Avionics Report

May 2008 Issue

Best Avionics Upgrades: Integration Is Key

Frugal spending for avionics upgrades is ancient history. Here are our top picks for single-system upgrades that score big on value for the investment.

A casual stroll through a modern avionics shop can be as dangerous as a Harley-Davidson fanatic visiting the accessory department at the dealership. Itís easy to grin like a kid and convince yourself that you need one of each. To keep the lust factor in check, youíll need to prioritize and decide which new gear will offer the most utility given the investment. Weíve assembled our list of the top five upgrades worthy for consideration based on value and capabilities. These arenít in any order of preference. While each wonít come without an impressive invoice, we donít think any are over the edge for most light aircraft. Just beware of add-on accessories that can add to the bottom line faster than you can say "Iíll take it." In our view, the most important system in the cockpit, and the starting point for all avionics upgrades is the audio control system. Itís no surprise that a lacking audio system can affect the safety of flight. A friend who owns an old Seneca recently had a total audio system failure while in solid IMC. His old, portable comm transceiver was a great help on the approach that would be near minimums ó until the batteries quit at the outer marker.

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