Avionics Support: Garmin, Dynon Rank High

That’s not surprising since avionics repairs and exchanges for both brands are sourced domestically—Garmin is in Olathe, Kansas, and Dynon is in Woodinville, Washington. Only one LSA operator we talked with dinged Garmin for its support performance, which is unusual, based on our experience. It had to do with a failed portable navigator being used as the primary display in the panel of an older Flight Design CT. Since it was in reality a portable unit, the failed device wasn’t given priority replacement status because Garmin doesn’t consider portable units primary gear. But that was before Garmin assembled its Team X dedicated LSA avionics engineering and support division—a dominent commitment to the LSA market—that hasn’t gone unnoticed by any LSA maker we talked with.

But overall, distributors report that Garmin and Dynon perform nearly equal when it comes to supporting their LSA/experimental (and some certified, in Garmin’s case) avionics. Expect expedited component replacement for systems still covered under the factory warranty, which is generally two years for Garmin and one year for Dynon. For out-of-warranty repairs, most major components will need to be shipped back to the factory for repair. This entire process—from troubleshoot to reinstallation—could take a couple of weeks, billed at flat-rate factory pricing. Out-of-warranty repairs on Dynon EFIS displays, for example, run $250, plus freight. A failed Garmin G3X display is $650 and includes two-day shipping costs.

Keep in mind that for imported LSA models shipped from overseas, it’s the distributors that will likely bea installing the equipment during the assembly phase. While many of the systems come out of the shipping crate with prefabricated wiring harnesses, you can still be faced with avionics problems, which may be the result of faulty wiring connections or the rare infant mortality associated with new equipment.

The trend of more avionics is better continues. For full-panel equipage, we found that many LSA manufacturers are offering buyers the option of either Garmin’s G3X Touch integrated avionics or Dynon’s SkyView suite. But you’ll also find options for TSO-certified equipment, including Garmin’s flagship GTN750 IFR touch navigator. Since this is complex equipment, you’ll want to ask a distributor how much experience it has installing advanced avionics and whether it teams with an avionics shop during the avionics portion of the assembly process.