(Un)Boxing Day

You know its “Unboxing day” when the shipping label says it came from Steinair!

Everyone knows that “Boxing Day” is December 26th (an old-world holiday that few celebrate on our side of the pond). This year, we celebrated “Unboxing Day” in our shop when a large container of goodies showed up from Steinair on the 3rd of January! This stack of little Garmin boxes represent the avionics suite for our new F1 Rocket project.

Yes, we just started building, and yes, I am happy buying avionics early—mostly because I want to add wiring for everything early in in the build so it is accommodated without having to drag wires through completed structures later on. I have never believed in the “don’t buy your avionics until you’re ready to put gas in it, because something better might come along” philosophy. I set my requirements, buy to those requirements, and am happy that what I bought meets those requirements. I will say that I have lot of experience in setting my requirements, so I rarely go back and say “oh, I could have had X.”  I personally don’t worry much about warranties expiring and if the nextgen avionics come with a neural net interface making a display obsolete, I can live with it.

Note that the panel layout is still a work in progress – I know what’s going to be in it, but layout will mature as I walk by the mockup over the next six months or so.

For this airplane, we’re basically going VFR with a bit of IFR capability, just in case. That means a single (large) screen G3X Touch with a single AHRS- but also a G5 backup display that can also serve to back up the G3X AHRS. There are two Comms – one panel mounted, one remote – both can be controlled by the EFIS, but if the EFIS goes dark, I can still tune the panel-mounted unit and fly by the G5. I like the Garmin autopilot panel (we have two G3X Touch airplanes already, one with the panel, one without, and the panel makes life easier), and it visually balances the GNX 375—a combo transponder/ADS-B in & Out/IFR GPS. Since I am going to have the transponder/ADS-B capability anyway, adding the ability to shoot IFR approaches for a couple thousand dollars was a no-brainer.

That “new avionics smell” that comes with a “Big Box ‘O Garmin” is hard to beat…now on to planning the wiring harness!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.



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