AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 58

PRE-OWNED AVIONICS
Continued from page 57
your airplane now, it can be a great option; it's a plugand-play
swap, " Schloss said. " Other than that, you
never want to buy a pre-owned autopilot for a certified
airplane. There are just too many unknowns. First is
whether the STC applies to your airplane.
" Let's say you have an S-TEC 30 that originally
came out of a Cessna 172N. That autopilot's controller
comes with information - pitch and roll rates - for
that particular year and model. You can't just put that
in another 172; not unless you know it's exactly the
same. It's a nightmare. But we have unsuspecting
buyers wanting to do that all the time. "
Schloss shared a recent example of a customer who
got a " great deal " on an autopilot from a Cessna 172
and wanted to install it in his Cessna 210.
" Yes, there's an STC for that autopilot in a 210,
but the unit originally came out of a 172, " he said.
" The servos and computer are set up totally different
than what he needed for his 210. In addition, all of
the mounting and servo brackets are different for
the 210. By the time you go out and buy the correct
STC package and get all the servos retorqued and
computer reprogrammed, you are within a couple of
thousand dollars of installing a brand-new autopilot.
And the new one can do more.
" When you're talking about buying and installing a
$20,000-plus piece of equipment, it's just not worth it.
It's still a used system with a limited warranty and an
unpredictable lifespan. "
When 'hot' doesn't mean popular
While the typical buyer will purchase pre-owned
avionics from a reputable shop, there are times when
there's a deal online that is " too good to miss. " That
alone may be a good enough reason to pass on it.
In case the temptation is too great, there are some
guidelines to help keep your tail out of trouble.
First - and yes, it bears repeating - always insist on
seeing the 8130 tags on any product before buying it.
Reputable dealers understand the need to comply with
the Federal Aviation Administration requirements and
keep a close eye on the pedigrees of the products they
sell. If there's no tag, there's no sale - at least not to you.
" It could be stolen, " Fryar cautioned. " I've seen it too
often when an aircraft owner bought something online
without knowing exactly what they were getting. It's
just smarter and safer to buy from a reputable dealer,
even if that dealer is online. "
If there's something you genuinely want and nobody
else has it, ask for the unit's serial number and have
your favorite AEA-member avionics shop see if it's
stolen or was involved in a crash.
" We can check with the original manufacturer to
see if that serial number had been reported stolen,
been in a crash, or involved in another incident, " Fryar
continued. " All of the major manufacturers track these
types of things. If the OEM doesn't have a record, we
can check with the ACPI (Aviation Crime Prevention
Institute) database. "
Even if the serial number comes up clean, don't
rush to hand over your credit card information,
especially if you're buying from a private seller.
" I've come across people who purchase something
through a listing on Facebook or another such group,
and it's turned out very badly for them, " Schloss
explained. " They send in their payment, and suddenly
the seller stops responding to them. No equipment and
no way to get a refund.
" If you buy from a private seller online, you need
to purchase only through known entities who use
reputable third parties like PayPal. At least you
have some recourse if the product isn't what it was
advertised to be. Still, I recommend against buying
from anyone selling stuff on the internet. "
Hidden costs can be deal-killers
Yes, you can save money buying pre-owned, but in
many cases, there are hidden costs the typical buyer
isn't aware of until it's too late. And, of course, the
labor cost will be the same whether installed or preowned.
Speaking
of installations, keep in mind that preowned
avionics don't include mounting hardware or
wiring harnesses in most cases. Acquiring those can
up the final cost quite a bit, so you need to find out
early.
" Pre-owned can be an option, but again, it's critical
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AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024

AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - Intro
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - Cover1
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - Cover2
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 1
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 2
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 3
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 4
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - 5
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AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - Cover3
AEA Pilot's Guide 2023-2024 - Cover4
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