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I currently fly with a full compliment of steam gauges and I am quite comfortable with the set up, each instrument works in relative isolation to the others so a failure of one has no effect on others, repairs and replacement is simple and not cost prohibitive. If I was to replace my aircraft they all seem to favour the new (Dynon) glass screen technology which places most if not all engine and most other instruments into an integrated digital form and on to the screen.  Who has had real world experience with the new technology and can compare it with the older gauges. Given that we fly in a hot environment have you had heat related problems. If a repair was needed was it successful, how long did the repair take and can these repairs be done at multiple locations in Australia. What is the expected life span of these types of screens and last but not least given the rate of technology advancement how long will they be supported. Please real world experience here don’t respond if you are only reporting second hand info

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I have steam gauges and a Dynon D6 because I did not install a electric or vacuum A/H or turn co-ordinator/balance ball & it has these as well as duplicating ASI, VSI, Alt, Compass and it includes rate of turn, as well as a volt meter. Personally I find I can get an instant understanding of my steam gauges in a glance but I have to look at the glass screen for longer. There is also the issue of full direct sunlight. Although it is sunlight readable it is nowhere near as good as the white numbers on black background of the steam instruments & then it takes even longer to interpret the display.

 

Many glass instruments now have an analogue look option with round dials and electronic pointers which probably makes it easier. Generally there are lots of ribbon style displays. 

 

Those who start with glass displays usually think they are the best. Many including me have a preference for the analogue 6 pack.

 

As far as repairs go I have no idea as my Dynon has never needed repairs, nor have any of my steam gauges though the needle fell of the carb temp gauge & had to be replaced & I have had to replace probes for the EGT but that would be no different if the gauge was glass.

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I trained in Cessnas and had some concerns about the much more complex looking Dynon Skyview when I built my RV12, so I installed a backup ALT and ASI and thought I’d probably go with the analogue display on the Dynon. However, I didn’t and very quickly got used to the ribbon displays and having the wealth of other information available that the Dynon shows, including synthetic vision, maps, wind information, TAS, etc. Never had any problems with readability or reliability. I don’t regret installing the analogue gauges but the Dynon gives you a lot more information. A needle is very quick to read but the ribbon displays are easy once you’re used to them.

Edited by rgmwa
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Thanks for your input, I hadn’t thought of readability and screen glare issues. I too trained on GA back in the 70s and find the gauges easier to read, information is available at a glance . On the odd occasion I have seen the screens I could not get used to reading each piece on information, and the amount of information was a little overwhelming, maybe I would get used to it ?

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I think most of us can adapt to the digital read out - the questions for me are:

 

  • Cost - high initial purchase cost followed by ultra high expectations (by vendor)at resale. As all the aircraft I look at are day FVR, the extra ability/capacity of a digital panel, is no more impressive than large shalalie.
  • Reliability - most systems are dependent on ship power (single source) some have at, extra cost, a back up battery (weight & complexity)
  • Redundancy (built in)- seem to have alarmingly short "life span" ie get superseded quickly - worries about service/repair/updates
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17 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

I think most of us can adapt to the digital read out - the questions for me are:

 

  • Cost - high initial purchase cost followed by ultra high expectations (by vendor)at resale. As all the aircraft I look at are day FVR, the extra ability/capacity of a digital panel, is no more impressive than large shalalie.
  • Reliability - most systems are dependent on ship power (single source) some have at, extra cost, a back up battery (weight & complexity)
  • Redundancy (built in)- seem to have alarmingly short "life span" ie get superseded quickly - worries about service/repair/updates

Each to his own, but for me:

  • Cost - yes, not cheap but you get what you pay for and you get a lot for the money. You can certainly get by with less for day VFR and local flying, but the extra capabilities come into their own for longer trips.  
  • Reliability - the Dynon has a backup battery. The complexity amounts to plugging it in and running an annual test. No big deal.
  • Redundancy - My system was delivered around 2013 with software version 3 as I recall. Version 16 has just been released and the system's capabilities get better with each update. At this stage the tweaks are pretty minor. 
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I have just moved from my old aircraft with steam, to a new bird that is all glass.  Garmin G3X system with 2 screens.


At first it was a little strange, but now that I have had time in the machine (about 15 hours) I hope I never have to go back.  The glass is way better, and I feel more connected to the machine (sounds weird, but true)

 

There is much more data - which is great.

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All good points. With extra data mean we spent more time in the cockpit rather than looking outside . ? I fear the lack of support in the future might be a real issue as things advance every year faster than the one before, making that flash screen obsolete and with no money in the update industry not supported, hope I am wrong but I have seen it happen before 

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For me, I spend less time looking inside.  The screen directly in front of me has everything at a glance, so doing a systematic scan is now simple, as all the data is grouped.

 

The extra stuff I need/want is available on extra pages if I want it.  I don't have to swap, but I can get access to everything like,

 

Fuel pressure

Fuel Burn

Endurance Calculations

Terrain

Traffic

Maps

Flight Plans

Charts

Airports info

and the list goes on

 

I still carry my ipads in the cockpit, and one is mounted, so I can have the likes of OzRunways open - But having everything available right in front of me is golden.

 

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4 hours ago, rgmwa said:

Each to his own, but for me:

  • Cost - yes, not cheap but you get what you pay for and you get a lot for the money. You can certainly get by with less for day VFR and local flying, but the extra capabilities come into their own for longer trips.  
  • Reliability - the Dynon has a backup battery. The complexity amounts to plugging it in and running an annual test. No big deal.
  • Redundancy - My system was delivered around 2013 with software version 3 as I recall. Version 16 has just been released and the system's capabilities get better with each update. At this stage the tweaks are pretty minor. 

Point 2 & 3 excellent.

 

Point 1  - Are you trying to convince yourself on this?  In my GA days I did long triangular rout trips with a fraction of your Dynon's capability and have survived to tell the tale. My longest RAA trip - The Oaks NSW to Rainbow Beach Qld - minimal panel, paper maps and OzRunways for back up no prob.

 

It seems to me that there is a very human tendency to gravitate (acquire) the latest and greatest, even when there is little real world advantage in doing so. If you fly day VFR you can actually do trips with little more navigation equipment than a watch, cumpass and paper map (with track line). Not saying that all the latest gizmos dont make navigation easier, they do but at some point (different for each individual) the cost benefit might be worth exploring. I see no merit in going back to the "good old days" but I must confess to being a bit skeptical about an RAA aircraft panel that, quite possibly, has more capability than an  intercontinental airliner of just 20-30 years ago. As you say each to his own.

Edited by skippydiesel
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The compulsion to have the latest greatest is real, I see my young nieces and nephews all up dating phones, cars electronic DEVICES in a never ending rush to achieve consumer nirvana and its always one device away.  I liken it to the micro wave oven it can do so many things but we only use it to defrost heat pies and steam veggies. In a previous life I sold new cars (country dealer) shall we say to mature buyers they were buying some pretty expensive and sophisticated cars only to use barely 20% of the capability of the electronics and the rest just confused them, I suspect these glass panels may be similar, (don’t use oz runways to its capacity) well to me anyway. If it’s the only option when buying an aircraft I suppose I’m stuck with it, and I will have to take my grandson with me to operate it

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Same aplies to the ' cell ' mobile phone.

I don,t even have '  messenger /memorybank ' installed.

Great camera though. 

spacesailor

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In my case the Dynon was standard equipment for the RV12 so it’s not a case of trying to convince myself that the cost was worthwhile. I use OzRunways on an iPad mini for navigation and flight planning so the Dynon’s map display is more of a backup anyway. As you say, you don’t need any of that since you can find your way around with a map, compass and watch. But I know which system I’d rather use when flying across the Outback. Arriving at a remote strip with no windsock and being able to see the wind speed and direction at a glance is great. Knowing TAS removes another uncertainty. Still, you don’t need those things for a local flight in familiar surroundings, or even for long distance flights for that matter, but I like having all those features and the other information the system provides. I’d also agree that I don’t use the system to its full capability, but that doesn’t matter. I can always learn more if I want to.  Nor do I spend more time with my head inside the cockpit. For me at least, a glass panel seems a good choice these days, even for VFR pilots with RAA type aircraft.

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9 minutes ago, rgmwa said:

In my case the Dynon was standard equipment for the RV12 so it’s not a case of trying to convince myself that the cost was worthwhile. I use OzRunways on an iPad mini for navigation and flight planning so the Dynon’s map display is more of a backup anyway. As you say, you don’t need any of that since you can find your way around with a map, compass and watch. But I know which system I’d rather use when flying across the Outback. Arriving at a remote strip with no windsock and being able to see the wind speed and direction at a glance is great. Knowing TAS removes another uncertainty. Still, you don’t need those things for a local flight in familiar surroundings, or even for long distance flights for that matter, but I like having all those features and the other information the system provides. I’d also agree that I don’t use the system to its full capability, but that doesn’t matter. I can always learn more if I want to.  Nor do I spend more time with my head inside the cockpit. For me at least, a glass panel seems a good choice these days, even for VFR pilots with RAA type aircraft.

Good argument but (isn't there always?) why do we have to have/pay for way more features than we are likely to need or use?

 

Cant we have a digital panel that just does a little more than what a good VFR steam panel can do?

 

If you want more why not  have a system that allows you to spec (build) up and pay for more?

 

Is there a basic digital, at a basic price ? or must I purchase something not to dissimilar to what the last generation of fighter jets have on board?

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Sure, there are more basic systems out there. It just depends what you’re looking for.
If you have an Android device there’s even free glass panel software available you can download and try out. I haven’t got the link handy but can get you the details if you like. 

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7 minutes ago, rgmwa said:

Sure, there are more basic systems out there. It just depends what you’re looking for.
If you have an Android device there’s even free glass panel software available you can download and try out. I haven’t got the link handy but can get you the details if you like. 

Maaaate - Your not dealing with the sharpest tool in the shed - I understand (apparently incorrectly) an android to be part machine part human - not sure how that relates to aircraft flight/nav instruments.

 

I have only just recently purchased a mobile phone (all previous either work supplied or hand me downs from the kids). I went out of my way to find something that does little more than be a phone. True it has other features, that I have either disabled or not enabled - just want a phone. I have other devices - this PC, stand alone GPS, iPad mini, etc - I  like having dedicated functions on separate machines (simple mind) - not all on an iPhone thingy that wont even fit into a normal pocket.

 

If I am ever to purchase a glass screen/panel,  it will be because its cheaper and lighter than a basic 6 pack of flight instruments - all engine related monitoring will remain as stand alone (or near) analog instruments

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You're right! Takes me back to my days of reading science fiction, but what I meant was any tablet or phone that is not made by Apple. in other words Samsung, Google, OnePlus, Moto - take your pick.

 

Don't know if this is breaking any website rules but here are the links. I have no connection to the developer or any interest in the software since I'm an Apple user, although I know the developer is based in WA, so it's a home-grown product. 

 

From the last email I received: 

Version 6.0 is a major release which brings a few new goodies:
* Implement OpenWeatherMap precipitation overlay on maps
* Improved ADS-B traffic display
* Generic aircraft instead of individual
* Performance enhancements


Homepage: http://ninelima.org/efis/download.html
FDroid: https://search.f-droid.org/?q=kwik&lang=en


 

Edited by rgmwa
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I have the basic kit-supplied steam gauges, which I am happy enough with.

However, were I building again, I would definitely consider one of the dedicated glass setups for the 912 engine instrumentation.

As I see it, the advantages are:

1. Ability to set alarm points, so the unit alerts you to over/under temps or pressures.

2. Ability to log and download temp and pressure values. So, for instance, at set intervals (every service?) I could download those values and compare them with previous readings to give an ongoing indication of engine health.

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1 hour ago, IBob said:

I have the basic kit-supplied steam gauges, which I am happy enough with.

However, were I building again, I would definitely consider one of the dedicated glass setups for the 912 engine instrumentation.

As I see it, the advantages are:

1. Ability to set alarm points, so the unit alerts you to over/under temps or pressures.

2. Ability to log and download temp and pressure values. So, for instance, at set intervals (every service?) I could download those values and compare them with previous readings to give an ongoing indication of engine health.

All good stuff IB but even an anally retentive nut job like myself must occasionally pose the question; is all this additional data/information actually leading to anything tangible, let alone longer engine life/or greater efficiency.

 

For years I have kept a (paper) log of engine operating parameters at a ? altitude and ? OAT - once in a blue moon, I compare the the readings. Occasionally find an anomaly, which to date has always turned out to be a "fading" gauge/sender.

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Fair comment, Skippy, and if you are manually logging readings, that would seem to take care of that part of the argument.

But I wonder how many do that (I can't say that I am actively logging values).

And then we have (and will always have) pilots with very varying degrees of knowledge regarding the operation of engines. A well set up alarm system and a check of values at service intervals could be a real benefit for those less focused on the mechanics than you are.

To be clear, I was referring only to engine monitoring and there are cost effective compact units  to do that for the 912.

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Oil sampling is one of your best indicators of engine health - it's been around for a long long time (at least 50 years, from memory), and it's widely used in many industries, including aviation.

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OK if you are running a fleet and want to extend the drain period.. "WE" change oil at relatively low hours.  Cut the filter open and check for metal. How the motor sounds and feels is important but people want numbers on a piece of paper. Older doctors could check your ticker with only a stethescope and experience. The good diagnostic stuff there is a leap forward no doubt but by then you are looking at treatment.. Nev

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As far as glass goes sure it's good and state of the art in jetliners. No ones going back to steam there. In lighter stuff there was a time where I jumped from plane to plane and what I found was some panels had a function not working  but still presented an erroneous indication. The other is GLARE which has been mentioned.. Indicators are only as good as the sensors used. Boeing when the B747 entered service massively reduced the number of warnings that might go off and cause a rejected take off which in itself has safety issues to LESS of only the more "important " ones. You don't want distraction if you can avoid it. Nev

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typo
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We had a CASA seminar last Wednesday at the clubhouse and one of the concerns is the current trend to have so much information available that it is either confusing pilots, causing them undue concern when one indicator is a tad less than perfect or leading to less time looking out the window. This was highlighted with the current installation of ADSB which can lead to a false sense of security resulting in less scanning with Mark 1 eyeball. In the 70s there was just basic instrumentation in C172s with one CHT and one oil temp & 1 oil pressure gauge which just had a green zone for OK about half of the range of the gauge. The engines were no less reliable than they are now. Now we seem to have to monitor everything and on every cylinder & worry if there are small variances. Sometime I think it is better to just keep it simple.

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People think why not have the lot if the cost is not much more. Fit for purpose is the go. It's not a contest to resemble an Airbus cockpit. You would be surprised to see the minimum instruments they can be flown with in an emergency.. Any Gyro steam gauges are expensive to repair . Some are not worth  repairing. A rate turn indicator is almost a must as part of your minimum panel. Hard to use but effective if you are proficient. Nev

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