Instrument Panel Update 1

My current favorite layout of the instrument panel is what I call ‘Variant 1B’. I settled on using a GTN 650xi as my IFR navigator, per my recent post comparing it with the GNX 375.

Variant 1B, version 7 (front side)
From left to right, top down: GDU 460 10″ PFD, GMC 507 Autopilot Control Panel, GDU 470 7″ MFD, G5 Backup Flight Instrument, AC200F propeller controller, GTN 650xi GPS/MFD/Com/Nav, Custom switch panel, optional 2nd GDU 470 7″ PFD, Circuit breaker bank, ELT remote switch
Back side of the panel. The Garmin models for the G3X components are pretty detailed!

This panel is the result of feedback that I solicited from two Facebook groups, one dedicated to Slings and another to the Garmin G3X. After getting that feedback, and after watching several YouTube videos of flying instrument approaches with the G3X, here’s what I learned:

  1. IFR flying will involve a lot of interaction with both the IFR navigator as well as the autopilot, so best to have those in easy reach.
  2. Approaches can only be selected and activated via the GTN 650, so again, put it within reach and sight.
  3. One person commented they liked having the G5 up high, it makes it easy to see at a glance during landing and takeoff when you’re focused on the runway. I moved up from the left side of the panel

As shown in the render, I’m considering a triple screen G3X, adding a second 7″ portrait screen in front of the copilot seat. Even if I don’t buy that third screen right away, I’ll probably reserve the space to put one there in the future.

One cool thing I’m working on is the switch panel below the GTN 650xi, it’s something of my own design. I’m using NKK pushbuttons with LED indicators instead of the usual silver toggle switches, along with microprocessor control. The flaps lever is a custom switch assembly, which will also be microprocessor controlled with feedback and airspeed-aware lockout (using airspeed provided by the G3X). The panel itself will be backlit so that all the legends will be visible at night. It’s still a work in progress, but I have some parts and will be able to prototype it soon.

Custom switch panel

Also still on my to-do list is modeling the master, ignition, ECU, and engine start switches on the left side, as well as the key lock for the master/engine start. I also have to find spots for: manual prop angle switch, EFIS backup battery switch, and the climate control panel — another custom design, consisting of a small LCD with a pair of knobs.

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