Posted by: Joey Burgess | Oct 31, 2011

Systems Design: What to Stuff in the Airplane

Let’s say you are hosting a dinner and you are trying to figure out what to serve. You would probably make a menu. A roast perhaps, maybe a salad, some tasty garlic bread too. From this menu, you would make a list of ingredients to pick up from the store. A pork tenderloin, garlic, herbs, lettuces, carrots, etc.

Figuring out airplane systems is no different. Our menu is the Design Requirements and Objectives (DR&Os), and it answers questions about airplane capability: Should we be able to fly the airplane in visual conditions only, or do we add instruments to be able to fly in clouds? How far should it be able to go? How much redundancy should it have? The answers are the DR&Os and they are our menu. You can check them out on the last post.

But we still need ingredients to make the items on the menu, or systems components to fulfill these requirements. That’s where the systems design comes in. The systems we purchase and design have to meet the requirements we decided upon.

We broke up the majority of our systems design tasks into 4 major airplane systems: avionics and instrumentation, cabin, electrical, and fuel systems. Click on the link below to check out our preliminary design. It includes a mostly accurate picture of what we will be getting, a high level of how things will be connected, and the trajectory we’re taking.


EDIT: After going through the detailed design phase we made a few changes to the systems and as such I have edited the presentation to reflect that. They are relatively minor but worth sharing 🙂 – Miguel

ONE BCnF Systems Team Preliminary Design Review


  1. Thank You for the blog guys. I have a similar project with same issues and trying to work towards completion. I would like to talk with you all sometime. I’ve just started to document at .
    Take Care and write me any time.
    Russ Gelfan

  2. […] can also look at the preliminary design post and see what some of the decisions that we made to fulfill the DR&Os were. In it you will see […]

  3. […] Yep, we ordered it, yep it got here! After going through the detailed design phase we actually went out and ordered most of our equipment. The first order was in late October […]

  4. I’d love to hear from any of the team members who want to review my project at Arlington Airport. There may be idea’s we can share. Thanks,
    Russ Gelfan .

  5. Did not see a landing gear indication system in your electrical design.. I would strongly recommend for safety that you include this. Also although money is always an issue.. I would also strongly suggest that you spend the additional money and go with a three axis autopilot. Know it seems optional but, a full autopilot is a huge plus on cross countries and in any type of IFR conditions. Your little ship will be moving fast and I genuinely think will enhance flight safety. Plus to install it later is usually significantly more work than installing it at the build stage. As I minimum I would install all the hardware, mountings, wiring and etc. prior to closing.. I would also suggest and external power plug.. again if the time comes you need it you will be very glad that it is there.

    Only other thing I would consider is a 2nd back up battery.. with a full EFIS I would set up as an isolate able system to power only the primary flight display. Since your engine systems and critical flight systems rely on EFIS again safety, safety safety..

    Good luck with it all..


    • Mark,
      Thank you for taking the time to go through the presentation! I have to say that the team agrees with pretty much all of your comments. Sorry if it did not show in the presentation (perhaps I have to go through it and make things clearer). Here is how we addressed some of your comments:

      1. Landing gear indication: we have the SAFEST landing gear indication system ever designed…fixed gear! 🙂

      2. Three-axis autopilot: I think what you meant here is that we have an autopilot that can control both pitch & roll. Thanks to the excellent affordability of the Dynon equipment ($1,400 to add a two-axis autopilot) we are going to put it in the airplane

      3. External power plug: good point! we have talked about it and will probably be putting one in. The question is if we want to go with a Cessna-style or a Piper-style or what.

      4. 2nd backup battery: each one of the Skyview screens will have its own independent backup battery. Each battery will be able to power the Dynon sensors with either screen. The standby attitude indicator will ALSO have an independent backup battery. All of these combined with a primary and standby alternator I think will make for a safe amount of redundancy we hope!

      Again, thanks for taking hte time to go through all of it!

  6. […] an engineering point of view, the most complex part of the project was creating the systems. What instruments go in the panel? What sensors and antennae go on the outside of the airplane? How […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: