Avionics Report

November 2008 Issue

Used Avionics Update: Bendix/King Wins

Smart buys are out there. Look for some kind of protection on your investment from a return policy, warranty or FAA form 8130-3.

There are two good reasons to look at used avionics. One is that a trusty component of your panel has finally spun its last electron. The other is that you’ve been wanting to step up—maybe this IFR GPS thing really is gonna stick around—but the cost of new has kept better technology out of reach. Either way, there are good options for the bargain hunter who doesn’t have to fly with the latest and greatest. The way to keep that smile on your face months after a used avionics purchase is to honestly tally the cost and risk for all your options. Factors that go into this decision are the cost of a refurbished unit vs. a used one, the reputation or warranty from the seller, viability of support for the aging box, and the cost of installation. The logic is basically the same with any piece of avionics, so we’ll start with the top of the stack: the audio panel. Problem radios are sometimes a problem audio panel. With new options in digital audio panels that support seven kinds of in-flight entertainment, more pedestrian models are available on the cheap. The market is flooded with used Bendix/King KMA 24s. Prices seem to vary wildly, but we’ve seen them from reputable sellers for under $300. (Note that the KMA 24 has no intercom.) Considering a new KMA 24 can be $1300 or more, that’s a substantial savings.

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