Cross Posted from Avionics Forum: Affordaplane Instrumentation questions

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Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2005
Phoenix, Arizona
Hey, all

Finally starting real work on the Affordaplane,
and was wanting some tips on Instrumentation and such.

I plan on the following instruments:


I may also tap into the 440 for Oil Pressure, not 100% certain.

I'm assuming I'll need some sort of a radio in order to talk to the tower if I want to fly out of any sort of a real airport.

I received my Aircraft Spruce catalog last week and found some nice pricing on instrumentation,
so I'm not terribly concerned about having to add a few more if needed.

Any thoughts on my list or tips on what model of radio would serve my needs?
I'd prefer one that I could use headphones and mic inside my helmet with.

I'd also like to know if there are other instrument choices to consider adding, or some that could be omitted.
I kind of fall into the "would rather have too much information versus not enough" mindset.

Thanks in advance


Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Jul 29, 2005
Orange County, California
I, for one, can't imagine spending the money on an artificial horizon on this plane. Would you ever really be flying when you might need one?


Well-Known Member
Mar 31, 2004
southwest TN.
Here is my take on instruments

Hi again,
When I had my Kolb Untralight, about the only instruments I used were (for sure) an airspeed and a tach to see if the max rpm was what it should be for takeoff, after that I didn't look at it.

Since the gas tank was under my knees, I could easily see when it was time to land. Since the compass spun like a top when the engine was running, I didn't look at it either. I didn't have an electrical system so didn't need an ammeter.

I had an altimeter, (wish I still had it for my Pitts) but didn't use it much either. I did get to 1500 one day but it felt so slow up there, I didn't go that high much after that.

My opinion is that a good airspeed is handy for an ultralight because they are so light and draggy, it is easy to get slow. I noticed that the first time I flew it, They just don't have much excess energy. A climbing turn can end up a stall/spin if you are not watching airspeed or have some experience.

Other than that, they are a delight to fly around in. Almost like a magic lawn chair at least mine was. I sat out in front of the wing with the engine behind me, nothing in my sight path except a little instrument panel down by my feet and nothing under the seat but the ground! I flew formation with a hawk for a few minutes too, that was cool.

I did have a cheap GPS on a bracket on my leg for nav. One push of a button and I had bearing and distance to my field and ETA at my present speed. All for $50.

The guys I flew with in Georgia mostly used CB radios. I know they are not legal for that but we were all tight on $$. I never got around to adding one. I think a hand- held VHF would be just fine if you could hear and talk without screaming. (it is loud in an ultralight)

Wally, now wondering why I am spending thousands to build a Pitts...
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