How to Make Cockpit Instrument Panels!

by JamesWhomsley | December 7, 2017 | (3 Ratings) Posted in How To

I've always been into making cockpits for my aeroplanes. I've also always been into making, specifically, FPV cockpits after seeing David Windestål's P-51 video back in the day in the mists of time when Flite Test was just getting going. Because of this, I thought I'd share how that I make my mini hand-drawn control panels to give my planes that little bit of extra detail. 


How to

Here's a quick write up of the process in case you don't like watching videos for some reason!

Step 1) Cut out your instrument panel shape. You might want to use a former template from the FT plans or kit to get the right shape and size. You don't want to do lots of work making it look great and then have it not fit into your plane!


Step 2) Mark out the gauges and dials that you want to include on your panel. You could use pictures of real cockpit controls to help you with this. 


Step 3) Add some colour to the panel. You can use whatever colour you want, but I used brown to simulate wood. Start by drawing around the gauges and then fill in any leftover white spaces. 


Step 4) choose some black pens and then fill in your gauges whilst being sure to leave a white rim around the outside. 


Step 5) If needed, add extra detail by drawing a wood grain pattern. If your panel is supposed to be metal, you could add dots to look like rivets. With that, you're done!


Some inspiration

Here's an instrument panel in an FT Mighty Mini Scout. https://store.flitetest.com/mighty-mini-scout-speed-build-kit/


And another FPV version in a Scout.


Here is a cockpit I built for an FPV plane a couple of years ago.




And another (which wasn't quite as good in my opinion). I think this one needed the camera to be closer to the instruments and to include a control column of some sort. 


I hope you enjoyed reading this article and are looking forward to more from the Project Air channel in the future. I'm just getting going, so I very much appreciate your continuing support! Next week, we will focus on making other details in the cockpit including a (non-working) ejector seat, throttle levers, control columns and pedals. 

As Stefan would say - Deuces! 

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