Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Cessna 182 and Avionics Panel

Here are some of the avionics and other items I have in my plane and some small reviews of each of the avionics. Somebody asked me about some details of my plane, so I thought this post would be a good thing to add. If you have anything you would like me to write on, please let me know, and I will do my best to do a post on it.

You see pictures of the outside of the plane on the front page of the blog, but here is a picture of the inside of the avionics panel.
N9699G C182P Panel

My plane is a 1974 Cessna 182P. I have had it for almost 4 years now. It has the standard 230hp Continental O470R. There are other details that can be found about the C182 in general on Wikipedia.

Here are some options I have with small reviews of each:

  • Horton Stol: good for getting the plane into back country strips.
  • Garmin 430W : Incredible for situation awareness and IFR approaches. Includes terrain awareness with the WAAS option.
  • Michell MX-170B with glideslope: A decent older backup NavCom. At least it is digital and has standby frequencies. The VOR indicator has needed occasional fixing, but the main unit has been ok.
  • Bendix King Transponder: KT-76C: Nice to have digital access and a VFR button.
  • Shadin Miniflow-L: Very nice. Very accurate in predicting how much fuel you have used on a trip. Linked together with the 430W, it accurately predicts your reserve fuel left at your destination. Makes it obvious when you haven't leaned.
  • Stormscope WX-900: Detects lightning strikes. Very nice in IFR and on a stormy day. This is an early model that does not track when the plane moves and does not display on the Garmin 430; these features would be nice if I did not already have this one.
  • Stec 55 with altitude preselect, electric trim, and control wheel steering. Nice, but I value the heading track mode the most. Next I value the altitude hold, but this is not too necessary in a 182 since it trims to altitude so nicely. The other options are nice, but not must have. Although if I didn't have them, I would probably be jealous. I only have the Stec 55 and not the 55X, so I do not have the GPSS (GPS steering)
  • EI UBG-16 Engine analyzer with Mux-8a: Very nice to see the engine is doing well when you are in IFR or over the mountains. Good for leaning. Has noticed a plug that was starting to foul before the engine made any sounds of it.
  • PS Engineering audio panel: PMA7000M-S: PS Engineering has nice units in general. I really like this specific model for two things. It can split the radios so pilot can use one frequency and the copilot can use another frequency; very handy for talking with ATC and having my wife check ATIS. The other thing is crew/passenger/pilot switch; with kids in the back it is crutial to shut them out and let them have their own conversation. This model is not around any more, hopefully they have these features on a newer version.
  • Precision Vertical Card Compass: This is a nice alternative to a compass. I have heard some people have problems with them, but mine has worked well. Be careful to not put magnets near by or adjust with anything but a brass screwdriver. It tracks in the same direction as the Directional Gyro instead of the opposite direction which a compass does.
  • Precise Flight Standby Vacuum: not too useful at high altitudes, but still nice to know I have. It uses the vacuum in the air intake system so it is important to have a difference between outside air pressure and manifold pressure. So at 10,000' MSL which has about 20" outside pressure, you would have to use something like 15" MP to have it work. At lower altitudes it is not a problem. It also has a big warning light for vacuum which is nice.
  • Glare Shield /internal dimmable flood lighting: Nice, but I think I like the NuLites better.
  • Indicator lights with NuLite Instrument Lighting System: This is very nice. Makes a similar look as the new Cessnas.
  • F&M Enterprises Oil Adapter: I highly recommend for anybody that still has an oil screen. Filters make the difference on some engines between 1500TBO and 2000TBO. It does not officially do this for my engine, but I know it helps. Inspecting the filter is nice.
  • New interior and new paint: Nice and makes the plane look much newer than a 34 year old plane. Passengers who have not been in small planes before appreciate this.
  • Carb Temp guage: I have noticed mild carburator icing on a clear day. C182 carburators are very susceptible due to their location on the engine. So I like this. It also makes the engine a little happier with temps at 50F.
  • CD/AM/FM player: I don't use this much since I am often doing flight fallowing or IFR and talking with ATC. The PMA7000M-S audio panel will fade the music in and out when ATC talks, but this is annoying to me.

Things I dream about:

Other items I have and small reviews:
They say it is best to buy a plane with all the options you want. If you put an autopilot in afterwards, I think it can cost 2x or more to put in yourself versus buying with the plane originally. It cost me a little bit more to buy originally, but I think I found one well fitted for my desires. I did not have much to buy after getting it.

If you have any questions about these, send me an E-mail or leave a comment.



aliah said...

Good post..:-)
Thanks for sharing and keep posting such post here in future too. boat instrument panel is good term to share information. you can share some information on this term here in your future posts..:-)


Fred Perry said...

Amazing pictures, loved them. Keep sharing the interesting info. Loved it.