Vertical Stabilizer
Horizontal Stabilizer
AirVenture 2006
Horizontal Stab. Cont.
Elevators Part 2

Main Spar
Main Ribs
Rear Spar/Top Skins
Leading Edges
Fuel Tanks
Fuel Tanks continued

25-26:Getting Started
28:Forward Ribs/Skins
29:Fuse Side Skins
30-31:Steps, Fwd Fuse
32-33:Tailcone, Baggage
34-35:Baggage Door, Etc.
36-37:Brake & Fuel Lines

Finishing Kit
38-39:Brake/Rudder Pedals
40-41:Flaps/Fwd Fuse
42:Cabin Top
Instrument Panel
43:Cabin Cover
Overhead Console
45:Doors (cont)
Door Latch
More Door Work
Landing Gear
Misc. Stuff
Panel Work
Wingtip Lights
Cowl Work
Wing Work
Empennage Tips
Empennage Attach
Wing Attach
Final Prep Work
More Final Prep
Gear Fairings
Inspection and First Flight

Firewall Forward
Engine Installation


Previous: Firewall


Instrument Panel

Flight instruments have come a long way in the past ten years. It started in experimentals and now has worked it's way into certified planes. First was GPS, which changed the way we navigate. Next came the "glass" panel display, which replaced many of the old round instruments that we all learned as student pilots. I have been happy with the "glass" panel that I installed in the RV-9A. This plane, however will be IFR capable, so naturally it will have more "stuff."


These are the basic "systems". Click on any of these to go directly to that section.

  • Flight instruments
  • Engine monitoring and control
  • Electrical system
  • Communications
  • Antennas
  • Flight automation
  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Entertainment
  • Safety

Flight Instruments

The central focus of the instrument panel will be a set of two electronic displays from Advanced Flight Systems. I have followed the progress of this product for the several years. Rob Hickman and his team of engineers have put a lot of effort into this product and it shows.

I am going with two of the AF3500 8.4" displays. These units interconnect using an ethernet cable, so they can share information. One of the displays will have the AHRS and magnetometer hublot replica, and the other will have the engine monitoring circuitry. The engine data will display on either screen, as will the EFIS information.


I have also purchased the moving map software, which allows one screen to be put in full-screen map mode. It is easy to become frustrated with the small screen on the Garmin 496. An 8.4" moving map should be a vast improvement. It will display a map with airports and cities and all the goodies of a typical GPS. It will also display rolex replica traffic from the GTX-330 transponder and weather data if I elect to add that feature later.

Currently the map software will only allow me to create a single leg (direct to) flight plan, but they are working on expanding the features.

The displays will also connect to the Garmin SL-30 to display the VOR/Glideslope/Localizer needles. This information is superimposed on the artificial horizon.

I've mentioned connectivity a bit. This is essential if you want your EFIS to be able to present valuable information in a timely manner. The AF3500 will connect to the following:

  • Transponder - send encoded altitude data and receive traffic information
  • SL-30 NAV/COM - Receive VOR/GS/LOC and send radio frequencies
  • Audio panel - Provide audible alerts
  • Autopilot - Send navigation information and essentially "fly the plane"
  • GPS - Receive global positioning data and download flight plans

Engine Monitoring

Advanced Flight Systems has had a first rate engine monitor for many years now, and the AF3500 EFIS takes advantage of this heritage. One of my pet peeves of flying older spam cans is that you can't see the engine gauges while you're flying, and if you did happen to glance at them you wouldn't know what they meant replica watches. With an electronic system constantly monitoring the engine, you can know immediately if there is something unusual happening. You can set limits on virtually every parameter, so you are warned when those limits are exceeded.

I also like that the engine information can be superimposed graphically along the bottom of the EFIS display.