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GRT EIS for rear seat. Seeking opinion

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  • GRT EIS for rear seat. Seeking opinion

    My Patrol instrumentation plan is currently something like this: System is built around the basic GRT Sport EFIS. Chosen because it’s compact, bright, cheap, self-contained AHARS, and should be easy to install. It needs an engine information module. I also have a Garmin 796 Era GPS which will be mounted beside the EFIS panel. Txpndr/ADSB will be a Tailbeacon X, which can be controlled on the GRT EFIS. Comm will be a Garmin 220 which interfaces well with the 796. It includes an intercom. No comm panel required. Throttles (2) are mounted inside the left sidewall. Other engine controls will be at the bottom of the panel.

    Under consideration is whether to use the remote GRT EIS (easiest) to provide engine functions to the EFIS, or the old LCD display type. The advantage of the latter is that if mounted beside the front seat backrest, below the side window, it could provide full engine instrumentation to the back seater. Disadvantages are more wiring, build complexity, and cabin volume. I have an extra airspeed and altimeter as well, which could be added in the sub panel with the EIS display. But, I have a feeling that once the three pilots in the family are checked out in the plane, we will never need this stuff again. Philosophically, I feel no need whatsoever for any redundancy : attitude? Look outside. Airspeed? See attitude, and use the GPS speed from the 796. Engine control? Sound and throttle position will get me on the ground safely.

    I invite any comments regarding the choice before me. Thanks all.

  • #2
    VFR flight outside of airspace where ATC expects you to hold an altitude doesn't require instruments; just be careful of flap speeds. Assuming that someone is in the front seat, they can monitor oil pressure and the like. If flying solo from the back seat, you probably can't reach all needed controls in a Patrol, but if you can, you'll also be able to see the panel.

    If equipped with a constant speed prop, manifold pressure and RPM can be useful. ...but you likely have someone in the front seat sufficiently competent to manage the prop control.

    If you really need something for the back seat, if you equip the EFIS with a WiFi adapter, it will transmit PFD information to their app on a phone or tablet. I don't think it will do engine info?

    I LOVE gadgets. ...and I wouldn't worry about back seat instruments even if I were assisting someone with a transition to the plane from the back seat.

    I've done quite a number of flights introducing pilots to RV-4 flying (first time in any RV) where I was in the back seat. It is blind, no brakes, no instruments. Works fine.


    • #3
      Thanks for the input. To be clear, the plane will be flown solo from the front. There is a throttle and brakes in the back but no mixture, carb heat or prop control. One of the main drivers for the EFiS is actually to get the engine parameters displayed graphically. I want all parameters viewable. Once you install EIS, the flight instrumentation comes pretty much free, I’ve found. It is also easier to install one box than multiple gauges. I hadn’t considered an iPhone linked to the EFIS. I’ll look into that.


      • #4
        not sure if this fits your mission; one of the remote levil products works with the remote GRT EIS, to push 6 pack / engine info through wifi to ipads/iphones

        I recently shopped and purchased my GRT stuff from SnF


        • #5
          I talked to GRT and they said they would have OSH specials. However, he kind of implied that discounts are minimal on the lowest-featured systems. Makes sense since the add-on features are just electronically enabled upon the exchange of dollars.

          I will look into that iphone system. My son and I spent some time in the plane yesterday with avionic-shaped cardboard boxes and paper templates and kind of came away thinking we would not be inclined to go through the effort to locate a GRT EIS in view of the back seat. If a phone could be made to work, that would be a lot better, because it’s mostly to facilitate checking us all out.


          • #6
            Good luck! I'm not sure how many bearhawker's went with GRT, but I'll be working through the install I think in about July or maybe winter? I may prioritize the min (like antennas) worked out in order to get to covering and painting before winter


            • #7
              Pbruce, you ought to look at the app that GRT offers for Android phones. I'm not sure what all it does, but it might give you the things you would like in the back seat. Here is what their website says about it:
              "Install an optional Bluetooth dongle and connect with your Android phone or tablet using our GRT REMOTE App for Android. Control tuning of your connected radios, create & edit active flight plans and view the flight instruments all on your Android tablet or phone–perfect for the backseat co-pilot! The radio tuning portion of the app offers so much information, you may not want to tune them without it!​"


              • #8
                Definitely will do that. Thanks. Pretty sure I’m not going to install extra hardware for the back seat, but this might work perfectly well as long as we need it. The Garmin 796 can drive the radio so probably won’t need that feature. Thanks. I appreciate the guidance and opinions, everyone.


                • #9
                  I can't remember what plane it was (not a Bearhawk for sure), but at OSH a few years back, I saw one of the GRT Mini's mounted way up high and to the right - basically in a corner of the windscreen. I asked about that location, and was told it was so the back-seater could see it. Not sure my old eyes would like that arrangement very much, nor how ergonomic it would be for the front-seater, but it's an option for upi... May not be a "good" option for you, but "an option." Good luck!
                  Jim Parker
                  Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
                  RANS S-6ES (E-LSA) with Rotax 912ULS (100 HP)