There are certain trending, low-cost avionics upgrades that you can make to your aircraft that will both increase its value and make it safer. Avionics upgrades always increase the resale value of an aircraft, but our top picks will also reduce the workload of the crew.
The difference between integrated and non-integrated systems.
An integrated avionics system is a system in which all of the components are made together from one manufacturer and engineered to all work together when an aircraft is upgraded. A non-integrated system is a system in which newer components are working together with (or integrated with) older components. That could include displays, flight management, transponders, and so on.
A non-integrated system involves the replacement of components that weren’t originally engineered to be paired with each other. Often, non-integrated systems include equipment from multiple OEMs. While they may initially cost less up-front, non-integrated systems can be expensive to maintain and repair. It can become harder to maintain these types of systems as time goes on, as bigger manufacturers are beginning to implement software in their systems where their avionics will only integrate with other avionics made by them. You do have options there, however, where you can purchase an expensive unlock card from the primary manufacturer to allow the system to communicate with other avionics equipment.
Ultimately, non-integrated systems are like stopping a leak by just making a patch, knowing it won’t last but it will get you by, and there is a chance a bigger leak could still happen and you have to spend a lot of money. Integrated systems mean fully repairing the leak by putting in a new system. Yes, it will cost more at first but it will last a lot longer. Additionally, resale value for an integrated avionics system is significantly higher when compared to an aircraft with a non-integrated system.
Avionics maintenance costs
It can be expensive maintaining an aging avionics system with FAA regulations, software upgrades, and general repairs to contend with. In fact, it can cost up to $30,000 a year just to maintain avionics in some aircraft.
OEMs do offer avionics programs that cover a portion of yearly avionics maintenance costs (for a fee, of course), which could help. But it’s important to consider what having outdated avionics equipment could mean for your bottom line in the long run. It could result in downtime and overall impact to the annual budget.
If you currently have a Pro Line 21 system in your aircraft…
Understanding your options and knowing the right questions to ask an MRO are critical to making the best decision for your aircraft. Did you know that there are a lot of additional features that can be added to your Pro Line 21 system? A Pro Line 21 Modernization Package can include:
- WAAS/LPV – Expands the airports you can safely fly into
- Synthetic Vision – Great for flying at night or in bad weather
- Upgraded Flight Management System – With backup FMS/GPS
- IFIS – Integrated Flight Information System with digital maps
- New Displays & Software – Reduces workload for pilot and crew
If you have an aging analog avionics system in your aircraft…
If you have an aging analog system in your aircraft, it may be costing your more to maintain than just replacing it with a new digital system. Here are four upgrades that will make your aircraft safer, increase resale value, and save you money on repairs:
- Auto-Pilot – Switching from analog to digital auto-pilot has multiple benefits. It’s cheaper to maintain, easier to complete repairs, and takes workload off of the pilot, ultimately increasing overall safety.
- Artificial Horizon/Directional Gyro/HSI – Switching to a digital artificial horizon can significantly take the pressure off of the pilot, allowing them to look at one screen rather than four for the information they need.
- Altitude and Airspeed Indicators – When the analog versions of altitude and airspeed indicators break, the parts are challenging to find and can be expensive. Comparatively, digital altitude and airspeed indicators cost about the same as what it would take to repair the analog versions and maintenance will be easier.
- Clocks – Upgrading to digital clocks can land you a two-for-one install when you get a clock with USB charging ports included for your iPad or phone.
All of these upgrades will end up saving you money in the long run, while significantly adding to the resale value of your aircraft and improving the pilot experience.
Winner Aviation Can Help
We can help you navigate the nuances of avionics maintenance and upgrades. Contact us today to talk with our maintenance team about what’s best for your aircraft and your budget.