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Instrument Panel Tips

What I Would Do Different

These instrument panel tips offer the advice I would give to someone doing their instrument selection right now.  There are a few more options available than when I did mine, and I learned a few lessons that would just produce a better result.


Microair comm trans radioAt the time I bought my radios,  all that was available in the 2.25” round size was COMM and NAV—no TRANS.  So I bought the Tierra NAV/COM/TRANS combo.  If I was starting now, I would look seriously at the Microair or Becker COMM and TRANS. 

Becker comm trans radio

VAL Avionics INS-422 all in one NAV radioI would go with one of the “All in one” NAV radios that include the CDI and fit in a 3.125” hole.  One of the cheapest I’ve seen is the VAL Avionics INS-422 for under $2000.  If you spend the money on a nice moving map, the NAV radio is really a back up for cruise, and is only the primary for the ILS landing if needed at the end.

Since many of the new EFIS systems include CDI, I would do some looking to see which option was better, an “All in one” or just a radio head tied into the EFIS for the CDI.

New radios can be bought cheapest from the big warehouses like Eastern Avionics and Gulf Coast Avionics.

Mounting the Moving Map

I mounted the Airgizmo using four pieces of angle aluminum riveted to the back of the instrument panel.  Then I used screws and nuts to fasten the Airgizmo to the angle aluminum.  The eight white spots on the picture are pre-made spots to attach with screws, but you only need to use four.

Mounting tray with eight attachment spots marked
Back of Airgizmo
The next time I take the Airgizmo off, I will rivet nutplates to the back of the angle aluminum.  That way I don’t have to reach around the back of the panel to remove it.  Then, in the future, I can have a large access hole by just removing the four screws from the front.

Attaching the radio trays

I attached the back of my radio tray to the F-820NPPL.G.box upper brace.  I thought I had placed the bolt and nut in a position that would be easy to get to later.  As it turned out, it’s pretty hard to get to.  I should have spent more time looking at this to ensure easy access to this screw for later access.

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