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Thread: Flight Attitude Instruments

  1. #1
    musket's Avatar
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    Flight Attitude Instruments

    I'm trying to gather the pro's and con's of having flight attitude instruments, i.e., artificial horizon, directional gyro, and/or turn-and-bank (or turn coordinator) in the panel. As an adjunct to this, the question of electrical power versus vacuum power arises. Then, of course, if vacuum power were selected, would it best be provided by venturi(s) or by engine-driven vacuum pump. Please let me know what your experiences have been with this situation.

    As an aside, it would seem to me that the less electrical 'whatever' one has around the inst panel, the better for the mag compass, based on the discussion below about the best location for the compass.

  2. #2
    heavylift's Avatar
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    I kept adding instruments and stuff cause I figured, stuff I don't use on a regular basis, I might need later. After 15 years of flying I could prowdly say that, I"ve never gotten myself in IMC. One week after installing an artificial horizon I got suckered in. Darn thing(t/b plus horizon) saved my life. Even if you get all this stuff installed, there is no substitute for good flight planning..
    JC

  3. #3
    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    I pondered your same questions before I did the panel on my cub. What I decided is that the cub is only a VFR airplane . I elected to install an electric turn coordinator for that remote possibility of any temporary emergency IFR conditions.

  4. #4
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Leave the Cub panel as bare as possible. Save the weight and money for your 182 or Mooney.

    Light flies right.

    Dave Calkins.

  5. #5
    CubCouper's Avatar
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    I bought my SuperCub (my first "owned" airplane) at the same time that I was finishing up my instrument rating. I got all giddy at the thought of building one of those sophisticated-looking panels... even plotted out how to force fit dual nav/comm/ certified gps into a 9" panel. Luckily, I quit that nonsense after only buying a few thousand dollars worth of radios. The budget for the whole project would have approached $20k! I would have still been missing the *essential* cub mods: VG's, Borer prop, monster truck tires, external rifle turret.

    My plane does have an electric T&B indicator -- the battery hasn't been charging well recently, so I've pulled the circuit breaker on it too!

  6. #6
    murph's Avatar
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    There was a brief (5 minute) time that I would have given everything I owned for a turn and bank. After doing a graveyard spiral without any instruments and breaking out in a 50 ft. ceiling, no price is too high for this basic instrument. I thought I'd bought the farm that day. Devine intervention saved this stupid pilot. Sometimes it's worth a million dollars just to know which way is up.
    murph

  7. #7
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    Get a Garmin 196 GPS and hang a nut from the front spar carry thru tube!

    Just kidding about the nut, but really guys, it is really hard to keep any of the "flight critical" instruments working properly if you "use" a cub in the rough stuff!

    If you are always under it, and keep an eye always peeled for your place of emergency landing, seldom does the ground disapear! Instruments that are not maintained can be a false sense of security?

    Tim

  8. #8
    musket's Avatar
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    Thank you, Gentlemen, for the replies. Being a 'belt and suspenders' kind of guy, I think I need some 'backup' in case I do something stupid -- I hope I've worked most of that out of my system, but now and again, I've suffered relapses.

    From all the responses, it appears that either a turn & bank or a turn coordinator would be best. Has anyone an opinion of whether to go vacuum or electric?

    P.S. Supercub, thanks for the response, and that is a gorgeous panel!

  9. #9
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    Musket,

    Gorgeous panels make a Husky, or a CC-TC, but functional VFR guages and Light weight, make a gorgeous SC.

    No disrepect for those that have Huskies, TC's or Pepsi show planes, but they will not hold up to rough handling.

    Tim

  10. #10
    T.J.'s Avatar
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    delete

  11. #11

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    If you fly at night you should have some type of attitude instrament . Vertigo can strike at any time when visual references are obscured by weather or darkness. ( a brain can be a terrable thing ) It happened to me over Anchorage one night . The artificial horizon saved my butt.
    Dean

  12. #12
    arcticace's Avatar
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    A few things to think about Musket.

    Vacuum pumps are expensive and while quite light they still weigh in.

    Venturi's are cheap(er) and simple. Beware, they don't work well in icing conditions. I don't advocate flying light airplanes in ice but I can think back to a few times when an AI would have been nice partly because I couldn't see through the windscreen.

    Instruments are useless (or worse) without training. A false sense of security can get you into trouble.

    I'm with cubdrvr, electric turn and bank. My 2c.

  13. #13
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I like the electric T&B. I have a pile of venturies I can send you if you decide to go that route.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  14. #14
    Anne's Avatar
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    I've got a basic standard panel that looks good and serves me well. Airspeed indicator, altimeter, VSI, an electric T&B, and a NAV/COM/GPS, with a transponder. I had been taking instrument lessons in an Archer, but I had quit because I didn't like IMC. I'd rather turn around or land than fly in IMC, even with all the instruments. When I got the Supercub, I thought, this looks just like a "partial panel," when the the vacuum quits. Vacuum is heavy and needs a lot of attention, so for that reason I'd go with an electric T&B.

    Anne.

  15. #15
    musket's Avatar
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    I'd like to thank you all for the obviously well-thought out replies. I know there are more mistakes and bad experiences to be made/had than I can encounter in my lifetime, so when someone offers me the benefit of their experience and knowledge, I'll listen. Judging from your responses, the turn & bank (T&B) or turn coordinator (TC) is the preferred attitude instrument, followed by an artifical horizon (AH). Since I've been flying behind an old AN artificial horizon, I think I'll go with an electric T&B vice the TC because the TC looks too muck like the old AH -- WITHOUT the pitch info which I'm used to (let the wicket get a little sticky, and I tend to default to the lowest level of training and experience, not necessarily rise to the occasion -- thus I try to avoid system-induced errors). To compliment the electric T&B, I'm leaning toward a vacuum-run AH, powered by a venturi. I understand the icing dangers inherent to the venturi system, but I'm a 'good ol' Southren boy' who likes his ice in the tea or other beverage, NOT outside (my credo: "Better to be on the ground wishin' you were flying, than flying wishin' you were on the ground."). Once again, thanks to all.

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