What to Ask an Avionics Technician Ahead of an Avionics Upgrade

Avionics Upgrades

If you’re gearing up for an avionics upgrade, you want to make sure you’re as informed as possible to make the right decision for you, your aircraft, and your crew. Whether you know exactly the type of avionics equipment you want installed in your aircraft, or you simply know that it’s time for an upgrade, we’ve got you covered with questions to ask your avionics technician.

Questions to Ask Yourself Ahead of an Avionics Upgrade

Before even contacting an avionics technician or your MRO, there are a handful of questions to ask yourself ahead of an avionics upgrade. These questions aim to understand your primary goals, and what will ultimately define success for you when it comes to your upgrade.

  1. What is your primary goal with your avionics upgrade?
  2. Is it possible you already have the right avionics in place and just don’t know it, and are not utilizing them to their full potential?
  3. Does the avionics upgrade you’re considering make for a safer operation of the aircraft? Hint: The answer to this question should always be “yes”.
  4. What is your budget?

Understanding these key elements first will allow you to have the most productive conversation with your avionics technician.

Questions to Ask Your Avionics Technician

Once you’ve evaluated your needs versus wants, and what you’re looking for out of your avionics upgrade, you’re prepped to have a conversation with an avionics technician about what you’re looking for. Ideally, you’ll be talking with an MRO who has already been maintaining and servicing your aircraft, so they will already be familiar with your aircraft and its current avionics.

First thing’s first, find out what is compatible.

Whether you have a brand in mind or simply know it’s time for an avionics upgrade, the first thing you need to determine is what avionics equipment is compatible with your aircraft and panel.

For example, if you have a Collins ProLine 21 system installed but you’re interested in a Garmin GPS, you won’t be able to install the Garmin because it’s incompatible with your Collins.

Particularly with newer systems, like the Collins ProLine 21, they don’t cross-communicate well with other systems. That’s why it’s so important to talk with your avionics technician about what is and isn’t compatible within your current set up.

Talk about the options available to you

There are always options, and those options can be tailored to fit your budget or can be specific to what your need is.

For example, if you’re looking at an inflight communications system, you have a handful of brands that are available to choose from. You could choose a complete, all access communications system like Gogo Inflight Connectivity and Entertainment or, if you’re simply looking for paired down phone, email, and text messaging, you could choose Airtext Data Connectivity instead.

Your MRO will guide you through the options available to you, including what’s compatible with your current avionics, and will detail the pros and cons for all of the options. They will also talk with you about what options require a more in-depth install, and which are less intrusive, so you can make an informed decision about budget and downtime.

Ask about your avionics technician’s experience

If your avionics technician isn’t part of the MRO team that has been serving your aircraft, talk with them about their specific experience.

You not only want an avionics technician who is familiar with your type of aircraft, you also want a technician who is experienced with the type of install you’re looking for.

For example, if you’re talking with an avionics technician who has never completed a glass panel install before, they may be completely up for the job, but you’re going to pay for it with a higher cost in labor. Look for a quote that appears higher than normal, with more labor hours tacked on to give the technician a buffer to troubleshoot.

Discuss downtime and options

Discussing downtime is just as important as discussing budget. Talk with your avionics technician about downtime, and ask for their advice on when to schedule the downtime.

For example, if you have a scheduled inspection coming up, your avionics technician should talk with you about combining the avionics upgrade with the scheduled inspection, because you will already have scheduled downtime in place.

Talk about your own experience

If you’re the owner and operator of the aircraft, talk with the avionics technician about your specific experience.

For example, if you don’t have experience flying with a glass instrument panel, there may be a bit of a learning curve for you at first. Your avionics technician will be able to walk you through the ins and outs of the panel, so you feel comfortable and informed ahead of take-off.

Winner Aviation is Ready for Your Avionics Upgrades

At Winner Aviation, we’ve handled avionics upgrades ranging from upgrading analog gauges from the 1960s all the way to upgrading to the most modern Collins ProLine system. Whether you’re spending $2,000 on a communications upgrade, or $300,000 for a full system, we’re here to help you choose the right avionics equipment with as little downtime as possible.

Get a quote from us today to get started.

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