Getting your avionics wired
BY MARK PHELPS
FOR ABOUT WHAT IT used to cost to install
basic mechanical instruments and a radio,
homebuilders can now have a full glass panel
with a large-screen primary flight display,
moving map, and graphic engine monitoring.
Even if the mission is day VFR, there’s no
reason not to have spot-on GPS navigation,
airspace alerting, terrain/obstacle infor-
mation, weather, a three-axis digital
autopilot, detailed engine operating infor-
mation, and even traffic, if you want.
But even though many of these panel-mount units are designed to be easy to
install, for some builders, the skills
required to cut, assemble, diagram, and
wire an instrument panel are as foreign as
a different language. So if you have trouble
telling a transducer from a transformer,
you might consider having someone more
experienced handle your panel assembly.
There’s no shame in admitting the talent
to work in airframes and engines is a long
way away from that needed to wire an
instrument panel. In particular, today’s
computerized avionics and their software
need to plug in and play well together, and
that can be a challenge.