After spending many years dedicated to his full time business as a Real Estate Photographer, as well as his passion as a renowned Aviation photographer, Lyle became a Private Pilot and aircraft owner in 2018. For 15 years, Lyle has honed his skills as an aviation photographer, landing himself on the cover of notable publications such as Warbird Digest, EAA Sport Aviation, and Air & Space Magazine. Through his passion and skill as a photographer, as well as his contacts in the industry, Lyle was able to bring to life a vision for helping aviation and aviation history to become more accessible to more people. Through the development of his mobile app ACI Cockpit 360°, Lyle has traveled to museums and airports across the country to photography cockpits of rare and unusual aircraft in 360°, making them easily and interactively visible to those who wouldn’t normally be able to view them.
His vision began to shift as he spent more time in the cockpit of his own aircraft, a 1971 Cessna 172. After obtaining his private pilot certificate, he embarked on his first upgrade of his airplane by adding a pair of Garmin G5’s. To further upgrade the look of his upgraded cockpit, Lyle pursued designing and building his first instrument panel, to allow his new instruments to be flush mounted and to give his airplane a more modern look. Through this, he began to realize that there was a real need for affordable instrument panels for Cessna owners on a budget like him.
Through spending so much time with the study of how cockpits are laid out, he developed a strong understanding of layouts that are not only visually appealing, but also functional. He has always been fascinated with the way that the instrument panel layout is the pilot’s way of interfacing with the aircraft. This led to a fascination with learning the nuances of Cessna instrument panel layouts, with meticulous research to discover the differences and similarities in all models, and how modern avionics could integrate with older aircraft models. He pursued different methods of fabrication to find the best combination for an efficient, but cost effective design.
As the demand for more modern avionics increases, and the availability and cost of installing “glass cockpits” in older aircraft decreases, Lyle began to pursue the idea of creating a new structure for Cessna 172 aircraft instrument panels. He had witnessed people cutting away structure to make new layouts and avionics fit, and he had also witnessed the trouble future owners of the aircraft can run into when they discover unapproved modifications.
This new structure would eliminate the problems of cutting apart existing structure to try to make larger displays fit, and provide a solution for owners who did not want the deal with the cost and hassle of involving DER’s in their upgrade process. This pursuit has led him to obtaining the STC for the Legacy XL Stationary Panel for Cessna 172 E-M, with more models on the horizon.