I plan to equip my Sonex with basic VRF instruments. I haven't yet decided whether I really want to install lights and certify for Night VFR. I have been flying for years and have only a handful of night flights in my logbook. But, as with many other things, it seems like a shame to limit myself from night flying right from the start. Wingtip lights and cockpit lighting can be installed for around $700 or so, making the cost fairly reasonable. So, I will continue to think about this issue while I build.
So far, I plan to install the following in my panel:
Basic systems will include:
Dual Throttles: (I am now re-thinking this option in favor of a simpler panel.)
First off, let me say I am building a dual stick Sonex. There has been a lot of talk about where to place the throttle lever in the Sonex. The plans show it located on the far left side of the panel. This is a simple, straight forward setup that is proven. Nearly everyone agrees that it is not a problem for the passenger to reach across the pilot to the throttle, even though this seems a little weird at first. Some dual stick builders move the throttle to a center console where both occupants can reach it. This is the configuration that Cessna uses, and most of us are familiar with it. Personally though, I like to fly with my right hand and control the throttle with my left. When the throttle is in the center, the pilot must do "The Pattern Shuffle" at an already busy time (takeoff and landing) when adjusting the flaps and brakes (located on the left cockpit sidewall).
The Pattern Shuffle
Here is how the Pattern Shuffle goes: right hand is on throttle, left hand on stick under normal flying. To adjust flaps, shift right hand to stick, left hand to flaps (or reach across your body with the right hand to the flaps). This leaves no hand on the throttle. Done with the flaps? Shift hands back to throttle and stick. I am sure this can become second nature with a little practice, but my method eliminates this, and provide options to suit everyone's flying preferences.
Dual throttles means no "Pattern Shuffle", no passenger reaching across the pilot for the throttle, and maximum flexibility to the pilot.
The down side to this, however, is:
All things considered, I think the negatives are out-weighed by the positive aspects of the dual throttle system.
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Updated: 2 July 05