The Instrument Panel is complete and the Six Pack is a thing of pride!
The panel consists of two main components; the main panel and the Blind Flying Panel, also known as the “Six Pack” as it contains the six elements most important for flying in cloud and dark.
In the top left of this panel you will find the Airspeed Indicator. Variations in this, up or down, will likely be the result of the nose being pushed under the horizon or pulled back, in that order. So if your airspeed is increasing and you haven’t touched the throttle, you are most likely heading for the ground!
Next up, working clockwise, is the Artificial Horizon. This is the prime indicator of where your nose is pointing and works on a gyroscope.
Then comes the Vertical Speed Indicator or VSI. Another indicator of whether you are going up or down but considerably more sensitive than the Altimeter which comes last.
The Turn and Slip Indicator is particularly important in gauging the steepness of your turn and making sure you balance elevator, ailerons and rudders in the turn. This to prevent slipping into the the turn or out of it, all of it important to gauge and maintain accuracy of a turn and keep navigation precise.
We then get the Gyro Compass Repeater. In itself it does not provide direction. You have to set it using your bet guess of what the magnetic compass is showing. You then turn the knob to show the same heading and for the next ten minutes or so it will provide a much more stable readout than you could get from the wildly swinging compass. You better check it again though in another ten minutes or so as it gradually creeps out of true.
Finally we have the altimeter. Important to gauge against the known (or suspected!) height of the ground. You set it by turning the knob when you’re on the ground to match the indicated altitude with the known ground altitude. It works of barometric pressure so will vary according to weather conditions and temperature.
Our panel accommodates nine switches, four rotary encoders and four potentiometers, accurately reflecting all the functionality of the Spitfire Mk.IX Instrument Panel.
Remember the gauges themselves are relatively cheap 3D Prints, each with a decal and acrylic glass cover. The working gauges will be found in your Virtual Reality headset 🙂