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Marty_d

Alternative to steam gauges... opinions sought

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The USA publishes when it will cause drop outs. Some time ago I had an email telling me that there would be drop outs overa large area of Western USA for a certain time. It originated as a Notam.

 

I have had about 45deg. discrepancies near Bundaberg, when I could see Bundy ahead, but my gps was saying turn off 45deg.

 

 

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A lot of us complain about the lack of useful load we have and then have a glass panel with a back up set of steam gauges increasing our weight while taking from our useful load, then we want 760kg to cover it all. I run steam and use a AH (actual horizon that is!) On landing I set up the actual horizon with my asi in my periphery as I know where the needle points at 65 kts without having to actually look at it. Try using your periphery vision on a glass panel speed ribbon! Good luck with that. Save the money and turn that glass into fuel......Ken

 

 

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there are lot of governments and other parties who intentionally corrupt gps signal. With military signal (tru certified avia gps etc) it causes ony loss of reception, they can not break into the signal, only jam it, but with civilian (all mobiles, ipads, built-in drone systems etc) such devices can shift position, substituting satellite signal with its own. Particularly in center of Moscow, around the Kremlin, all civilian-grade GPS show position of Vnukovo airport, about 50 km SW from there.

 

 

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Hi all,

I need to start thinking about what sort of instruments to put into the 701. While looking at alternatives to traditional gauges, I came across this wing mounted pod:

 

[ATTACH=full]62151[/ATTACH]

 

WingBug | Fly Smarter

 

This works in conjunction with a tablet, for instance Ipad or Ipad mini, to display Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Turn Coordination, Magnetic Compass, and Vertical Speed Indicator (pic below:)

 

[ATTACH=full]62150[/ATTACH]

 

There's also a company which makes powered flush panel mounts for Ipads in various sizes (they're a bit expensive, there's probably cheaper versions out there) - iPad/iPhone Panel Mounts

 

[ATTACH=full]62152[/ATTACH]

 

So my thinking is that it'd be cheaper and neater to use a setup like this rather than a panel full of heavier steam gauges, and way cheaper than a "proper" glass display.

 

Of course I'd need basic engine instruments like CHT and oil temp etc.

 

What do people think?

If the iPad fails do you lose everything? I don't like the idea of one thing does all.

 

 

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without backups yes and Ipads do fall over in hot conditions

 

A D180 or Ipad for non essential info will be less weight than a six pack

 

Mostly people set up minimum backups and a glass screen for the rest - be surprised if its a weight issue unless you look a t double screens, twin radios, etc etc

 

 

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Hummmmm IPad, took off from Gawler (Adelaide ) after 5 minutes showed me that I was in Sydney, quick reboot then I was in Broome! Decided to map read instead. Next flight all good and never a problem since. But I don't trust anything with electrons...Ken

 

 

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Just out of interest, for a ASI, VSI or Altimeter instruments displays, would you guys prefer a digital number or a needle display

 

 

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I like both but I find the digital instruments when displaying 6 pack style sort of still are a little clunky..getting better but still not like a analogue gauge. I have a MGL Xtreme and use the digital numbers but I do have a analogue ASI. I find I use the MGL on takeoff and flying around but on downwind I tend to look at the analogue....donno why..maybe I am a nutter

 

 

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Needle display for ASI and VSI.  Digital would be ok for altimeter.

 

Mike Borgelt makes the best varios in the world, and they have a needle gauge as well as a digital display. The needle is what you really use.

 

 

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I have large analog asi and alt. The rest digital (as in numbers and simulated gauges)

 

The analog needle gauges seems to register faster in the brain than the digital versions.

 

It is almost instant with analog but takes a second or two to register the digital.

 

As posted above, I'm generally on the analog in the circuit but use both when more relaxed and "out and about".

 

 

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No info here Mark, but he contributes to this forum. I'll email him so he notices this.

 

A glider vario is a much more difficult thing than a power-plane VSI.  Mike's varios are coupled to a gps and they show you where the center of the thermal is.

 

 

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That would have been cool in my gliding days...hahahha dont even think there was any GPS back then in the early 1980's..actually I am sure there wasnt. We did have varios that had tone..they were good

 

 

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That would have been cool in my gliding days...hahahha dont even think there was any GPS back then in the early 1980's..actually I am sure there wasnt. We did have varios that had tone..they were good

 

I think you're right Mark. I went on a large US fishing vessel berthed in Sydney Harbour around 1987 or 1988. In addition to an on board helicopter and a large fish processing factory on this vessel, they had a GPS. The captain told me it was "very new technology". The GPS unit was really large and looked heavy. It couldn't have been carried by a glider.

 

 

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Yes the first varios with audio meant that you could look out and avoid the dozen  other gliders in the same thermal and still climb. The GPS that is appended to my latest vario does 4 position fixes a sec, relates this to the rate of climb at that instant,  and displays an arrow which points to where the computer thinks the center of the thermal is. Its pretty good. 

 

I say "latest" but its about 15 years old and is superseded.   

 

 

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 I wouldn't support a digital altimeter at all (by itself) .  The 3 needle thing is a known danger and accident cause but with analogue you can see where you ARE and where you are trying to get TO. This has more meaning to awareness than a mass of digits., (constantly changing except when you are level) where you have to calculate. Ribbons are good for engine instruments as you interpret them more quickly especially in  a multi engined aircraft. There are well qualified experts who study this stuff. Obviously many designers of these panels don't refer to the knowledge out there and hard earned  lessons from the past..`. The panel should be the easiest interpreted possible so it works better when you are stressed. You don't need a lot of stuff . Just the right stuff properly displayed. Nev

 

 

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My 2c worth.

 

Glass. If you really want, a small 57mm steam gauge ASI in addition (or 80mm). In most military and airline aircraft nowadays the backup for glass is another small glass instrument. Either have two batteries in the aircraft or a backup for the backup glass instrument. Lightest and easiest setup. A small separate glass instrument for the engine.

 

As ever before deciding, settle on the mission. What are you trying to do? If you need attitude information or are uncomfortable without it you'll want attitude indicator. The old mechanical AH and DG, either electrically or mechanically driven are pretty horrible to contemplate nowadays. The new glass stuff in the small end of aviation is much better with lower maintenance and is lighter and cheaper.

 

I have a mixture in the BD-4 from the big mid life re-furbish 11 years ago. Dynon D10A my side with mixture old and new engine instruments and a Lowrance 2000C GPS, plus power for iPad mini. On co-pilot side the old gauges with one of our varios for VSI and a turn co-ordinator (electrical with spinning gyro). That will probably be replaced by one of the new glass attitude instruments eventually. Mount for co-pilot iPad mini + power. Digital RPM and MP above radio stack in center.

 

Variometers are pretty different from powered aircraft instruments. You need second by second awareness and you do not want to be head down for any great length of time because of the mid air collision risk. A circling glider is a magnet for other gliders. Hence development of audio.

 

The vario display with round pointer is still the best visual display with a white pointer on black background. Instantly visible out of the corner of your eye. Considerable effort has been put in to making it fast and smooth by careful filtering and shaping of the response and I frequently get comments that our varios seem to make more sense than most others. I've flown with the others too and agree.

 

Audio has had considerable development also. From a simple variable pitch above a settable threshold in the beginning we have now got beeps above zero (very stable zero with modern tech), solid tone below and the tone varies from clicks at 10 knots sink to a low tone near zero increasing as it chops above zero with the chop rate increasing. Increased audio sensitivity in the low range to 3 knots up and optional logarithmic visual scale, expanded in the low range. When climbing faster than the 20 second average rate of climb the on to off ratio goes from 70 on 30 off to 50:50. Green light on panel comes on also. Also on latest instruments the total thermal rate of climb in that thermal up to the present is calculated and displayed on a small digital display in the instrument face. During inter thermal cruise the audio has different sounds to tell you to fly faster or slower to remain at about the optimum inter thermal cruise speed along with blue and amber LEDs for visual display.

 

There is more to it. See www.borgeltinstruments.com  The website is still in progress after a major change earlier this year. We've been busy with a totally new sensor concept for variometers which fixes the major problem with all variometers up to now and the pilot will have complete real time knowledge of the 3D motion of the air both vertically and horizontally and any changes.

 

 

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I think it is a personal preference thing.

 

e.g, I have a 4” EFIS which I use in cruise and the information it provides is great and cheaper then fitting “steam driven” instruments to obtain the same information.

 

I also have conventional ASI, altimeter, and T&B & compass,  I find that I  always use the “conventional” instrumentation  for all take and landing situations.

 

In reduced visual conditions I confirm that the EFIS information agrees with the other instruments.

 

It may be a familiarity thing over but over 30 odd years I prefer the analogue gauges when the information is critical.  I accept it may well be a familiarity thing but I feel comfortable flying if the EFIS is US but not the other way round.  People who trained with digital information only would most likely disagree.

 

Yes flying VFR (as in RAA reqirements) attitude and power is the answer but other information is nice to have.

 

 

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The only person I know well who was brought up on digital was my kid, and he couldn't tell the time with an analogue clock (to our horror) once when he was about 9 years old.

 

These days, that same kid would prefer analogue vario, just like Mike Borgelt says. Mike has had feedback from much of the world  for many years on this issue.  

 

 

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As a refugee from GA I have embraced the simplicity (if you wish) of RAA. My basic/minimum required flight steam gauges (plus an electronic AH for fun), an I pad mini (with Oz Runways) and a Garmin hand held  GPS (but mounted) seem to get me to the same places as the glass cockpit crowd. I have redundancy (x4) of all nav instruments and my cheap Speco engine gauges have reliably taken care of monitoring the Roatax for 800+ hrs.

 

As Frank said (above) - "its a personal preference thing". There is no right or wrong, only what works reliably for you. 

 

Glass is light , relatively easy to install and has the ability to do "stuff" that airline/ military pilots of just a few years ago were dreaming about. A bit like my mobile phone, it has capacity that I dont want and will never use, so while I am in the low & slow stage of life the old style steam gauges just suits me.

 

I have no doubt that the benefits of glass will eventually make steam redundant.

 

 

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Digital numbers are good when the value is not changing rapidly. Fine for the 20 second averager in a glider variometer. Analog is better when it is i.e the variometer display.

 

Having said that I once got half an hour in the F/A 18 simulator at Williamtown. Got it off the ground and back on in one piece. The HUD was wonderful. Digital display of ASI and altimeter and no trouble reading either. MacAir did a great job on the filtering so that the numbers changing was smooth and easy to read. Absolutely the best thing was the velocity vector. That is where the aircraft is going and the so called watermark is where it is pointing. If they split you have an angle of attack. If the vector is disappearing off the bottom you will likely stall soon. Want to fly level - just put the vector on the horizon. To land put it on the spot on the runway you want to flare at (not done in F/A18, just fly it on to the ground like on a carrier). I'd be happy with a good HUD. The backup in the F/A18 was the 3 small analog gauges above the pilots' left knee.

 

There have been attempts at a HUD for GA but nothing so far seems to have become popular. You need an pseudo infinity focus for the HUD (6 to 10 meters or so), not just a display at panel distance.

 

 

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In supplement to my earlier posts (#33 & #38) I also support Mike Borgelts comments on the usefulness of audio alerts from glass panels. Getting an immediate audible alert that something is amiss ensures it isn’t ignored (while I’m inspecting my charts, or peering for landmarks, traffic etc.)  If my oil pressure drops out of range, I want to know ASAP, not just the next time I happen to scan the analogue dials.

 

Despite being an old grey haired guy, glass wins hands-down!

 

 

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In supplement to my earlier posts (#33 & #38) I also support Mike Borgelts comments on the usefulness of audio alerts from glass panels. Getting an immediate audible alert that something is amiss ensures it isn’t ignored (while I’m inspecting my charts, or peering for landmarks, traffic etc.)  If my oil pressure drops out of range, I want to know ASAP, not just the next time I happen to scan the analogue dials.

 

Despite being an old grey haired guy, glass wins hands-down!

 

Yep!  as long as technology provides the gimmick we humans will go for it - drove my sons car the other day - lane & cruise control, auto stopping & parking all good stuff if you dont give a rats arse about developing and maintaining your driving skill. I have no doubt the  computer controlled world will be safer ,it will also be dull dull dull.

 

I fly for fun and the deep pleasure I get from keeping my skills up to speed.  It took me a long time to adopt GPS & OsRunways , not because I was against them but because planning and navigation was part of the skill repertoire I took pride in.

 

From my perspective  - we are inherently a risk taking animal. We develop skills to mitigate (not remove) those risks. Every "safety" enhancement, automatic gizmo does something to minimise risk - one day risk will have been managed out of our lives.  I have no doubt that driver less cars (& aircraft) will one day take over and in the process we will have lost something/be diminished.

 

Back to the point - At the present time , once the basics have been met, it is a personnel choice (Thank the Lord)  budget willing, how far we go with our avionics package.

 

 

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I've got a real nice electric vario in my Cygnet.  I do miss the lovely beep beep beep of the audio it made in a glider. I can't hear it now over the noise produced by the iron thermal (or my 'too much engine noise hearing').

 

 

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