Avionics Report

April 2010 Issue

Autopilot Odyssey: Success Took Three Tries

A nightmare experience with an autopilot upgrade shows that competition in the market is virtually extinct. Consider that when buying a used airplane.

Given the slide in the value of used aircraft, there are some real deals on the market these days, But there are also some huge pitfalls and one of the most potentially expensive is underestimating the replacement cost of an autopilot system. Aviation Consumer avionics editor Larry Anglisano wrote about this in the March 2008 issue and I now wish Id read his advice earlier. In this article, Ill show an actual example of how an autopilot upgrade project can neutralize a good deal on a used airplane. My adventure began in early 2003 after the birth of our third child. We had outgrown our Bonanza and it was time to search for an airplane with more room and greater payload.

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