Power to the Panel!


When you're elbow deep in wiring, it is motivating once in awhile to clear all of the debris, check all the connections, and apply some voltage to the input side of the airplane, just to watch things light up! (Note all of those caveats - applying power with dangling power and ground wires can lead to grief when electrons flow where they aren't supposed to - test smart!) Continue reading "Power to the Panel!"

Van's 3D CAD Panel Models Released

Van's Aircraft, Inc announced the release of 3D models of both the panel and sub panel areas for our popular kit aircraft to enable builders to design their panel installations in CAD.

Now that Solid Works is available for every EAA member, and Fusion 360 free of charge for home use, Van's has received several requests from builders for 3D models of the panel and sub panel.

Files are available for the following aircraft RV-7 & 9 (Tip-Up & Slider), RV-8, RV-10 and RV-14, on the downloads page of the Van's Aircraft web site. We have posted files in an IGS format recognized by SolidWorks and Fusion 360 as well as many other CAD programs. Users who wish to have files in another format may use the aforementioned CAD programs or a third party program to convert the files.

RV-10 panel.

Garmin and Dynon/AFS have 3D models of their equipment available for download on their web sites, see the links below.

For many builders the panel layout is a highlight of the project, and these models may make it even more enjoyable.

Power up!


Boy, I am enjoying building "simple" for a change. Most of my airplane projects are fairly complex machines with multiple EFIS screens, IFR capability, and all the bells and whistles. The Xenos, on the other hand, is a straightforward motor glider--just the stuff we need, and none of the complexity of the bigger craft.

I pulled out the panel blank the other day, along with the Avionics that we’ve put aside for the project, and within a couple of hours, the holes were cut and the units test fit. Essentially, we have a single screen EFIS to give us flight and engine data, a single Comm radio, and an electronic Variometer for soaring (the MGL EFIS has a software-derived Vario, so we thought it would be fun to install a dedicated unit and see how they compare). Switches are minimal – a Master, to ignition toggles, a start switch and an avionics master. Four circuit breakers handle the loads, and heck, I had this little corner for a couple of warning lights, so I installed two from my stock drawer – one for the EFIS warning, and another for oil pressure.

After everything was fit, I took it apart, scotchbrited, and shot some primer and paint. While that was curing in the sun, I pulled out the manuals and figured out how the CAN Bus connections work for MGL. The answer? Quite simple and easily!. The MGL units al came with pre-made harnesses from Approach/Fast Stack, so when the paint was hard and the units re-installed, it was a matter of minutes to connect up the data lines and another half hour to mock up the power feeds so that we could throw the switch and - voila! We have a panel!

Now, of course, I have to tidy things up, figure out where to mount he RDAC (engine data unit) and Magnetometer, choose places for the headset jacks, and do some installation in the fuselage. But its nice to know that everything works,, and we can start to play with the MGL software environment..

Pretty cool for an afternoon’s work.



I remember the very first LONG cross-country I took as an inexperienced pilot, flying my new (to me) Grumman Yankee from Houston to Minneapolis, VFR, with a single Narco MK III Omnigator radio and an engine that turned out to be burning a quart of oil every three hours. Crossing the center of the country south to north with no weather information, flying by hand in the sweltering summer heat and humidity, visibility was rarely better than five miles. I think there were five fuel stops (the Yankee had short legs) and I made it to southern Minnesota before getting stopped by a wall of weather, finishing the trip the next morning. It wasn’t quite like barnstorming, or the Cub flying I did a few years earlier to get my license – but it was an adventure! Continue reading "Enroute"