Standard Instrument Configurations ?

Discussion in 'Instruments / Avionics / Electrical System' started by ebonheart_2, Jan 26, 2006.

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  1. Jan 26, 2006 #1

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    Hi, I'm wondering what 'standard' instrument configurations are out there. I know about the 'standard six pack' is there a standard 3 pack, or a 12 pack? :D

    and what does the forum think of center consoles in single place planes; for instruments and switches... possibly fuel? Do they get in the way... or maybe get uncomfortable?

    Thanks
     
  2. Jan 26, 2006 #2

    ebonheart_2

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    Kinda sorta like this one...
     

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  3. Jan 26, 2006 #3

    Craig

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    Six-pack

    James, generally there are two rows of three instruments each in the instrument panel. The important ones are grouped into a "T", and make the instrument scan easier, and maybe even a bit standardized from one airplane to another.

    Going across the top row are the Turn coordinator (The "needle and ball" of aviation), Airspeed, Altimeter. Primary flight instuments.

    The next row down has the Directional gyro, Gyro Horizon, and Rate of Climb - auxillary instruments.

    Then you ahve a host of others, some required, some not. And many can be combined, so that one instrument does the work of two, three, or four. For example, I have one 3.125 instrument that combines Oil Pressure and temp, Cylinder Head Temp, and Exhaust Gas temp. If you have an electrical system, some means of watching volts and amps helps. If a vacuum system (many gyro istruments work on vacuum), then a gauge for that. Fuel gauges. If you navigate by VOR, you'll need one of those - and they are 3.125 also. And a compass, radio, transponder. Manifold pressure if it's an altitude engine.

    So the panel can be very complex, or very simple, depending on your requirements. Pay your money (lots of it, if you have lots of instruments), and take your choice.

    Panels between your legs are good for switches and circuit breakers, if they aren't too wide. Also if the stick doesn't hit them at full forward. Many times, switches/CB's can go easily on a side panel. Some switches combine both functions - some people like them separate. Switches etc. take a 0.50" hole, and can be spaced at 0.75" apart, unless you use minis, which are much smaller and closer together.

    Put the flap and gear switches someplace handy, but not where they will be easily confused.

    You are right to think ahead about these things.
     
  4. Jan 26, 2006 #4

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    I'm working on reading some plane design books... and it's kinda fun thinking up designs and trying to get it all straightend out... but I've yet to find a design I'm satisfied with enough to persue. I think the flap actuater should be near the throttle (especially when the throttle is to your left, not the center like a Cessna) and I dont really like the little lever thing Cessna uses because once the notches get wore out (or you hit a big bump) I alwase go back and forth between 10 and 30 degrees... you should be able to put the flaps down without needing to watch exactly where you end up putting them.. maybe a push button or really large notches that cant be missed or wore out.

    I like dialog, mechanical, instruments.. so dialog atleast should be a little cheaper... cheaper than a glass cockpit or something silly like that. ;)

    Is there a common placement for the 'other' instruments? Or would that just be where there's room or something?
     
  5. Jan 26, 2006 #5

    Lakeview Bill

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    Re: Six-pack

    Just a note on the six-pack you described...

    From what I have seen and read, the standard six-pack varies from your description, and is as follows:

    Top row: Airspeed - Attitude Indicator - Altimeter

    Bottom row: Turn Coordinator - Directional Gyro - Vertical Speed Indicator

    This is the way it is arranged in current Cessna/Piper/Mooney/Beechcraft products...
     
  6. Jan 26, 2006 #6

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    I understand that the more important instruments should be closer to the top of the panel so you dont haved to look down as much when you need to be looking out the windshield.

    It would all depend on what instruments you have in your plane... not everybody has a artificial horizon.
     
  7. Jan 26, 2006 #7

    Rhino

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    Pick up a February Kitplanes magazine if you can still find one. They had a pretty good article on this very subject. It wasn't that detailed on exact locations, but it addressed the principles pretty well, and it had pictures!
     
  8. Jan 26, 2006 #8

    Lakeview Bill

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    Ah...but then you don't have a six-pack...;-)

    When I build my plane, I plan to use an EFIS.

    But if I were going to be building an aircraft with steam gauges, I would use the same pattern even if gauges were omitted.

    For example, if I were elimnating the vacuum gauges (AI & DG) I would still use:

    Top Row: Airspeed Indicator - Altimeter

    Second Row: Turn Coordinator - Vertical Speed Indicator

    Maintaining the same relative pattern would simply be good ergonomics, and would make it easier for other pilots to transition to that airplane.
     
  9. Jan 27, 2006 #9

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    I have a Kitplanes that talks about the instrument panel. ;)
     
  10. Jan 28, 2006 #10

    ebonheart_2

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    Is there any 'standard' placement for those 'other' instruments like oil temp, and fuel? Like there's the six pack for the most important to flying instruments; is there another type of placment config. for the others... other than like instruments are placed together?
     
  11. Jan 30, 2006 #11

    wally

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    It is your airplane, put them where they make the most sense to you. Keep in mind that if others fly your plane, they may have a problem. And if you decide to sell it, same thing.

    Keep the instruments you need most (airspeed, altimeter, gyro horizon, compass) in front of you and the rest, can be grouped as you see fit. Sometimes the plumbing or mechanical connections will help show you the best place to mount them. For example, my tach needed to be high and to the right in order for the drive cable not to be kinked going around the fuel tank. Same for oil and fuel pressure, easier for the piping going to them to be near the outer edge of the panel to also go around the tank. Later I will have a radio more near the middle and the wires will not be a problem bending to miss the tank and other stuff.
    Wally
     
  12. Jan 31, 2006 #12

    ebonheart_2

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    I know, but assuming there arent any restrictions as to where you may place your instruments; I was wondering if there were any other 'standards' to guage placement. I dont have a plane... I'm just thinking about designs, so standards are alwase nice to know.
     
  13. Jan 31, 2006 #13

    wally

    wally

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    Here is a place to look

    The FAA rules concerning cockpit instrument arrangement and visibility can be found in 14CFR 23.1321. This is for "little" airplanes.

    "Big" transport size airplane stuff is found in 14CFR25. It is officially Title 14 of the Code Of Federal Regulations, which is commonly known as the FAR's.

    I tried to find an FAA advisory circular about just this but no luck.

    what it says:
    (a) Each flight, navigation, and powerplant instrument for use by any required pilot during takeoff, initial climb, final approach, and landing must be located so that any pilot seated at the controls can monitor the airplane's flight path and these instruments with minimum head and eye movement. The powerplant instruments for these flight conditions are thoes needed to set power within powerplant limitations.

    It goes on and on in excruciating detail. For example:
    The instrument that most effectively indicates the attitude must be on the panel in the top center position; etc.

    The FAA has almost everything online and is easily searchable. The Advisory Circulars are particularly nice because they give a plain language discussion of all sorts of topics.
    Good luck,
    Wally
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2006
  14. Feb 1, 2006 #14

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    Great! That darn book is like reading a dictionary. I guess I'm just going to haved to sit down and read it because I learn of something new that's in there every day almost.

    Sounds like that's what I am looking for, thanks.
     
  15. Feb 1, 2006 #15

    ebonheart_2

    ebonheart_2

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    Sorry... I'm not real good at this yet... was that in the FAR/AIM, or a different FAA book? I havnt found it in the FARAIM yet.:confused:
     
  16. Feb 2, 2006 #16

    Rhino

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  17. Mar 12, 2006 #17

    CAVMan

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    James I fly helicopters about 5 feet above the trees at 80 kts. You learn very quickly the reason for having a good instrument setup. The entire point behind instrument placement is

    #1: to have a standard for your "six pack", or your primary flight instruments, so that you're familiar with the instrument scan from one aircraft to another.

    #2: what I just touched on, having a quick and efficient scan that flows from one corner of your instrument panel to another.

    Your primary flight instruments should be directly in front of the PIC, with no other instrumentation to their left. Your navigation instruments come next, to the right of your primaries. Last comes your engine instruments to the far right(don't overload yourself with unecessary engine data). This setup is normally pretty standard because it gives you a nice flow across your panel beginning with the most important info first. It also provides clustering, which allows you to scan directly to a group of instruments.

    The center console is a good spot for circuit breakers, because they are the least likely item in the cockpit to be utilised, and you can't pull them out if you accidentally knock them with the stick.

    One more note; be careful on deciding to exclude instruments from your primary cluster. If on that one foggy day you happen to go inadvertent, your gonna wish you had em, especially an Attitude Indicator.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2006 #18

    ebonheart_2

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    Very interesting.... but how about in a single seat airplane? Do you think it would be ok to put some engine instruments on the left side of the panel (since there's nobody sitting to your right)? That would also place them infront of your throttle controls on your left side... which makes some since right? :)
     
  19. Mar 13, 2006 #19

    CAVMan

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    Makes sense to me. I've never dealt with a single seat design before, except with gliders, and obviously you don't need engine data for those. Personally I would go with an EFIS/EMS split screen display. That would make your scan very small to get all the info you need. Have a back-up three-pack positioned over that for emergency. But if your going strictly dial, what you said makes perfect sense. That would allow your eyes to stay on one side of the panel while adjusting throttle or mixture.
     
  20. Mar 14, 2006 #20

    Lakeview Bill

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    If you will be using a control stick (as opposed to a yoke) and are right-handed, you might want to consider how often you have to TOUCH the various items on your panel.

    And with engine gauges, unless you are dealing with a fuel flow computer or something similar, you never have to actually touch them.

    But you do have to TOUCH your NAV/COM, GPS, Transponder, and similar items.

    Do you really want to have to "swap hands" on the stick everytime you need to touch one of those items?

    You might want to consider putting those items on the left, and putting the engine insruments on the right...
     

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