Jun 182010

We’re one month into the project now and the plane is completely torn up. But we’ve hit bottom and now everything is being put back together again. Estimated completion is somewhere around mid-July.

The Mooney Encore instrument panel comes in 4 sections, in order from left to right as you look at the panel: Primary Instruments, Radios, Accessories and Circuit Breakers. For this upgrade, the Primary Instruments and Accessories sections are being completely replaced. The Circuit Breakers section is being modified (I’ll have 19 fewer breakers than before) and the Radios section remains the same, except for swapping out the audio panel in place.

Here is a picture of the old Primary Instruments section that has been removed:

Here is a picture showing the new Primary Instruments section, which has already been installed:

Much cleaner! The Garmin G500 goes into the large rectangular cutout. To the left, from top to bottom, will be the backup indicators for airspeed, attitude, and localizer/glideslope. The backup altimeter is to the right. These backup instruments are required by the FAA in case the G500 takes the day off.

Notice the slugs that have been installed into the Circuit Breakers section… it used to be that every location had a breaker. Less is more in terms of aircraft reliability, so this is an excellent development.

This shot shows the G500 unit installed, along with the attitude indicator to the left. The airspeed indicator had to be sent out to Mooney to have a new face put on – turns out the airspeed arcs on the factory unit were wrong and for 10 years I’ve been flying with the low end of my white arc (stall speed) indicating 5 knots below where it should be. Good thing I don’t ever fly slow.

Notice that the row of engine instruments that used to appear across the top of the Primary Instruments section is gone… they are all moving to the JPI EDM 930, which is being installed in the Accessories section. Here’s the Accessories section of the panel, which isn’t installed yet:

On top is the controller for the TKS de-icing system. The EDM 930 is the large square LCD screen. It will depict all engine instruments graphically, and will also serve as a replacement fuel flow monitor for the Shadin unit I had removed.

This photo shows the G500 demo unit and my Accessories panel section on the test bench. These two units are replacing about 90% of the crap that used to clutter my panel. Awesome!

This image shows how the “brains” for the units above are installed in the tailcone of my ship:

And here’s a shot that illustrates just how torn up my aircraft is right now. A bit unnerving!

I expect the pace to pick up a bit from here on in so hopefully there will be many more updates to come.

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