We’re proud to have provided Chris Palmer of Angle of Attack with the perfect upgrade solution for the well known and recognized N2423U.

The 1963 Cessna 172D certainly provided us with a variety of challenges. Like most early Cessna models, the early 172s have panel limitations unlike newer models. For starters the dual yokes are connected by a “T column” that moves forward and backward behind the instrument panel. Newer Cessna models switched to a U shaped yoke column that allow for a full height radio stack. This removed the depth limitations present in the earlier models like this one.

This challenge prevented us from throwing just anything we wanted at it. Large avionics like a full size Garmin G3X Touch display or a GTN 750 Xi would simply not fit. We figured out the best avionics solution to fit within the limitations we were presented with, and what you see above is where we ended up.

Some may not fully realize the scale and scope of this project at first glance, but we replaced virtually everything when it came to the new instrument panel, and then some. Take a look at the complete list below, and use the links to jump to each section to learn more about each product. Want to better understand the amount of manpower and labor required to do such an upgrade? Be sure to watch all of Chris Palmer’s videos the chronicle the project from concept to completion.

Do you want to talk about an estimate for your aircraft? Click here and fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Retrofit Equipment List:

Custom Instrument Panel

Chris worked closely with Avionics Sales & Install Manager, Jessica Voruda to layout and design the perfect instrument panel to bring N2423U into the future. While nearly all design work is done in-house by Jessica, large scale fabrication efforts are often done by a 3rd party. Our panel fabrication vendor of choice is Ft Lauderdale Florida based Nimbus Aviation. Luis and his team at Nimbus have consistently provided us with top-notch finishing quality that rivals factory new aircraft rolling off the line.

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Garmin GI 275 EFIS Combo

Early on in the project, the focus switched from the original concept of utilizing Garmin G5s to the newer and much more capable GI 275 EFIS displays. To replace the original vacuum driven attitude indicator and direction gyro, the GI 275 ADAHRS units were the best choice. Unlike the G5s the 275s are designed to be rear mounted in an existing 3.125 inch instrument hole, with very little modification necessary to make them fit into an existing instrument panel. ADAHRS stands for Air Data Attitude & Heading Reference System. The TSO’d solid-state sensors in each GI 275 provide the capability and redundancy to allow an owner to completely remove the original analog six pack and be IFR compliant with two digital EFIS displays that contain independent sensors in each unit that back up the other in event of power failure. GI 275s offer responsive sunlit readable high-brightness touch-screen displays, with optional “SVT” Synthetic Vision Technology that rivals large flight displays.

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Garmin GI 275 EIS SOLUTION

From the beginning we knew we were going to include the GI 275 engine monitor solution. This is made up of a GI 275 Base model display interfaced with a GEA 24 engine module wired to a variety of sensors for EGT, CHT, oil temp, oil pressure, RPM, and more. The 275 EIS is designed as a primary replacement engine monitor. High-reliability STC’d primary replacement engine monitors are meant to replace all analog instrumentation that they can replicate. The 275 EIS feature set rivals or extends beyond the features of other top competitors. Garmin is now on their second design iteration of the engine monitor screen layout, and they’ve already greatly expanded the features from those available originally at the product launch. In Chris’ aircraft we added sensors for 6 cylinder EGT, CHT, Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, Tach/RPM, Fuel Flow, Voltage/Ammeter, and Carb Temp, and high-accuracy Digital Fuel Quantity with replacement CiES Digital Fuel floats.

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CiES Magneto Resistive Fuel Senders

As CiES describes it, “MEASURING FUEL IN A WAY THAT IS – Simple, Accurate & Reliable.” Unlike original resistive type fuel floats that work like a variable resistor as the float moves up and down, CiES Digital fuel floats are a patented design that utilizes a magnet at the pivot point of the free-swinging float arm. This magnetic interaction can be thought of like a compass and its needle pointing to magnetic north. Fuel levels can be measured accurately to less than 0.03 of an inch. This measurement represents much less than 10ths of a gallon of AVGAS or Jet A. We drain the tanks completely and calibrate in set intervals from empty to full. The days of only being accurate when empty are over!

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Garmin GNX 375 WAAS IFR GPS w/ ADS-B Transponder

Part of the “2 inch navigator series” made up of the GPS 175, GNC 355, and GNX 375, Garmin’s GNX 375 is quite possibly one of the most feature packed all-in-one solutions Garmin has to offer. At a relatively low cost, aircraft owners can install a GNX 375 in an older VFR airframe. And when paired with a CDI indicator, EFIS display, or PFD, and an autopilot system, an owner can easily upgrade a VFR airframe with some heavy hitting IFR technology at the ready. Like its big siblings the GTN navigators, the GNX 375 offers a high-precision WAAS based GPS receiver with cross county VFR and IFR flight planning capability along with GPS-based Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) approaches that can take you down to minimums in the soup, while hand flying or coupled to an autopilot.

This GPS technology is paired with an ADS-B IN/OUT 1090ES transponder that not only makes you ADS-B compliant, but the FIS-B Weather and ADS-B Traffic data it receives can be displayed on the GNX screen, GI 275s, and compatible electronic flight bag (EFB) apps like Garmin Pilot or ForeFlight over the Garmin Connext bluetooth interface. The built-in CONNEXT interface offers tablets and cellphones running compatible software to not only get FIS-B WX, ADS-B traffic, backup AHRS to provide GPS position and synthetic vision, but also the ability to natively sync and manage flight plan data bi-directionally enroute without needing to do much on the smaller 2″ GNX screen itself.

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Garmin GNC 255 VHF NAV/COM Receiver

While it may not look as beautiful as its newer touch screen siblings, the GNC 255A is the modern VHF NAV/COM transceiver solution for replacing aging Bendix King KX 155/165(A), Apollo or Garmin SL30s, and similar nav/com units from the past. Its low profile height makes it easy to install in existing radio stacks with limited space. Each Garmin COM comes with a 10W transmitter standard, and standby monitoring functionality allowing you to listen to two separate radio frequencies at once. With a built-in glideslope receiver, this is the least expensive offering from Garmin to fly ILS precision approaches short of purchasing a GTN 650 Xi or 750 Xi Navigator. This is the essential pairing along side a standalone WAAS GPS receiver. When interfaced to a GPS or compatible flight display, the GNC 255 will use GPS position along with an internal radio frequency database to provide station IDs for frequencies in the active and standby positions. Example: KOSH TWR, KOSH ATIS.

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PS Engineering PAR 200B

PS Engineering is a leader in crystal clear audio panel technology. Their full-featured PAR 200B audio panel bundle was the most logical choice for use with this project given the space restrictions. The PAR 200B combines a world-class audio panel solution with a remote control display for a remotely mounted 6 watt Trig TY91L COM transceiver. This COM is then utilized as COM 2 leaving the COM 1 position for the higher power GNC 255A nav/com. The PAR 200B includes built-in Bluetooth technology for wirelessly streaming music or audio from connected mobile devices as well as the ability to receive phone calls in flight. Check out PS Engineering’s website for more details on the PAR 200B and their other audio panel solutions.

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Garmin GI-260 Angle of Attack Probe & Indicator

While not the most inexpensive AOA solution available on the certified market, the Garmin GI-260 Angle of Attack system is a great option for enhancing the safety alerting capabilities of your certified aircraft. The GI 206 AOA System is made up of the GI 206 panel mounted indicator, a remotely mounted GSU 25(c), and a GAP 26 pitot probe sold in 14 or 28v heated or unheated varieties. It Part 23 certified installations, it does require installing the GAP 26 as an additional pitot tube on the aircraft, and cannot replace the original probe. Is not allowed to interface with the existing pitot static system, and is a self-contained system. The GI-260 AOA system is compatible with the Garmin G3X in certified installations to display AOA annunciations right on the touch screen display. For all other installations, the panel mounted indicator is used along with an interface to the audio panel for aural alerting.

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Garmin GSB 15 Dual USB ports

Garmin’s GSB 15 product line provides high powered, 3A-per-port USB ports in 3 different models. The original dual USB-A, and the newer USB-A + USB-C, and Dual USB-C models. Both of which are dimmable, while the original model has the option of backlighting off, or enabled with a fixed dim glow. The size of the GSB 15s, and their machined aluminum construction make them one of the best TSO’d USB products in the certified market. The GSBs are powerful enough to charge a full sized tablet and a power-hungry smart phone, when other USB ports on the market struggle to charge a tablet in flight. The GSBs also provide a data interface when paired with Garmin’s GI 275 flight displays, providing a means for downloading log files, loading navigation databases, and dealer loaded firmware updates.

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Maxdim PWM Dimmer Controller

Ditch the old rheostats… The days of variable resistors are over with pulse width modulation technology. Pulse Width Modulation, or PWM for short, is a method of reducing the average power delivered by an electrical signal, by effectively chopping it up into discrete parts. The average value of voltage (and current) fed to the load (lights) is controlled by turning the switch between supply and load on and off at an extremely fast rate. The longer the switch is on compared to the off periods, the higher the total power supplied to the load. PWM technology eliminates the power absorbing previously required with traditional rheostats of the past, to efficiently control incandescent and LED lighting in modern installations. Having problems getting smooth transition in your lighting? Consider switching to an approved PWM dimming solution.

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WAT LED Post Lights & Map Lights

Whelen Aerospace Technologies (WAT for short) is a leader in exterior and interior LED aircraft lighting systems. For this project we focused on the interior lighting solutions available, and decided to ditch the legacy incandescent post-lights for modern lower power LED alternatives. The 1960s map light on the pilot side had seen many years, and it was time to upgrade to a new solution. WAT offers small machined aluminum LED map lights in a few colors, available in brushed aluminum, or anodized black housings. We chose the red LED map light with a black housing, and decided to add a second one to the co-pilot side we were at it.

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ACR Artex ELT 345 406 Mhz Emergency Locator Transmitter

121.50 MHz.. the well know emergency or guard frequency. Many pilots have spent a lifetime tuning in to this frequency for the possibility of hearing somebody transmitting in distress. This is/was the same frequency that the original ELTs transmitted on. In recent years we’ve heard more and more that 121.50 isn’t being monitored by emergency services any longer, and the industry has switched to satellite based 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitted systems. The new digital ELTs transmit a unique HEX id code to this emergency system so responders can tell exactly who the beacon locator is registered to. In the newest installations, these 406 MHz ELTs also have a data connection to the aircraft’s GPS and can transmit the last known latitude and longitude coordinates in the event of a crash, in efforts to help first responders find the downed aircraft as quickly as possible. It’s more important than ever to have a 406 MHz based ELT system registered and installed in your aircraft.

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PIVOT iPad Case & Articulating Ball Mount

We’ve done some installations with the in-panel mounted iPad and tablet solutions. While looking really neat, this isn’t always the best long-term option as well know how form factor, size and shape are not always a constant in the evolution of iPads and tablets on the market. PIVOT has an excellent solution to this problem by offering rugged iPAD cases and a variety of snap-in mounting systems for the aircraft market. In this project we went with the articulating ball mount solution. The base is permanently mounted to the instrument panel face with screws, and provides the PIVOT mounting system base for the iPad case to snap into. When you’re done with a flight, just press the button and slide the iPad right off to take it with you. Some cases even come with the slot for an apple pen. Years down the road you’ll simply upgrade your case and continue to use the same mounting system. Others with in-panel mounting solutions will have to cut themselves a new instrument panel to upgrade the mounting system.

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McFarlane Aviation Vernier-Assist Throttle, Mixture, and Environmental Controls

McFarlane Aviation is the go-to source for replacement PMA parts when it comes to engine controls, environmental controls, and lots of other aircraft hardware. Many OEM manufacturers use McFarlane to provide engine controls and other equipment in new factory-built aircraft.

N2423U had aged and worn out mixture and environmental controls. With the new panel, it was time to install new engine controls that would measure up to the new panel’s appearance and modern functionality. Vernier mixtures are a standard in today’s aircraft market. The ability to make small adjustments while twisting the control is a very popular solution over the old push-pull only mixture adjustments of the past. This same technology has been crafted into new alternate throttle controls from McFarlane that marry the original push-pull throttle with the micro adjustment vernier-assist technology that McFarlane has introduced. We went with vernier throttle, vernier mixture, and fresh environmental control cables and knobs to round out the instrument panel as some icing on the cake.

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Interested in a similar upgrade for your aircraft? Use the contact form below to start the discussion.

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