Finished panel and mounting avionics

Uninstalled all the avionics and removed the panels. I covered the panels with 3M 2080 matte black vinyl wrap. This is the stuff they use to wrap cars. Then I created the panel labels using a Cricut vinyl cutter. Spent a lot of time fiddling with the tiny letters to get them onto the panel but eventually figured it out. I used transfer tape to transfer the cut vinyl to the panel then weeded out the excess vinyl in place on the panel rathe than the conventional approach of weeding the vinyl before applying the transfer tape. The letters were just too small and would move around or fall off the backing when I tried it that way.


Got everything reinstalled in the airplane to see how it looked. I’m happy with the way it came out. Although I’m having second thoughts about the canopy release label. Might be a bit over the top. The intent was to make sure any curious passengers were left with the impression that if they pulled it, something serious is going to happen. May tone it down at some point but for now it’s done.

Now I need to wire everything up. Perhaps later. I’ll be finishing up a couple of small projects tomorrow and then I’ll be starting in on the finishing kit next weekend.



Today’s Time (hours): 7.0
Options and Miscellanea Time (hours): 32.0
Total Time (hours): 721.0



Cut the co-pilot-side panel

Same drill as the pilot side…  Lay everything out, drill pilot holes, final drill with step drill, cut with Dremel, deburr, machine countersink, paint, rivet, and bam! We have a panel.


Mounted the GDU and the ELT switches to the panel and mounted the panel in the plane.



Next, I’m going to cover the panel in flat black vinyl. I’m also thinking about adding a carbon monoxide detector beneath the ELT buttons.

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Options and Miscellanea (hours): 25.0
Total Time (hours): 708.0


Cut the pilot-side instrument panel

I used the fly cutter in the drill press to cut the round hole for the G5, I drilled small pilot holes for all the switches and the corners of the GDU 460 cutout. I final drilled all the holes with a step drill. Then cut the hole for the GDU with a Dremel and a cut-off wheel. Actually went through several cut-off wheels. That’s some thick aluminum. Used a file to clean everything up and tweak to fit. Then I painted the back to match the interior. I screwed the G5 mount in place. I drilled the screw holes for the GDU mounting bracket. Then screwed it to the firewall and match drilled the rivet holes, counter sunk the holes and riveted the bracket to the panel.


Mounted all the avionics and switches in the panel and mounted the panel in the plane.



Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Options and Miscellanea Time (hours): 22.0
Total Time (hours): 705.0


Began work on panel

Mocked up the center panel in plexi. Used the Dremel with a cutoff wheel to make the cuts.


Mocked up the pilot-side panel in plexi. I used a fly cutter in the drill press to cut the 3 1/8″ hole for the G5. I centered the ignition/starter switch under the G5 and placed the electronic ignition power switches above the ignition switch. I’ll only need one for now as the engine came with one mag and one P-mag. But I’m making accommodations to switch out the mag for a second p-mag in the future. I grouped the switches along the bottom into logical groupings based upon function. Master and Aux Batt on the left, then boost pump, then lights (landing, nav, strobe), then pitot heat and defroster. I mounted a momentary push button in the center panel right above where the throttle will be. This will be for the AP’s TOGA function.


I laid out the final design on the actual metal blank. I made a couple of alterations. I took the time to better align the G5, Ignition, and P-mag switches. I also moved the row of switches below the GDU downward by 1/4″



Committed the center panel to metal. I used the plexi as a template and drew the cutouts onto the panel. Then I cut it with the Dremel. I fit and fiddled with it using files and many trial fittings. I used files to cut small notches for the GTN’s side guides and for the pall on the bottom of the GTR 200 to make it easier to insert and remove. I’ll likely add a panel light dimmer switch to the center panel at some point. I just haven’t acquired the switch yet.



Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Avionics Time (hours): 18.0
Total Time (hours): 693.5


Mounted Radios

Picked up a Dremel vibratory cutter and used it to enlarge the center cut-out in the sub panel in order to accommodate my radio stack. I was pleased with the new tool. Cut like butter. I finished it off with a file and some sand paper.



I mounted all of the radio trays into the central radio rack. This was fiddly work. I had to slot several of the holes that I drilled  in order to get everything to line up perfectly. I used #6 flat head screws, washers, and nylock nuts to hold everything in place. I used the trays themselves as drilling templates. I used a long #40 drill bit to make pilot holes and then drilled to size from the outside of the panel standoffs. I used an extra long screw driver to set the screws.

The placement of the canopy release handle presented a challenge. I had to get everything mounted low enough so that the top of the AP controller didn’t interfere with the hole for the release. I squeezed everything in with less than 1/4″ clearance.


I’ll probably need to uninstall all of the trays to make up the connectors but.

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Options and Miscellanea Time (hours): 12.0
Total Time (hours): 687.5


Started mounting avionics

Made some trial panels from plastic. I’ll use these to lay out the panel and make sure everything fits before I start cutting metal. I’f I do this properly and everything works out, I should be able to use these as templates to lay out the actual metal panels.



Temporarily mounted the GAD27 (ARINC), GAD29 (electrical device controller), and GEA 24 engine indication system. I mounted the GEA 24 directly to the sub panel. I made a stand-off mount for the GAD 27 using some aluminum sheet and some aluminum tubing. This let me “stack” the two boxes fore and aft. This was the same approach that Jared took in his plane. So I can’t claim credit. I also mounted the TCW integrated backup battery system. I fit the boxes, drilled the sub panel, and attached the boxes with temporary hardware I had lying around. I’ll get the proper hardware this week.


I fabricate a doubler to mount the WaaS GPS antenna. I cut a piece of aluminum to sive, laid out the holes for the antenna and rivets. I match drilled the empennage top skin to the doubler. I dimpled the doubler, riveted nut plates to it, and primed with SEM rattle can. I dimpled the top skin with the pop rivet dimple dies. I riveted the doubler to the inside of the skin and screwed the antenna in place with the supplied hardware.


Started fitting the radio stack. I used a digital level and shimmed up the front of the radios so that the were perpendicular to the panel. Determined that I need to enlarge the center opening in the sub panel in order to accommodate the radios without blocking the canopy release. Even then, everything barely fits.

I picked up a vibratory cutter and a flush cutting blade. I’ll use this to cut the sub panel tomorrow.


Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Options and Miscellanea Time (hours): 7.0
Total Time (hours): 682.5