October 2011 Issue

Going All-Electric

Ditching the vacuum system during glass panel upgrades can make sense if you have a solid plan for electrical failure. That includes backup power.

These days, vacuum- or air-pressure-driven instruments in an otherwise glass panel seem like the proverbial fish out of water: All that spiffy new technology parked next to stone-age holdovers. Vacuum/air pumps and the unreliable spinning gyros they feed are pre-WWII technology, heavy and involve problematic plumbing systems. The irony has many owners thinking of removing their air/vacuum system entirely. Though it’s not without its drawbacks—which we’ll get to—going all-electric has several benefits, including weight savings, simplified maintenance and troubleshooting, and elimination of the failure-prone dry pumps and plumbing once and for all.

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