HOW ABOUT SOME TRADE-IN BUCKS?
As long as manufacturers keep tossing new portable ADS-B traffic and weather receivers at the saturated market, why not sweeten the deal and at least offer some trade-in allowance for buyers left holding barely broken-in units? Even Apple takes old stuff in trade, and I suppose you could unload them on the used market like I do with pricey guitar pedals—a vigorous market where new stuff comes out every week. We otherwise found a good value in our long-term field report on ForeFlight’s Sentry Plus portable ADS-B receiver. Made by uAvionix, it’s a feature-rich unit with a good AHRS and a smart built-in CO detector, and the set has exclusive connectivity with the ForeFlight Mobile app. With solid performance, excellent sales support through Sporty’s and a palatable, although hardly inexpensive, $799 price tag, I suppose it’ll continue to be a decent seller, especially for loyal ForeFlight users. But how good can these gadgets get, and how many features do buyers really want in a battery-powered portable? For me, a bulletproof receiver and CO detector is more than enough. And keep the price south of $500, which is smartly what ForeFlight does with its middle-of-the-line Sentry. Cheaper yet is the de-featured Sentry Mini.
A couple of years ago when the ADS-B rush was over, Editor-at-Large Paul Bertorelli challenged me to a little wager that the market has seen the last of gee-whiz portable ADS-B gadgets. I disagreed and ended up smoking him on the bet because not long after, maybe at AirVenture the following month, Dynon and ForeFlight both released fresh receivers into a market where buyers were numb with choices. The Sentry Plus seems to sit at the top of the food chain, based on standard features. But what other features can entice buyers who by now have spent real money on ADS-B, including permanent-mount ADS-B Out gear for the mandate? I’m not sure, and even more unsure why manufacturers don’t offer trade-in value on these portable receivers. With supply chain troubles, maybe the recycled units can be of some value. Regardless, if I recently forked over $599 for a good-performing Sentry (still in the product line), it would be tough to drop another $799 on the now flagship Plus, as good as the unit is. But there are buyers who always need the latest stuff, although I suspect that crowd is dwindling.
This got me thinking about the early days of portable GPS and even earlier days of Loran-C receivers. The market was a feeding frenzy and companies like II Morrow, Magellan and Northstar (and yeah, Garmin, too) kept it hot by cranking out new units with better performance, while in many cases offering generous trade-in cash value to lessen the sting. The current panel-mount avionics market can benefit from such incentives, too, and there should be plenty of opportunity for manufacturers to offer factory-refurbed units to the used market. I bet they would sell more units.
Longtime Aviation Consumer readers have seen that name in plenty of articles, and most recently when Al helped out in our long-term ceramic coating trials in the November 2022 issue. And even when his name wasn’t mentioned in the text or in a byline, Al was frequently behind the scenes helping with our product reviews and testing. The photo below is Al testing the Jet Shades product in his Diamond. An engineer, inventor, competing amateur athlete (my cycling coach and mentor) and longtime airplane owner, he created the world’s most comfortable aftermarket motorcycle seat and the Mustang Motorcycle Accessories company. Al was incredibly valuable to this magazine because he was always looking at ways to make products better. Some readers know Al from the soaring world, where he competed—and won—in world soaring events.
Al died while crossing the finish line at the Panama City Ironman event this past October, leaving an unfillable void in the lives of those who knew him. We should be grateful for all that he did for