Of course the engine isn’t the only major expenditure still to come, I’m going to need some instrumentation to look at to pass away those hours spent chugging slowly though the sky. At first glance this doesn’t seem like a plane that needs anything fancy, it isn’t IFR, I don’t plan to fly at night and it doesn’t go that fast. But since I have a clean slate and I am building this plane for me, and I am a big fat gadget freak, a little glass upfront doesn’t seem out of place.
My main principle is going to be keeping it light and simple (which is just a fancy way of saying cheap) so my starting point is: a transponder, a single radio, an engine management system, an attitude/air data display, and a moving map. Of course this could be one box or it could be five.
I’m pretty sure I’m going with the panel mounted version of the Sandia STX-165.
Why panel mounted? Just easier than having to find somewhere remote to put it at run cables. Lame reason? Possibly.
For the longest time I have been planning on getting the V6 COM Radio from MGL. It is simple, lightweight, and easy.
But just this week Dynon Avionics have released a COM radio, the SV-COM-C25. It looks pretty neat, and can be bought in horizontal or vertical configurations, though it is mostly designed to work with their Skyview system.
If I end up choosing a configuration that requires a separate moving map display, the most likely candidate right now is to panel mount an iFly 720.
There are many post on the builders forum about what a great device this is and at $750 plus another 100 or so for the mount, it is a great deal. You may be asking why not an iPad? Well, everything I read and observe says that the screen just does not hold up in bright sunlight and with my location, plus the dome window of the 750, it is just going to be a struggle.
Grand Rapids Technologies
A strong contender for a single EFIS solution is the Sport S200SX8 in either 8.4″ or 6.5″ versions.
It has an internal sensor and GPS, so less wiring to do. And, from my limited reading of the site, a full installation with engine monitoring of a Rotax 912 comes in at around $3600. If I went this route, I could be done with just this and the transponder and radio.
MGL Avionics have a range of great looking products. The Rotax decision cuts out the iEFIS from consideration, and probably the Voyager too. One option is to combine the iFly720 with their XTreme EFIS.
It would certainly show all the information that I am interested in but at around $2500 it would seem to make more sense to go with the GRT Sport. MGL is promising a new 7″ EFIS later this year and there’s every chance I am still looking by then.
Lastly, there is the Dynon suite of products. If the Rotax is the standard engine for LSA, it seems that the Dynon is the standard panel instrument for LSAs. Their SkyView system is certainly impressive but for my needs I am not likely to get out of the door for less than $7000.
But there is the D-180 which would be a very competent management system and it is around $4000 all in. And I’d still want the moving map display.
There are still a couple of other things such as a power panel, or other electrical system, but these are the major items under consideration.
Re-reading this, it is interesting to see how I appear to be in favour of the GRT Sport which I hadn’t actually even looked at until I started this post. I will have to read up on its advantages and disadvantages. And in the meantime, there is still a lot more to build!