When I first looked into getting the stick grip for my Cozy (somewhere during Chapter 17), I was considering the ones that has all the bells and whistles. I ended up buying a pair of Infinity stick grip that also comes with a hefty price tag. I did not consider matching up my stick grip requirement with my intended mission. My Infinity stick grip ended up sitting on my shelf for a several years until I actually have to plan out the wiring of the plane. Whether you wanted to turn certain function on (e.g. lowering or raising the landing brake) by a switch on the stick grip or on the IP panel - a matter of personal choice. Since I have all these functional switches on the Infinity stick grip, I feel obligated to use all these switches - although I do not have any regrets...so far.
Start Button on the Stick Grip
One of the switch assignments that generated more 'discussion' among the Cozy builders/flyers is having the start button on the stick grip instead of the Instrument Panel. The key concern is that one may push the start button while in flight (ie. the engine is running at high RPM), that will certainly ruin your day or worse, cause an un-planned landing. The opposing rationale is that if you need to re-start your engine in flight (or worse, during final approach), you can certainly do so without taking one of your hands off the stick or throttle control. In my case, I have the Vertical Power System, which will disable the Start button once the engine reaches 600 RPM. Thus minimizes the potential mishap. In addition, I disable the Start button from the co-pilot control stick at this time. Just do not see the need for the co-pilot (or passenger) to have access to the Start button - especially in flight.
Functions on the Grip
As you can see, there are many controls built into the Infinity Stick Grip and one can assign any function to any of the buttons. You can also change the button inside the stick to fit your needs. I assigned the controls as follows:
- Top left RED button (Engine Start). This is the most awkward button location on the stick. Therefore, it will be less likely for an accidental button press;
- Coolie Hat (roll trim left & right; elevator trim up & down);
- Top right toggle switch (landing brake up & down);
- Middle red button (push to talk);
- Middle black button (auto-pilot engage & dis-engage). This is different from auto-pilot on & off. The auto-pilot on/off is controlled by a toggle switch at the IP;
- Bottom blue button (reserved/not used).
The button and switch assignments are the same for both pilot and co-pilot sticks. As mentioned above, the start button is disabled on the co-pilot stick. In order to prevent any conflict between the pilot and co-pilot, the ground wires for the coolie hat and the landing brake are wired to a toggle switch on the IP. Therefore, these control can be operated by one control stick at any one time. However, they can be passed between the pilot and the co-pilot.
Integrating Pilot and Co-pilot Stick Grip Controls
Since both pilot and co-pilot stick grips has the same switches and push buttons that controls the same function (such as the push-to-talk, auto-pilot disengage etc.), it would be more efficient to join the common wires before connecting them to the functioning device. I decided to use a simple connector strip (left) for the integration. As an example, I joined the push-to-talk wire from both pilot and co-pilot stick grip at the left screw hole ( using ring connectors) and the adjacent (right screw) is then wired the PMA8000 push-to-talk pins.
Sorry for the bread ties. I agree, they do look terrible - but they are a major convenience at this juncture. They will be replaced with lace once they are tested out.
Marking on the Stick Grip
I was told that all switches, buttons etc. must be indentified clearly. I also learned from builders before me that it is really difficult to print directly onto the stick surface due to it curved surfaces and limited real estate. I found a drawing from the Van's Aircraft sight and decided to use it to fulfill my requirement. Since my IP markings are not engraved on, they are, however, a printed laminate. Therefore, I can print any color or shades on it. My stick image together with function assignment shall be printed on the IP right in front of the stick grip.