Sunday, July 10, 2005

Avionics dilemma

Assuming that I can afford to do either, I'm debating the merits of installing a Dynon instrument set vs. installing an autopilot. The Dynon instruments would replace all of the mechanical stuff in the panel, which is nice since some of the mechanical stuff isn't very good. For example, the fuel gauges are mediocre at best, the vacuum/gyro system has some kind of problem that keeps it from spooling up on the ground, and the engine/electrical gauges take up space I could use for other things. The Dynons, being completely self-contained, don't need the engine driven vacuum pump that currently drives the gyros. The vacuum pump and gyro instruments would be completely removed, resulting in a 6 - 10lb. (just guessing) weight reduction. Just abouteEvery mechanical gauge in the instrument panel would be replaced by a more reliable, accurate, and lighter display on the Dynon screens. Total cost would be around $4,500.

For just about the same money, I could get a digital autopilot that would interface with the King GPS to provide completely automatic navigation solution. I would also get altitude hold, which is very nice.

I'm leaning towards the Dynon's, but the installation would be far more complex than the autopilot, and the autopilot installation itself is pretty complex.

I'm also kicking around the idea of trying to find a builder that would build new landing gear fairings and the new style wheel pants for an affordable hourly rate. Fiberglass work is not anything I'm interested in doing - I'd rather work on wiring and avionics. Luckily, I have a choice!

The Dynons look good! Too bad it's just pictures.

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