Avionics News March 2018 - 30

AVIONICS UPGRADE MISTAKES
Continued from page 29

explained Don Milum, director of
technical sales for StandardAero
Business Aviation. "You have things
like engineering reviews, electrical
load distribution analysis, and
equipment lead times to consider.
And the more complex the upgrade,
the more you have to deal with.
"Some extensive upgrades like
a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 to
Pro Line 21 can take a year to get
completed. It takes that long to get
all the quotes and make the decision
on which shop to use. Then you must
get into the details of the installation
for that particular aircraft. Once
everything is vetted, those types of
well-planned projects go smoothly.
When you rush, you make mistakes.
It's too important of a project for that
way of thinking."

Share a realistic time frame with the owner. Photo courtesy of Stevens Aviation.

Mistake No. 4:
Choosing the wrong avionics shop
Selecting the right shop for the upgrade is probably the
most-difficult decision aircraft owners will make. How do
you know which shop is right?
Start with shops that already have experience with your
aircraft type and avionics selection. Not every shop has
experience with every aircraft, and you don't want to be
the one the technicians go to school on. Somebody has to
pay for his or her education.
"Take the new Garmin TXi displays for example,"
Gualandri said. "There are more than 30 possible
combinations with those systems alone. The typical
aircraft owner has no idea what will work in their aircraft,
and even a less-experienced technician can spend a lot of
time figuring it out."
"My advice is for owners to talk to pilots who have
similar aircraft and find out who they work with," Brown
said. "And it's not about the lowest price. The cheapest
price means nothing if the shop cannot do the work to
your satisfaction. Talking to other owners may tell you
which shops to avoid.
"We get aircraft in here all the time that have come
from other shops. They can't fix the problem, so the
owner comes to us for our expertise with their aircraft
or avionics. It would have saved them a lot of time and
30

avionics news

*

march

2018

money if they would have researched it better in the
beginning."
"Ask to see their incoming aircraft checklist," Milum
said. "Look at it to see how complete and comprehensive
it is. If you don't think they're taking the time to check
much upfront, chances are you're going to get a nasty
surprise somewhere in the project. You want a shop that's
very thorough in everything it does."
"If you are doing an ADS-B installation, obtain an
ADS-B Performance Report from the FAA," Lee said.
"According to the FAA, as of July 2017, the error
rate of all general aviation ADS-B installations (not
counting experimental and LSAs) was 12 percent. As
a prospective customer, ask the shop what percentage
of their installations had to be corrected during the past
year. Quality shops with great processes, people and tools
produce higher-quality outcomes and have error rates of
zero or close to it.
"Another thing is to ask if the facility is an FAA
Part 145 repair shop. Overall, the biggest difference
to the customer will be FAA oversight. Part 145 shops
are required to have a more-rigorous set of procedural
standards, including a drug testing program in place for
anyone who touches the aircraft. The outcome of a project
is directly related to the people working on the aircraft.
It's something owners should be aware of."
Continued on page 32



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News March 2018

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