USED AVIONICS SNAG
I read with interest Larry Anglisano’s thorough article on buying used avionics in the March 2022 Aviation Consumer. This is a topic that isn’t covered in any other aviation magazine that I’ve seen, but for the reasons Larry points out, it should.
I tried to source a full used avionics suite for my old Piper Aztec last year and was partly successful. I couldn’t touch Garmin’s GTN navigators or ADS-B transponders at a price that was even close to a bargain, so I ended up with dual GNS 530W units (both were factory repaired) and bought a new GTX 345 transponder.
And now I’m looking to replace one of the GNS 530W units with an Avidyne IFD550, and replace the flight instruments with an Aspen display system. The article only touched on sourcing equipment that has been removed from salvaged aircraft. In my search, I’m finding some late-model avionics at several salvage dealers around the U.S. at somewhat reasonable prices, but should I avoid them? I plan on keeping the airplane for a long time. Thanks for a great publication.
Rich Martone -via email
We’ve gotten similar letters from others, and specifically from one who sourced late-model Avidyne gear that was removed from an airplane involved in an off-field landing, with no apparent damage to the cockpit.
The buyer learned that because the equipment was involved in an incident, Avidyne flagged the units’ serial numbers in its database and can’t offer any future support. Avidyne said its long-standing policy is that if an official wreck report was filed, regardless of injuries or damage to the aircraft, the equipment would be blacklisted.
Avidyne reasoned that because it’s unable to verify hidden damage in circuit boards that may have resulted from impact, for the interest of safety (and liability, we suspect) it can’t vouch for the unit’s longevity when put back in service. Therefore, it will never provide service to the flagged unit.
We asked Avidyne for comment, and it said this has been its long-term policy, and it plans to make the policy more visible going forward. Avidyne also said that it might offer an exchange for such units on a case-by-case basis.
We asked Garmin if it had a similar policy in place and were told that it will work on Garmin equipment as long as the NTSB and or FAA has released the equipment from all investigations. That doesn’t mean the equipment can be guaranteed a return-to-service disposition.
No matter how you feel about Avidyne’s policy, it’s a lesson to source any used gear carefully and with traceability, run the serial numbers of any used avionics with the manufacturer and work with a trusted avionics shop when possible.
Interesting article in your March 2022 issue about Superior Aircraft custom instrument panels. What caught my eye was how fast these guys can pump out completed panels. When my Cessna 210 was in for an upgrade, it took two months longer than expected because the shop was building the new panel itself. How does Superior do it so fast?
William Estelle – via email
One reason for Superior’s fast turnaround is that unlike the typical avionics shop, its main focus is building panels. And, as covered in the article, it has perfected the finishing process with advanced printing.
MORE GROUND SCHOOOL
I love your work in Aviation Consumer, and it would be really great if you could update your review of online ground schools on an annual basis since the space is moving so fast, and new offerings seem to be coming regularly. Also, it can be a huge savings and terrific resource for new pilots in training.
Keil Decker -Princeton, New Jersey
Ask and you shall receive. We added virtual ground schools to the topic lists for upcoming issues. Got a favorite? Tell us about it.