The Instrument Panel Gets Cut
As mentioned earlier Jeff insisted on a flat panel meaning that all instrument screws had to be countersunk. Most avionics shops that fabricate their own panels do not cut it for countersunk hardware. This is because tolerances in the machining must be held to within a .001 or else the screws will not thread in without binding. We had to send this out to our local CNC junkie for his precision touch. As usual, the panel came back flawless as he is a perfectionist. Even the cut-outs for the altimeter, VSI, and G-meter follow the contours of the instrument perfectly. The panel was cut to allow for .002 thick powder coating that will come next!
A close up of the
You cant do this by clamping an old faceplate of an
instrument into the hole you made with your fly cutter and use the existing
holes as drill guides. All countersunk
holes are perfectly straight and exactly the same depth again allowing .002 for
the powder coating. That is an important
item to remember in the planning phase of the panel design. There is nothing worse than unwrapping and
admiring a newly coated instrument panel you fabricated only to find out that
the instruments wont fit into the hole because of the coating.
A look in the Hell Hold
From Left to right is the Becker remote Nav Receiver/Converter/Glideslope Receiver, the Becker remote VHF Comm Transceiver, the Garmin GTX 32 remote transponder (coded by the Garmin GNS 480 up front), the Collins 328 Compass Slaving Amplifier (not in the rack in this photo), and the Collins PN 101 remote DG. All in all, a pretty full compartment. Note: The shaft shown in front of the Slaving amplifier mounting rack just to the left of the Gyro is a Screw jack actuator that opens and shuts the air exit door for the radiator in the belly scoop of the P51. Just thought you might want to know that. Of course all of you P51 hounds already knew that!
A New Face
Much better looking than what we
started with and exactly what Jeff wanted.
A balanced instrument panel without any radio racks intermixed. Note the Garmin GNS 480 mounted in the lower
Armament Panel, Yes, this P51 will be
GPS WAAS approach certified! Also note the airspeed indicator which goes up to
700 MPH! We know that this Mustang fast
but its not that fast. I think owning and flying one of these world
famous classic fighters, to the aviator,
is much the same as owning and driving a classic mid sixties Corvette, to
the motorist. And remember their
speedometers went to 160!