSB, GPS and intercom. Wiring took awhile and did require attention to detail, but it was not difficult. Just one wire at a time until they are all done.
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby FredHoffman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:52 pm

As far as a fancy EFIS, one of my friends that built a CH750 summed it up well after installing one in his....... " I don't know why I put so much stuff in my panel, I'm not going fast enough to get lost ! "

Fred
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby BucF16 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:09 am

I have a ownership partner in my J3 Cub. We share 6 months. January 1 to July 4 it's at my strip. After that I fly it to his ( 45 miles away ) and he flys it till it's too cold for him. I don the snowmobile suit an bring it home, usually Nov.1. A couple of years ago, after delivery, he called and said, " when did the airspeed quit working"? I had no idea. Pitch, Power, Feel, and of course the lower door for stall warning. Maybe because my day job is heavily IFR structured, I reject looking inside.

I still, in the end, may set up my pamel like Troy usually sets his up. Very minimalist.
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby 957DK » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:13 am

There is one aspect to this discussion that hasn't ben mentioned.... Resale value.
Steam gauges are fine and get the job done, no question about that. Aviation is changing fast and thanks to affordable technology we're able to install equipment that dreams were made of just a few years ago.
When it comes time to sell your Highlander, which panel do you think will get the most attention and dollars?

Dan Kretchmer
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby gkremers » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:03 pm

Bruce,
The great thing about experimental is we have so many choices. I agree 100% with your comment about keeping the panel simple. At least for me the Highlander is a VFR, day only have fun airplane. Looking out the window on wheels, skis or floats is what it's all about.
The only point I was trying to make about glass vs round steam gauges is the price point has come down so much in most cases it is cheaper to go with glass and some type of engine monitor. That assumes you are purchasing new gauges. If you happen to have a used airspeed, altimeter, voltage meter, oil pressure gauge etc laying around go for it.

My panel is very minimal.
Transponder
Single radio
Intercom
GRT Sport EFIS
GRT EIS
Alpha AOA

That's it......

Someone also made a very good point about the engine monitor. Grand Rapids came out with the EIS over 20 years ago and it really revolutionized the experimental market. You get to set all your engine parameters with high and low values. If any one of them goes out of range a big red light flashes to get your attention and the EIS switches to the page with the offending issue. All the other major manufacturers now have the same or similar technology. They warn you in different ways but all do basically the same thing.


Everybody that's building keep at it, your going to love it when it finished

Gary
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby mnwinger » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:16 pm

Dan,

With the rapid technology change, those expensive panels are going to become obsolete fairly quickly. Might not even be supported by their manufacturer. When you sell, will you always be able to cover the money that you invested? It's hard to get rid of "old" electronics. I would probably lean towards basic instruments and a portable device (e.g. iPad or iFly 720) that can be updated easily so I can keep up with technology. I haven't been keeping up with the obsolescence rates on the expensive panels, so I'm not sure how well they will hold their value in 10, 15, 20 years. Guess it depends on how long I plan to keep the plane before selling. I'm guessing that I will have this one for at least 10 years.

Matt

957DK wrote:There is one aspect to this discussion that hasn't ben mentioned.... Resale value.
Steam gauges are fine and get the job done, no question about that. Aviation is changing fast and thanks to affordable technology we're able to install equipment that dreams were made of just a few years ago.
When it comes time to sell your Highlander, which panel do you think will get the most attention and dollars?

Dan Kretchmer
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby AV8R Paul » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:06 pm

I live in the DFW area under the TCA, I have to worry about meeting the 2020 Requirement in just a couple of years. You need to plan for when & if you go into controlled airspace.

[quote=“mnwinger”]Dan,

With the rapid technology change, those expensive panels are going to become obsolete fairly quickly. Might not even be supported by their manufacturer. When you sell, will you always be able to cover the money that you invested? It's hard to get rid of "old" electronics. I would probably lean towards basic instruments and a portable device (e.g. iPad or iFly 720) that can be updated easily so I can keep up with technology. I haven't been keeping up with the obsolescence rates on the expensive panels, so I'm not sure how well they will hold their value in 10, 15, 20 years. Guess it depends on how long I plan to keep the plane before selling. I'm guessing that I will have this one for at least 10 years.

Matt

957DK wrote:There is one aspect to this discussion that hasn't ben mentioned.... Resale value.
Steam gauges are fine and get the job done, no question about that. Aviation is changing fast and thanks to affordable technology we're able to install equipment that dreams were made of just a few years ago.
When it comes time to sell your Highlander, which panel do you think will get the most attention and dollars?

Dan Kretchmer
[/quote]
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby BucF16 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:07 pm

gkremers wrote:Bruce,
The great thing about experimental is we have so many choices. I agree 100% with your comment about keeping the panel simple. At least for me the Highlander is a VFR, day only have fun airplane. Looking out the window on wheels, skis or floats is what it's all about.
The only point I was trying to make about glass vs round steam gauges is the price point has come down so much in most cases it is cheaper to go with glass and some type of engine monitor. That assumes you are purchasing new gauges. If you happen to have a used airspeed, altimeter, voltage meter, oil pressure gauge etc laying around go for it.

My panel is very minimal.
Transponder
Single radio
Intercom
GRT Sport EFIS
GRT EIS
Alpha AOA

That's it......

Someone also made a very good point about the engine monitor. Grand Rapids came out with the EIS over 20 years ago and it really revolutionized the experimental market. You get to set all your engine parameters with high and low values. If any one of them goes out of range a big red light flashes to get your attention and the EIS switches to the page with the offending issue. All the other major manufacturers now have the same or similar technology. They warn you in different ways but all do basically the same thing.


Everybody that's building keep at it, your going to love it when it finished

Gary


Hi Gary, In all likelihood what you listed above will be my first choice. I was fortunate enough to take a USAF Vought A-7D to its final resting place in Aberdeen MD. It was to become a target for the Army... :shock:

So I was able to pilfer many items from the aircraft. One was the "Master Warning" light. It will live again in my Highlander. Makes me feel good to do that. She gave me many years of good service.

Bruce
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby mnwinger » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:15 pm

Oddly enough, after all of this great discussion I will probably end up with my initial layout. I updated the layout with minor changes. I moved the ignition switch to the left side of the panel so that I have room to add more switches in the future. I added enough space around the EIS 4000 to allow me to add the larger sport EFIS panel in the future if I decide that I need it. I will use the EIS (with the altitude and airspeed options) that I know and love for my primary instrument set and use the iFly 720 for charts, taxi maps, flight planning, weather, and ADS-B data.

This discussion made it clear that I should design the panel to allow for easy enhancement in the future in case my mission changes.

Matt
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Re: Panel Layout Recommendations

Postby Tralika » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:30 am

Matt
I like the CAD tool you used to design your designing your panel. I used paper cutouts of the all the flight instruments, radio, EIS, GPS, switches, etc and moved them around on the panel blank. When I liked the layout I taped them in place. It worked but definitely not as cool as the CAD image.
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