This is sort of the reverse of an question.

I am attempting to build a virtual model of a Gee Bee R1 (for fun). Unfortunately I haven't had much luck finding plans or images of the inside of an R1 cockpit. The best I could find is this image of a miniature model of a R2 instrument panel:

enter image description here

And this still from a video about a modern-day flying replica (also an R2):

enter image description here

Having desperately reached as far as the second page of google images without success, I've given up trying to find anything better. But if anyone knows some better sources, please let me know!

With very limited actual knowledge about any sort of aircraft, I have no idea which doohickeys do what. So my actual question is, can anyone identify what each of these things likely indicates or does?

  • $\begingroup$ if you make a zoom of the instruments showing the units we can provide you better support. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ @TrebiaProject. Unfortunately that's the best I could find. The original source has some closeups, but only of a few parts of the model :/ $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ Well... in the link you are showing you can see that there is a bigger picture showing that one is air speed and the other shows altitude as you guessed. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Are you seeking to identify all instruments on the panel, or only the ones that you have highlighted? You have correctly identified everything you have so far labeled. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters All of them, or as many as possible. Given the seeming nonavailability of good sources I'll have to accept what I can get :) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 1:22

1 Answer 1


For the panel image that you provided, I should be able to identify all major instruments:

Annotated Panel

A: Magnetic Compass - Pretty self explanatory. Note that in the real aircraft, A and K may have been switched.

B: Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) - Indicates vertical speed, either up or down, in feet per minute.

C: Engine Tachometer - Indicates engine revolutions per minute (RPM)

D: Sensitive Altimeter - Indicates feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL). Adjustable for atmospheric pressure via Kollsman knob.

E: Air Speed Indicator - Measures indicated air speed, most likely given in MPH for this vintage aircraft.

F: Artificial Horizon - Gyro instrument giving an indication of an artificial horizon; shows pitch and bank variations.

G: Amp and Volt Meter - Amps are indicated on the left, volts on the right.

H: Oil Pressure and Temperature Gauge - Oil pressure is indicated on the left, in PSI, and Temperature is indicated on the right, in °C.

I: Clock - Probably an "8-Day", spring driven, hand wound device.

J: Magneto Switch - Control for ignition systems. This control only shows three detents. There should probably be four detents: Off, L, R, and Both (L and R refer to Left and Right magnetos).

K: Directional Gyro with Inclinometer - The bottom part is the Inclinometer (ball), indicates coordination and skid or slip. The top part is the Directional Gyro. Note that in the real aircraft, K and A may have been switched.

The inscription reading "NR2100" is indeed the aircraft registration, typically used as part of the aircraft callsign.

The knob below A is likely used to set the gyro compass (K) that should be in that location.

The knob below F is likely to adjust the pitch indication on the artificial horizon (F).

The red knob between F and E is probably meant to be a knob to cage the artificial horizon (F) and should actually be placed in the location of the screw directly above and left of that red knob. See the Bee Gee Z panel I linked to below.

The knob between E and D is probably meant to be a larger knob that might be part of a pull control. I have no real idea of what it is, but my guesses would start with carb heat, primer, starter engagement pull knob. Could be many other possible functions.

Reference the photos in this album by Roger Ritter depicting a Bee Gee Model Z. I understand that it is not the same model that you are looking for, but the cockpit layout is very similar, and should be informative. His photos helped me confirm the identification of the gauges in the panel image you provided. Photo album linked only, due to image copyrights.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow, thanks! Unless/until a better source image is found this is good enough for me. Just curious, do you have a source for the swapping of A and K? And do you have any wild guesses at what some of the various knobs and switches might do? (this page has some closeups of what appears to be a different version of the same model; some of the knobs are in different places) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 1:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 See the additional information I added to my answer. My assessment of switching A and K is due to what the gauges appear to be, the placement in the Bee Gee Z panel I linked to, and the location of the adjustment knob found under A. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ My guess on that missing 4th detent for the Magneto Switch is that it is currently underneath the switch itself - Probably the "Off" setting. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman That's a good guess, and you might be right. However, the original Scintilla mag switch found in the BGZ was not so configured. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 22:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'll defer to your expertise. I'm no pilot, but I'm a programmer who's worked in aircraft simulation, so I've spent a lot of time staring at blurry photos of cockpit instruments trying to figure out stuff like this. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 22:10

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