January 2012 Issue

Planning PFD Upgrades

Thinking about a primary flight display? The benefits of increased automation and situational awareness depends on panel layout and your interface knowledge.

As an avionics guy, I tempt owners to pull the big-dollar trigger on PFD upgrades. At the end of the day, I usually sleep well because most new owners who take my advice to the bank marvel at the cutting-edge touch of a PFD. The jump from round-gauge to glass flight instrumentation brings serious automation, huge amounts of data in one screen and offers a needed jump-start to old autopilots. But wrapping your head around the electrical interface and how the PFD interacts with other critical systems is a necessary challenge for safe operations. This is a challenge for the information-challenged, and some pilots I’ve turned loose after upgrading their panel do make me lose sleep.

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