Rick Scholl's Nice Navion Ranger
During my twenty years of managing Avionics West, this is the first Navion custom panel we've ever completed. The game plan was Rick would have the custom panels manufactured locally, we would wire up the radios and he would assist in the installation work. Well, some problems arose. Rick decided before wiring up the radios the he wanted a coveted GNS 430 installed in the aircraft. Being the machine is 14Vdc, it took almost two months to get one from Garmin at that time (they are in stock now). The install consisted of a GNS 430, PS-Engineering PMA 7000, two GI-106A indicators and a SL 30 com/nav from IIMorrow and to show everyone Ricks location while flying was the Garmin GTX 327 digital transponder. Even though the equipment is by different manufactures, it all works great and interfaces well.
I think you will have to agree that even the cosmetics looks great. It's taken years but finally the manufactures are following some kind of protocol as far as looks are concerned. The panel was manufactured by Avion in Northern California. There were some problems during this installation. For some reason someone had located the marker antenna inside the cockpit, on the floor; we had to move it to the outside, bottom of the aircraft. Just in case you are wondering, the marker system did not work with the antenna laying on the floor. Why it was there, who knows. Also the custom panels Rick arrived with did not fit and required some pretty heavy modification. To make this modification more difficult, the panels were already power coated when Rick arrived with them. After some "engineering" the panels now fit the aircraft. Ricks old avionics were also used as the up limit stop for the yoke. In other words, when you pulled aft on the yoke, it hit the avionics prior to hitting the up limit stop on the stabilizer. All the avionics wiring was removed and Kevin wired the radio stack on the bench for Rick. While Rick does have some skills in installing the equipment in the aircraft, he doesn't know how to use the proper crimping tools to do the job correctly.
As you can see, the end results warrant all the hard work and frustrations Rick went through during his part of the installation. No, installing avionics is not easy. Being upside down for hours at a time and working in cramped areas is not everyone's cup of tea. This installation took around four months but two of those were waiting on equipment nor did Rick work on the machine every week. My guess is you would have to look far and wide for another Navion Ranger that looks this cool.