Although I'm probably a year to a year and a half from really needing to have it set in stone, I figured I probably need to start at least playing with panel concepts now so that I have the time to refine the layout, translate it into Catia, and lay out cut templates and break the panel into parts as necessary for manufacturing and maintenance. It'll also help me better visualize wire routing needs as I'm starting to lay in conduit and figure out where to mount the fuse panels (as those will be going in a little sooner).
With that said, I recently spent a particularly slow morning futzing about in Powerpoint (yes, Powerpoint... it's quick and easy for simple concept creation) and tried to figure out how to pack 12 pounds of stuff into a 10 pound bag. I wound up with about four different layouts and a few minor variations thereof; I screenshotted my favorite of the bunch so far and it's posted below. I was hoping to get some early feedback before I've gone down the road of detailed CAD drawings with cutouts and split panel sections, only to be overwhelmed with suggestions to change everything...
Please bear in mind--this is a Very Rough Draft
, maybe one step beyond a napkin sketch. Again, I did it in Powerpoint
one afternoon. Think about your first time with MS Paint or colored pencils and the outline drawings, planning your paint scheme...
A few notes on the concept:
I intend for the aircraft to eventually be IFR equipped and to get my rating in it.
I haven't actually yet decided on Classic vs HDX; I have experience with the former and like it (single screen VFR implementation), but the latter I only played with at Oshkosh a couple years ago and found the Classic habits hard to break. I don't like that the knobs don't work like sticks; I found the interface a bit harder to use. But HDX keeps getting new features...
This concept is for the eventual full panel--it's likely that I won't have everything all there initially ("fitted for but not with" as the saying goes). IFR GPS, Com 2, standby EFIS (GRT Mini), and/or RH screen may be just cutouts with blanking panels at first flight. But the RH screen will make it in first, as most of my likely right seaters will at least know what they're looking at and be useful with it.
Switches are assumed to be TL toggles unless noted in yellow. Dashed rectangle is width for dual-pole switch.
As regards placement, the hard part is trying to pack in the knob and AP boxes (must-haves; driving autopilot through the screen itself is pain) with everything else. The SDS programmer (3.25x3.25 for the new one right now, per one of Ross's posts) takes up a fair bit of room too.
On this concept, I placed the autopilot controls top and center like heavy iron; both occupants can reach and use it there. I looked at placing it somewhat towards the LH screen, but I still wanted to keep it to the right of the screen somewhere. I don't want to have to take my flying hand off the stick to twist knobs. The right seater can use the EFIS if need be.
Com 2 is the radio all the way to the left, with the intercom. It won't be used much and (as currently planned anyway) the right seater won't be able to talk on it.
I grouped all of the engine switches in the center, by the quadrant, so all the engine stuff is together. I haven't yet decided how to break the panel down for maintenance (I like Carl F's master disconnect idea) but one possibility is having the quadrant and engine controls separate from the rest of the panel. They won't share a disconnect with anything else and they're powered off a separate fuse block. Rest of the commonly-used switches to the left; the rarely-used stuff to the right. Flaps may or may not move to the stick, I haven't decided that one yet.
USB 5V outlets are crammed where nothing else would fit, but I could easily move those elsewhere, perhaps even to the armrest area or something else.
I know which switches are dual vs single pole, 2 vs 3 position, momentary, etc. but I have not noted it in the picture. I know someone will ask; the main and aux master are off-bat-alt.
With all of that said... thoughts?