Kelli and I lost out on one too many trips due to the weather. When I told Kelli I was cancelling an upcoming cross country because the forecast was just too iffy, she pronounced a new set of priorities for her airplane and her pilot (me): Get the IFR mod and ticket. Here we go...
I originally built KELLI GIRL with an all-SkyView VFR configuration:
Walt Aranow of EXP Aircraft Service at my home field (NW Regional, 52F) does fantastic panel work, so I hired him for the 2-week job. We moved some switches around, removed the PAR100EX radio/intercom and the SkyView radio, and replaced them with:
Garmin GTN-650 (WAAS GPS, VOR/LOC/ILS, VHF comm radio, GPS source for ADS-B out)
Garmin GTR-200 (VHF comm radio)
Garmin GMA-245 (intercom with BlueTooth phone and music)
Dynon SkyView Autopilot Control Panel (enables all pitch/roll autopilot modes without having to dig around in the sub-menus)
The work begins...
First he removed the 10" SkyView displays (to create work space) and cut a big square section out of the center panel:
He then extended the hole forward into the sub-panel to accommodate the GTN-650's extended length:
Walt worked with Stein at SteinAir to create a cover plate that'll cover the big center hole while accommodating the trays for the GTN, GMA, GTR, and Autopilot control panel:
Almost everything plugged in and working. The Dynon Autopilot control panel was a late arrival, but all else worked. Note also the row of small toggles across the top center: They are for my boost pump and exterior lights. I like using the small toggles, and they're possible thanks to my VPX Vertical Power Pro:
Oh, and Dynon's heated pitot/AOA:
All wired, connected, labeled, holes filled, ready to fly:
...and the panel has already proved itself, as I have now already met the 40+ hours of IFR training under CFII Matthew Hood (Positive Rate LLC).
Note: How can you tell if you have a real hard-a$$ CFII? Foggles...in the cloud!
(Actually, Matt is a fantastic instructor. Knows his stuff, entertaining, has a knack for finding your limits then ratcheting back a notch so LEARNING still occurs. I definitely picked the right guy, and I strongly
recommend him for your IFR training).
If I can just get on my examiner's schedule, I'll have the IFR ticket done.
Cheers, hats off, and three Sierra Hotels to:
- Walt Aranow at EXP...you really do great work, my friend.
- Stein, for the perfectly fitting panel plate.
- Matt Hood, for running me through the ringer. The check-ride CAN'T be THAT tough. I'm ready.