The most time consuming part of any installation are the custom panels. You'll notice in the pictures below that that each panel is hand-made, not manufactured via a CNC machine. The reason is simple, each aircraft is different (even if it's the same year and type) and a generic panel would look just that, generic. Our panels don't just fit, they are matched to the aircraft. Sure, there are manufactures who will sell pre-cut panels and they look OK but chances are you'll not be happy with the finish and fit of those pre-cut panels. Machine shops are not interested in cutting a one-off panel, thus we must complete the job by cutting them by hand. Yes, it's time consuming and expensive but the end results are worth it.
We often find the aircraft instrument panel area isn't square thus we must design and fabricate a custom panel using a design that doesn't have a square corner anywhere; this can be a real chore trying to get the instruments level in the panel. Notice the panel on this page, it all starts with a Magic Marker and goes from there. Before the first piece of metal is cut, many hours go into the design and layout. There's a lot of emailing between the aircraft owner and Kevin before we start cutting. In fact, we want start on the panels until the layout is cast in stone. Our goal is to give you the panel look and color you desire. It's yours, you can have it your way; you're the one who has to see it every time you fly the machine. Most of the panels we install now days; the owner uses a gray or almond color but we have coated the panels with pink and gold...
The question is; what happens if we make mistake half way through the
fabrication process? Well, if it just a small hole, we can weld it and have the
planed to true it back up. It we make a huge hole in the wrong place, then it's
time to scrap it and start over. Planning ahead is paramount. One of the shots
below show Tom Knoll, our resident panel master. The reason for the sour look;
he lost his estrogen bottle.