AEA Pilot's Guide 2018-2019 - 34

AVIONICS UPGRADE MISTAKES
Mistake No. 3:
Not allowing enough
time for the project
"To do justice to any
avionics upgrade, especially
one of any magnitude, you
must have a lot of time
on the front end for all the
necessary research and
planning," explained Don
Milum, vice president of sales
and business development
for Spirit Aeronautics. "You
have things like engineering
reviews, electrical load
distribution analysis, and
equipment lead times to
consider. And the more
complex the upgrade, the
Share a realistic time frame with the owner.
more you have to deal
with.
"Some extensive
aircraft owner has no idea what will work in their
upgrades like a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 to
aircraft, and even a less-experienced technician
Pro Line 21 can take a year to get completed. It
can spend a lot of time figuring it out."
takes that long to get all the quotes and make the
"My advice is for owners to talk to pilots who
decision on which shop to use. Then you must get
have similar aircraft and find out who they work
into the details of the installation for that particular
with," Brown said. "And it's not about the lowest
aircraft. Once everything is vetted, those types of
price. The cheapest price means nothing if the shop
well-planned projects go smoothly. When you rush,
cannot do the work to your satisfaction. Talking to
you make mistakes. It's too important of a project
other owners may tell you which shops to avoid.
for that way of thinking."
"We get aircraft in here all the time that have
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

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 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,

- 34 -

Photo courtesy of Stevens Aviation

Continued from page 33



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