Before: Cessna 180H in the stock configuration.
After: Cessna 180H with Garmin G3X installed by Skyworld Avionics and new instrument panel overlays fabricated by Six Pack Aero.
Cessna 180 Instrument Panel Project
Zach from SkyWorld Aviation reached out to us initially for a new set of instrument panels for their customer’s Cessna 180. The customer requested a 10-inch and 7-inch Garmin G3X Touch with an all Garmin radio stack.
After reviewing the structural stationary panel, we determined that what they hoped to install wouldn’t fit in this aircraft without removing a considerable amount of material.
Structural Stationary Panel Modifications
Any cutting of the stationary panel is considered a major alteration due to the structural nature of the panel. The stationary panel is the structure that the shock panel which typically holds the instruments is mounted to. In many older Cessna models, the space above the control yoke and below the upper edge of the stationary panel is not big enough to install 10-inch primary flight displays.
Many of the avionics STC’s out there may list an aircraft as approved on their Approved Model List (AML), but the STC often covers more than one device. In the case of the G3X Touch, it covers both the 10-inch horizontal and the 7-inch vertical display. Often times a 7-inch display will fit just fine within the field of view, thus justifying that aircraft’s place on the STC.
Creating a Solution
In the case of this 180H, the folks at SkyWorld asked us to help them come up with a solution they could use to reinforce the strength of the structural stationary panel after removing the required material. We contacted a Designated Engineering Representative and came up with a plan to reinforce the material structural stationary panel in the area that had been cut, with a two piece instrument panel that would still allow for our equipment to powder coat and laser engrave the panels.
An aluminum doubler was installed onto the structural stationary panel, and then the equipment was installed into the instrument panel overlay. We also assisted with a matching lower circuit breaker panel, powder coated and laser engraved to the specifications.
It was a pleasure to work with SkyWorld and their customer to create an appropriate solution for installing the Garmin G3X touch system in this Cessna 180H. The final approval was done via field approval and the customer has been flying happily for over 20 hours. We look forward to offering STC approved solutions for these aircraft, but in the mean time, working with a DER to address the modifications needed and receiving a field approval is the only way to appropriately address installation of these avionics in older Cessnas.
For Avionics Installations near Midland, VA – www.skyworldaviationinc.com
Learn More about Six Pack Aero’s Instrument Panel Fabrication Services – Click Here