Minimum panel redundancy for IFR

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by George Mohr, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    Hi all,

    Working on my IFR currently, and considering my airplane's equipment. I have a PA-28-161 with a pretty nice panel. Here's the inventory:

    430W w/ GI-106A
    KX-155 w/ KI-208 (no GS)
    GTX-345
    Stec 20
    (No alt static source)

    This setup has a lot of capability, but not much redundancy. For example, if I were to lose the 430, I'd be out all GPS, DME, and glideslope. Perhaps worse, a vacuum pump or AI failure means no attitude info (although the 345 does present AHRS on the iPad).

    So my question to you all is, what, if anything, would you consider important enough to warrant an upgrade? Or, is this setup more than enough as is? I was thinking of adding a single G5 maybe...

    Thanks!
    George
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  2. sardonux

    sardonux Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mr Smith
    I'd consider myself to be important enough to warrant more redundancy.

    Of course, that depends on what type of IFR you are flying. I know guys who fly IFR more for airspace and light clouds and I know guys who will fly in stuff that I think is far more suitable for experienced professional pilots. If I was more toward the latter on the spectrum (which I am working toward, commuting in a C182 between DC and NY), I'd invest in more. If I were keeping IFR capability for practice with a spotter and exercise on inadvertent situations primarily, I'd maybe spend less.
     
  3. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    Great point. My usage will be for occasional travel. I'm pretty sure I wont be anywhere near LIFR conditions for quite some time. I have no illusions about icing, tstorms, etc. Really I'm trying to expand my VFR weather window into mild IFR conditions.
     
  4. sardonux

    sardonux Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mr Smith
    For many guys I know here, they wouldn't invest in the redundancy that I have based on that level of flying. Just remember, people are always available to help you expand as your experiences grow! ;)
     
  5. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17,746
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    Flying partial panel is part of instrument training. Get through that before making upgrade decisions. Simple things like replacing or upgrading the vacuum pump may satisfy your concern with attitude indication. Or it may not. Everyone has their own level of acceptable risk.
     
    James331, GRG55 and murphey like this.
  6. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,993
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    TylerSC likes this.
  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    5,705
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    TylerSC likes this.
  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    14,866
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    Like Sardonux said, it depends a lot on what kind of flying you are doing.

    The answer may vary greatly whether your concern is simply getting safe on deck if you lose the 430 or vacuum system in flight vs if you are concerned about dispatch reliability in the even that you lose the 430 on a mutli-leg cross country and its IFR at the next stop.

    From a safety standpoint, I think you are fine with what you have now….as long as you know how to call up the AHRS and are comfortable using it. It can and will keep you blue side up IF you know how to set it up. Hunting for it in the app while in an actual emergency is not the way to do it. You may lose DME, but in an emergency, you can get yourself down to earth using distance on your iPad or probable GPS.

    Now, if your concern is being able to launch again on the next leg after losing the 430, you might want to add some stuff to the panel. Personally, I like having a second GS on the Nav 2, but it isn't totally necessary unless you are in areas that frequently get socked in with LIFR. Unless you really want to spend money, I wouldn't worry about a second certified GPS or DME.

    If you are considering upgrading the panel and want the most flexibility without breaking the bank, I'd suggest swapping the GI-106A for a Garmin G5 HSI. You could also replace the AI with another G5a and then you could remove the whole vacuum system.

    Also, you DO have an alternate static source: you can break the glass on the VSI in an emergency.
     
  9. jimhorner

    jimhorner Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    438
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
  10. TheGolfPilot

    TheGolfPilot Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Golfpilot
    the cheapest/ capable addition you can make is plugging a GDL39 3D and placing it on the on the dash. Get a split usb cigarette lighter thing so you can still charge your tablet/phone. stick a ram mount up and put your ipad there. If there is a total avionics failure, you can fly on your ipad and have almost as good of odds getting to a runway as you would if you had a full on 40k avionics backup system.
    G5's are nice too, have two stacked in my Piper Archer. super long battery life ( so even in 20 years when the battery degrades to like 20% it'll still provide 30 minutes to get out of crap)
     
    Sundancer likes this.
  11. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    12,734
    Location:
    mass fla
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ron keating
    I would consider a Garmin 696,or 796,as a back up,I like my I pad with foreflight and the stratus.
     
  12. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,569
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    Good thing failures never happened when that was considered a well-equipped airplane! ;)

    Seriously, the biggest factor in redundancy is being proficient with what you've got. If your backup is needle, ball, and airspeed, make sure you get enough instruction and practice to be proficient in that. If your backup is portable electronic devices, same thing...enough instruction and practice to be proficient.
     
    GRG55 likes this.
  13. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    Great feedback, everybody. Thanks!
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    48,653
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    No electric turn coordinator?
     
  15. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    Yeah sorry, forgot to list that. Electric TC w/ ball. It is integrated into the Stec-20.
     
  16. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    17,793
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Everything you have seem more than enough for your mission, of course you can always toss as much money at an aircraft to make yourself FEEL better, however the largest failure point is going to be her pilot, and that's by a large margin.

    Only thing I might add is altitude hold and GPSS for the autopilot.
     
  17. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    I really want a two-axis A/P. Very much sitting on the fence until these new lower-cost ones become mature. Also, there's always the idea of upgrading the airplane to something like an M20J, so I have to walk the line between sensible and extravagant.

    Tks!
     
  18. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    David
    The first, and maybe only, thing I would add, considering your likely missions, would be a low-vacuum annunciator located next to the AI. Cheap, I don't know why all planes with vac systems don't have this. That and up-to-date partial panel skills and you're good to go.
     
  19. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    Happily on my PA-28, the annunciators are very close to the primary instruments.

    Capture.PNG
     
  20. Vaflier

    Vaflier Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Messages:
    345
    Location:
    Wachapreague Va.
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Vaflier
    There is a backup vacumn system that installs into one of yoir intake runners and will supply enough vacumn to run the instruments if the primary fails. Easy install and relatively cheap and it works. Vacumn drops pull the knob and you are golden. Good enough to get on the ground safely.
     
  21. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,566
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Provided you have sufficient difference between your MP and ambient. Perhaps the best feature of this system is a large indicator light that warns you that your primary vacuum went away.

    http://www.thevacsource.com/svs.php
     
  22. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2015
    Messages:
    2,442
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sundog
    Single pilot IFR in a lower-end GA single is tough work; we do lack redundancy, and even good/clear warnings on some failures. I've lost a glide slope with no indication of the failure, for example. It's tougher if you're not a professional pilot, or a pilot who flies a lot in IMC; I'm pretty partial to our single axis STEC, since I can muck about for an extra few seconds and still have the shiny side up.

    Anyway, a backup set-up as was mentioned earlier, with your iPad is probably a solid, inexpensive way to get down. . .
     
  23. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    15,215
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    Does your plane have a VSI? If so, that in addition to the turn coordinator (which has already been mentioned), provide a means of controlling your attitude.
     
  24. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17,746
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    The altimeter responds quicker and provides the necessary pitch information. One method for unusual attitude recovery is interpreting altimeter, airspeed, and heading. VSI is not a required instrument.
     
  25. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    15,215
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    I didn't realize that the VSI is not required equipment, but you're right. The planes I learned IFR in all had it, so I just assumed that it was required.

    The guy I learned IFR from dealt with the VSI lag by teaching that the needle starts heading toward zero when the pitch is in level flight attitude. It seems to work for me. However, your point that the altimeter and airspeed can be used for pitch control confirms my point that a vacuum or AI failure does not eliminate pitch information.
     
  26. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    17,793
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Uhh, for real world IFR it is.

    Not sure I'd take any aircraft serious as a IMC plane if it didn't even have a VSI.