Avionics News July 2017 - 28
POINT OF COMMUNICATION
Continued from page 4
avionics upgrades will outstrip hull values in older
We have seen scenes from this movie before: Jet
fleet experience with RSVM and other recent avionics
upgrade requirements are so costly that hundreds
of older jet airframes are being junked out. Those
upgrades, as much as $250,000 for an old Citation 500,
might cost more than hull value.
By comparison, a $5,000 ADS-B install in a 1970s
Cessna 150 might cost at least one-third of hull value
- a cost representing two years of flying expenses
perhaps, and a daunting number for the infrequent flier.
Cost also is a killer for owners at the sunset of their
flying careers. These are 60- to 80-year-old owners
flying 40- to 60-year-old airframes worth less than
$40,000. There are lots of them. Many of these owners
will probably choose to park their airplanes, sell them at
a discount or part them out.
The pony in that pile is that it may be possible for
younger potential owners and flying clubs to cherry pick
some bargains starting in January 2020. We will see.
The cost of the most basic install for ADS-B Out
seems to be a minimum of $2,000 for boxes, wiring and
antennas - plus labor. A realistic price for Out is more
than $4,000, and $7,000 for In and Out. This assumes
you have an encoding transponder already.
The effect of ATC privatization on user fees and
limited access to airports or airspace is a nightmare
scenario I hope we won't see. But no matter what
happens, it's logical that the billions spent on ADS-B
will remain the key to full implementation for NextGen
Are GA owners and pilots willing to pay the price
to operate a fleet of aging 40-year-old piston airplanes
in this environment? Is it possible the mandate will be
rolled back a few months - or years? Not likely.
Let me be clear: I am fully in the camp that thinks
ADS-B is a good thing, and anyone who flies in
controlled airspace will benefit. I also have put my
money where my mouth runs. I have two airplanes,
and each has state-of-the-art, one-box Lynx 9000
systems installed and working exceptionally well for the
missions I fly.
I fly from Phoenix Deer Valley with 380,000
operations and 1,000 airplanes based - making it the
nation's busiest GA airport most days. With two major
flight schools teaching second-language Asian students
primarily, my Lynx display often shows 40 or 50
aircraft in the practice area 10 miles west and a dozen
airplanes entering or exiting the pattern for our two
east-west parallel runways all day.
You just can't see and avoid without onboard help
in this airspace. My flying club 172N IFR trainer has
a Lynx 9000, as well. Nothing designed to date gives
me this amount of added safety at this cost or with so
many other benefits for VFR-IFR flying. With my iPad
and the Avidyne IFD540 synthetic vision capability in
my P-210 and a third display on the Lynx itself, I can
confidently fly here on busy days, and safely arrive and
depart Oshkosh this summer.
I fly that 1,500-nautical-mile trip to Oshkosh every
year, which means I must avoid two or sometimes three
weather systems in late July. The Lynx, installed last
summer, is a useful tool for strategic in-flight weather
flying, helping me avoid thunderstorm systems and get
winds, METARS, TAFs and radar without gaps.
Yes, there is latency, but I never fly my P-210 closer
than 40 miles from an active thunderstorm. My ancient
but trusty StormScope is a huge help, too.
For avionics shops and manufacturers, it's surprising that
the ADS-B mandate has not yet become a vein of rich ore
for the entire industry. Some manufacturers are warehousing
huge inventories of completed units, and a few are not
coping well with the resulting drag on their books.
Market education will help. General aviation media
outlets can cooperate with the FAA and manufacturers
to explain why ADS-B benefits far outweigh the onetime costs. All of us must demo ADS-B to our pilot
friends who are on the fence. Saturday open houses at
avionics shops and multiple webinars available from
various manufacturers explain the how, why and how
much. Order a case of Cokes, put some burgers on the
barbecue and invite your customers to learn how ADS-B
will make local flying in traffic safer and cross-country
trips more efficient.
It's time for owners who fly any distance regularly -
in or near Class Bravo - to ante up and kick in. q