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Thread: Avionics

  1. #1

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    Avionics

    I am considering make the jump from certified to experimental.
    But part of the journey that I know nothing about is the avionics.
    Does anyone have any links to primers, basics, what to look for, weight, functionality, usability....

    Basically an avionics for dummies in the experimental space.

    Thanks,

    Tim

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by tspear View Post
    I am considering make the jump from certified to experimental.
    But part of the journey that I know nothing about is the avionics.
    Does anyone have any links to primers, basics, what to look for, weight, functionality, usability....

    Basically an avionics for dummies in the experimental space.

    Thanks,

    Tim
    There are no real useful primers for experimental avionics. The rate of change is too rapid for folks to right anything useful. Don't worry about weight, functionality, or usability. The new experimental gear is leaps and bounds more advanced that what you can find in a typical GA aircraft. Significantly less wight and less expensive too.

    You'll find that most folks will recommend whatever they purchased to help solidify their own egos and purchased decisions.

    Nobody here can really give you any useful advice, becuase we don't understand your requirements and budget. The functionality and price variations are extreme. You can spend as much or as little as you choose.

    Things that would help are:

    Aircraft?
    Mission? (local hops versus cross country)
    VFR/IFR?

    Here are some things to get you started in your research.

    Take a look at Dynon Skyview and Advanced Flight Systems 5000 series EFIS. Dynon just purchased AFS, so there is starting to be some synergies between the two companies. Think of these like a Chevy and Buick. They have a variety of peripherals that can be mounted remotely. Comm, Nav, Transponder, and Audio can now all be remotely mounted and controlled via the EFIS. There is also new technology that supports weather and traffic via ADSB.

    Garmin is still the biggest player in this market space. They make good gear, I just don't like the additional fees to maintain their databases. (most other vendors provide for free or minimal charge). Although there aren't many options if you need an IFR gps.

    There are other vendors in this space, but this will give you a start.


    There are several firms that provide outstanding service to the experimental market and are usually willing to talk with you to get you started. I would call Jason @ Aerotronics or Stein /Jed @ SteinAir. They will assist you with the design process and provide you a schematic and harness if needed.

    Paul Dye wrote an excellent article on how to select what avionics are needed to meet your mission requirements a few years ago. You may want to google it to see if you can find a copy online.

    bob
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
    www.mykitlog.com/rleffler

  3. #3
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    Yup; what Bob said.

    I originally was going to go with traditional analog instruments. Once I compared the cost of a full panel to that which I could obtain with a single EFIS, I was sold.

    Much easier installation (one cable from engine side), customization, and great support, lower weight, and greater information display sold me.

    I bought MGL. I said that not to stoke my ego or justify my purchase, but I went with them because if purchased thru Sonex (my plane), *they* provided additional support over and above that which MGL provided. The Sonex has a relatively small panel, so aside from the EFIS, I have a Microair comm and transponder (round 2.25" units), switches and breakers, and that's it. I fly day VFR only.

    As Bob said, your mission will dictate how elaborate you want to go. Fortunately, the new systems from just about any vendor are scalable and compatible with the various add-ons from each manufacturer. Additionally, most of them now speak common protocols so that you can have a Dynon or MGL or ??? EFIS controlling your comm and transponder, which helps reduce overall workload.

    Happy Shopping!

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  4. #4

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    Bob, Carl,

    Thanks for the info. I will reach out to Jason, Stein, or Jed.
    I am considering a Velocity V-Twin.
    This will be an IFR Airplane with WAAS and ADS-B in/out for weather and traffic.
    I am already used to making good use of LPV approaches into smaller fields. And I want to set myself for the next few years.

    Thanks,

    Tim

  5. #5
    Tim,

    With the long build time on that kind of project, I wouldn't commit to an avionics package until you are at the point where you need to commit in order to build your panel. Today Dynon and Garmin are the big dogs on the block. Yesterday it was Narco, which no longer exists. Who knows who the big dog will be 5 or 10 years from now, especially in the avionics for Experimental Aircraft as that is where all the cutting edge growth exists. Also, you'll want to build a modular style panel to enough of a degree that you can pull out a face plate and install a new face plate so you can upgrade again in the future without having to build a whole new panel. Today the buzzword is "NextGen" avionics and integrated displays. Who knows what tomorrow's panel will look like. You'll have plenty of time to learn from those that are finishing ahead of you, but try to keep your options as open as you can.

    -CubBuilder

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cub builder View Post
    Tim,

    With the long build time on that kind of project, I wouldn't commit to an avionics package until you are at the point where you need to commit in order to build your panel. Today Dynon and Garmin are the big dogs on the block. Yesterday it was Narco, which no longer exists. Who knows who the big dog will be 5 or 10 years from now, especially in the avionics for Experimental Aircraft as that is where all the cutting edge growth exists. Also, you'll want to build a modular style panel to enough of a degree that you can pull out a face plate and install a new face plate so you can upgrade again in the future without having to build a whole new panel. Today the buzzword is "NextGen" avionics and integrated displays. Who knows what tomorrow's panel will look like. You'll have plenty of time to learn from those that are finishing ahead of you, but try to keep your options as open as you can.

    -CubBuilder
    Cub,

    Good point. If I do go down this road, I will be doing a fast build kit. So I hope for a year or two not five or more.
    At this point, I am at the gather information stage.

    Tim

  7. #7
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    One other thought;

    Attend Oshkosh. You'll have all the vendors under one roof and can question them to your heart's content.

    I'll also support what Cub Builder says about waiting to buy.

    I retired from a software / system position. I should *know* better. I *thought* I was going to be at the avionics install point in mid-2010, so I purchased my system about March of 2010. Then all heck broke out at our company and I was suddenly working 7:30 AM to 2:30 AM. Didn't install the system until mid-2011, by which time MGL had come out with a whole new approach to their architecture. Oh well, what's a few AviationUnit $$$, right?

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    One other thought;

    Attend Oshkosh. You'll have all the vendors under one roof and can question them to your heart's content.

    I'll also support what Cub Builder says about waiting to buy.

    I retired from a software / system position. I should *know* better. I *thought* I was going to be at the avionics install point in mid-2010, so I purchased my system about March of 2010. Then all heck broke out at our company and I was suddenly working 7:30 AM to 2:30 AM. Didn't install the system until mid-2011, by which time MGL had come out with a whole new approach to their architecture. Oh well, what's a few AviationUnit $$$, right?
    Carl,

    Since I am also in the software space I know exactly what you are talking about. I will wait to order until I have vacation time planned and not able to be disturbed to actually do the install.

    Tim

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    One other thought;

    Attend Oshkosh. You'll have all the vendors under one roof and can question them to your heart's content.
    Unforunately, most of the time the EFIS vendors are too darn busy to provide any quality time. But here are some additional suggestions. Visit them during the airshow. The crowds are much smaller in the exibition areas. The other suggestion is if you want to learn more about a particular vendor, walk the flight line and find somebody with that product installed. Ask them their opinion, with the understanding that they may be slightly biased to defend their purchase. They may also be willing on giving you a ride and demonstration. Also, visit booths like Aerotronics and SteinAir. They tend to have all the leading vendor EFIS's on display. It's the only place where you can easily compare competitor's products.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    I'll also support what Cub Builder says about waiting to buy.
    Totally agree. I thought I purchased my avionics timely at the last minute. But life got in the way and delayed my build by a year and half. I would have selected different gear if I was to make the decision today. Competition is fierce in this space. It's almost like home stereo gear with new models coming out annually.
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
    www.mykitlog.com/rleffler

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