Fold-away Instrument Panel
By Bill Kerr - Scotland
Those who fly and take pictures in flight have probably gone through the same awkward situations while handling the throttle, brakes and the camera.
In order to make my flight more comfortable and safe, I envisioned many different ways.
First, I tried a waist bag, but soon I realized that there had to be another way that would make life easier.
The design I came up with is fairly simple, easy to build and all the parts are widely available.
1. Hinge - I used a piece of stainless steel piano hinge 1.5mm thick and
100mm long with rounded corners. In my case, I fitted it to the plastic
2. Aluminum tube 500mm x 20mm diameter X 1.5mm wall thickness. I bent it to a wide
radius at about a right angle. One end was flattened and two holes were drilled for fastening the piano hinge.
3. The instrument pod is a piece of approximately 160 x 200 x 1.5mm aluminum sheet. I punched a number of 25mm round holes to reduce the weight and make it easier to attach things.
I also made 6mm returns at the edges and welded the corners for increased strength.
4. The pod is attached to the end of the bent tube by a couple of m5x10 button head screws. Velcro tabs are fitted to hold the pod out of the way when landing in case of a face plant.
I found it better to pull the arm forward to the flying position for a forward launch to prevent the lines catching on the pod.
5. For the new throttle/cruise control I used a Shimano mountain bike front gear change lever. This is fitted on an upstanding spigot on the bent arm. The spigot is shaped at the bottom to match the tube and prevent it from turning
The screw for the spigot and the 2 screws for the pod all go through the tube and into a piece of 3mm aluminum drilled, tapped and bent slightly to fit the tube.
6. I used bike gear cable to connect the new throttle handle to the carb butterfly linkage ALONG WITH THE EXISTING CABLE.
This means that I can still use the original throttle for take-off.
The cable which is not being used at any time, simply slides out a little from the socket.
7. Wiring is routed and tied as appropriate.
10. The ability to set the throttle when it is set on the 'friction' rather than the 'click' setting is wonderful!
I also made a simple and extendable foot rest using elastic cord inserted through the middle of a hollow-type rope as seen below: