July 2010 Issue

Learning Your Retrofit Panel

Like flying a new type of aircraft, major avionics work can mean a huge new learning curve. Get quality formal training and try to avoid the local CFI who doesn’t know the gear and will be learning it, too.

We’ve been doing this long enough to remember when the extent of new avionics upgrades included a couple of flip-flop nav/coms and an audio panel. Even back then, some owners stumbled with otherwise simple switchology. Worse case was missing a radio call. Things have changed. Today’s avionics upgrades, however, usually involve tightly integrated glass and advanced automation. Just learning how to power up all those neat toys usually requires more thought and planning than the nav/coms of 20 years ago. The safety implications are obvious; the operational ones perhaps somewhat less.

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