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Old 01-22-2019, 11:01 AM
kbalch's Avatar
kbalch kbalch is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Clermont, FL
Posts: 345
Default Panel opinions...

I've been working on designing my instrument panel with Stein (actually working with his guy Nick) and, while it's nearly there, I find myself torn between these two versions. One has the GMC 507 autopilot control head above the GTN 750 and the other has it below.

While I'm accustomed to having the autopilot panel above the radio stack, I do like the look of having the GTN on top for a nice, level scan across the two G3X screens.

BTW, a remote Comm 2, transponder, and audio panel will all be controlled via the G3X.

Comments, thoughts, entirely unsubstantiated opinions on this point or the panel as a whole?


RV-8 N118KB (sold)
RV-14A N114KB (#140494)
Finish & FWF kits in progress

Last edited by kbalch : 01-22-2019 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention remote transponder
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:52 AM
lr172 lr172 is online now
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 4,010

I put my 307 on top. I want easy access to hdg and alt knobs without looking, as I commonly change them on IFR flights in busy times. I never look at my 430W other than to change freq's or set up approach. It has no real data that is not aleady presented on the PFD/MFD and therefore not part of my scan.

RV-6A / IO-320, Flying as of 8/2015
RV-10 in progress
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:21 PM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Ponte Vedra, FL
Posts: 970

My panel (from Stein) here:

I put the GMC507 on top of stack. Look at the panels from most current light jets and airliners - autopilot is always at the top center of the panel. I know from similar controller in an RV-12 I like it at the top. And with G3X, I'll spend less time with the navigator - will control frequencies and usually enter flight plan (via Foreflight) in the primary display.

I waffled on the order below autopilot, finally decided to keep audio panel above radio. I don't think there's a wrong way.
Turner Billingsley

Last edited by mturnerb : 01-22-2019 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:55 PM
GaryK's Avatar
GaryK GaryK is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Zeeland, Michigan
Posts: 375

+1 for the AP controls on top. I find it much more intuitive, especially during heavy IFR workload. Just my opinion.

I'm sure you can get used to it in either location.

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Old 01-22-2019, 01:15 PM
CJ in EP CJ in EP is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Eden Prairie, MN
Posts: 49
Default Consider the sub panel as well

One thing that I didn't take into consideration is the effect my avionics component placement had on the sub panel. I'm building a tip-up canopy which has the mechanism to jettison the canopy with the pull of a handle. I chose to put my GTR-200 at the top of the stack, in line with the top of the screens, and the GMC-507 underneath the radio. After the panel was built I realized that I would need to punch through the sub panel to provide clearance for the GTR-200, at the sacrifice of the canopy jettison mechanism. Also, with a tip up canopy there's a maximum height that components can be mounted on the panel for them not to interfere with the canopy as it is lowered into position.

I'd recommend that you verify the installation depth of your GTN-750 (with all connectors and antenna coax attached) and determine if you'll have to make a clearance hole in the sub panel to avoid any surprises.

Good Luck!
Chris Hrabe
Eden Prairie, MN
Finishing Engine / Starting Panel
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:24 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 2,030

Some thoughts:
-I like the GTN-XXX as high as it will go. On some installs this translates to dead space about the GTN as there is interference, others not. If there is dead space decide what is best to put there.
- I like the SkyView knob and autopilot panel near my left and right hands, lower on the panel. They get used more than anything else.
- I put the audio panel on the bottom of the stack as it is rarely touched - but again it might make sense to put it above the GTN if there is dead space.
- With a GTX, SkyView or other such EFIS, there is little to be gained (but a lot of money to spend) using the GTN-750 over the GTN-650. The GTN display is not the primary display as the EFIS has the full feed from the GTN. This is a good way to save both cash and panel space.
- No need for a Hobbs meter. Save the space.
-If you must have an avionics master, use two. One for the left EFIS and COMM #1, one for the right EFIS and Comm #2 and so forth. This will significant mitigate your risk of the single avionics master failing and taking down your panel.

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Old 01-22-2019, 03:30 PM
Stockmanreef Stockmanreef is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Midland, mi
Posts: 707

I can send you a picture of mine panel from stein air. I hope to have it in my house by the end of the week and I have the same set up except that I went with vertical power. I will have a hidden kill switch and no key.
Ken Stockman
Midland, MI
EAA Chapter 1093 member

RV-14 (serial number 140073)
N73XP (at least that # reserved now)
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:38 PM
Erimo's Avatar
Erimo Erimo is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Marcoussis, France
Posts: 106

I'm very enjoin with a similar panel
it makes sense to put the fuel pump switch beside the flaps one.
RV 14A - #140252 - Flying
2018 dues paid
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:06 PM
JDA_BTR JDA_BTR is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 753

The rear clearance is the biggest reason to put the autopilot on top. It is very shallow and the gtn deep.
Ser 104142, RV-14A
Phase 1 Underway
Urologist, AME
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:44 AM
czechsix's Avatar
czechsix czechsix is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Spring Hill, KS
Posts: 339

I plan to put the GTN750 at the top and GMC507 autopilot controller at the bottom. I like the GTN display to be as high as possible for an easier scan back and forth across all displays. And while it's true that the big jets all have the autopilot controller in the glareshield at the top of the panel, look at the Cirrus SR 2x series...the GMC is down in the center console below the panel. I find it's nice to be able to rest your hand on the throttle and reach the autopilot controls right above it. Seems like I use the autopilot controls more than the GTN controls, and once you get used to it you can interact with the autopilot almost by feel or perhaps only a quick glance (whereas the touchscreen GTN display takes more focus, and again, I think it's better for it to be as high as possible to minimize 'head down' time).

One other comment, some have noted that a GTN can't be mounted too high without interfering with the subpanel. That's more of an issue for the GTN6xx series. The upper half of the GTN750 is just a shallow screen, so it's only the lower half that extends a dozen inches back through the subpanel area.
Mark Navratil
Spring Hill, KS
RV-8A N2D #80583 - built/flew/sold
RV-14A #140017 - wings complete, empacone in progress...
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