6.8.0 Instrument Panel

Another 3D puzzle! Assuming that the fuselage is level (which it is since I’m concurrently working on installing the canard) we can then start to install the panel. It looks easy, but it isn’t! Using a helper, we messed around for hours trying to get the panel reasonably close to level (left to right and vertically) and aligned properly with the “Luxury Keel”, also shown in the photo below. (In fact, the manual states that the panel can lean up to 5 degrees top side aft - towards the pilot. I’m leaning my panel 2 degrees since that provided for a better fit.) I had to do a lot of trimming and fitting of the keel overlay to get it in place as well as getting it all aligned properly with the instrument panel. At this point the panel is just clecoed into place. Eventually it gets epoxied into place. But in the meantime, I also have to place both of the side stick controlled, cut openings for them in the panel and paint the panel! (The factory recommends painting the panel before installation - of course, then the surface has to be protected!)

Fuselage - Instrument Panel - Initial Fitting

The panel must be level left to right, and vertical to within 5 degrees aft. I decided on 2 degrees which seems about perfect. It also needs to align with the keel overlay.

I’m slightly modifying the installation method for the instrument panel “shell”. Since this is the modified “new style” panel, the book isn’t very specific on how to mount it. The factory recommends that I glue it to the fuselage sidewall. Well, that’s all well and good except if I ever need to remove it for maintenance! (The original style panel was bolted to some flanges made out of Triax which was glued to the edge of the fuselage. That made it possible to remove the entire panel, if needed.) Because I’m also installing the side stick controllers I may need access to them for removal or if I ever need to get to the canard. Therefore, I decided to install some hard points and bolt the instrument panel to the fuselage. I see no reason why that shouldn’t work plus it gives me maintenance access when needed!

The photo below shows the beginning of that process. I dug out some fiberglass and foam at the hard point locations and used structural epoxy + flox to attach them. they are also getting covered with two layers of BID.

IMG 2159

Installing hard points inside the fuselage for mounting the instrument panel frame.

I’ll show the result of the BID lay ups a bit later.

I mentioned the side stick controllers. That’s the next step. Part of that process also includes aligning all of the mechanisms including the aileron torque tube that passes through the keel and the elevator torque tubes that are attached to the canard. this process has just begun!

ui© John Trautschold 2018