Making an Old Panel New Again
During an instrument panel upgrade, problems can turn into not-too-terribly expensive opportunities for adding functionality and reliability.
Flying Magazine • By Jason McDowell
June 21, 2023
The process of completely redoing one’s instrument panel consists of several chapters, each interesting in its own way and some that are unexpected. The first typically tackles some of the most fundamental issues revolving around mechanical interference and the basic compatibility of all the various avionics you’ve selected. The last step involves determining the aesthetics of the panel, from instrument positioning to the colors used.
In between, some more subtle problems emerge. If you’re fortunate enough to have selected an experienced avionics shop that patiently educates you along the way, you can work together to transform these frustrating problems into interesting opportunities. This made me explore and freshen up some of my panel’s less flashy and more functional aspects.
My friend and avionics sorceress, Jessica Voruda at NewView Technologies, first brought some of these opportunities to my attention. Voruda pointed out that the pull knobs that control things, such as my lighting and cabin climate controls, had lived a hard life and looked pretty well used. It wouldn’t be too terribly expensive, she said, to upgrade them along with new throttle and mixture control knobs.
This was music to my ears. I’ve always hated my Cessna 170’s massive, original throttle knob that felt to be the size of a tennis ball. And I especially hate the 170’s original mixture control, which feels identical to the carb heat knob. The entire travel of the mixture knob was little more than a couple of inches, making accurate leaning a wildly inaccurate guessing game.
Story credit: Flying Magazine; https://www.flyingmag.com/making-an-old-panel-new-again/