Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Upgrading Your Instrument Panel

Panel-mount retrofit buyer’s guide

Icom IC-A210
Icom's IC-A210 is a 760 VHF COM channel transceiver that also supports 65 receive-only NOAA weather channels. It provides "flip-flop" tuning between active and standby frequencies, dual-channel monitoring, 10-channel memory, copilot intercom capability, and eight-watt transmitter power—all in a compact rack-mount case that's less than two inches high—and according to the company, it's the first panel-mount COM transceiver with an organic light-emitting-diode display. A recent firmware upgrade allows coupled GPS devices to preload a location-related frequency into the IC-A210's standby channel. It sells for less than $1,500. Mobile and base-station versions are also available. Contact:

Insight Avionics G3
Insight Avionics says that its G3 is the first engine monitor with built-in vibration analysis, which the company calls "the key to preemptive detection of mechanical problems." It also offers a color-coded bar-graph display that shows engine condition at a glance with red/yellow/green "traffic-light-style" coding, graphical leaning, built-in temperature probe diagnostics, a prop-balance function, data logging on common SD data cards, turbulence display that shows vertical and horizontal G-loads and periodic temperature vibration. Pricing starts at $3,300 for a four-cylinder unit. Contact:

J. P. Instruments EDM 830
J.P. Instruments' EDM 830 is an engine monitor with a color bar-graph display for EGT, CHT and TIT along with rpm, manifold pressure, and a wide range of other engine parameters, including percent power. It fits in a standard 3.12-inch instrument-panel hole, supports vertical or horizontal mounting, and includes a front-mounted USB jack to connect with a notebook PC for performance-data downloads and system-firmware upgrades. Pricing starts at $3,795 for a four-cylinder model with fuel flow. Contact:

L3 Avionics offers an alternative to traditional round-gauge backup instruments with the Trilogy ESI-1000/2000 electronic standby instruments. They're 3.7-inch digital PFDs that fit in a standard 3-ATI instrument cutout, and show attitude, altitude, airspeed and heading. They've received TSO authorization and are STC'd through an Approved Model List for "most Part 23 aircraft." Pricing starts at $14,995 for the ESI-1000. The ESI-2000 adds a built-in standby battery for $15,700. Contact:

Mid Continent Livesaver
Mid Continent's 4300-series Livesaver is an electric attitude gyro with built-in battery backup and internal lighting that makes the instrument completely independent of outside power sources. It's intended to replace electric turn-and-bank- or turn-indicator instruments (as authorized by FAA advisory circular AC91-75). Even in the worst-case scenario of a combined vacuum and electrical failure at night, it provides a fully functioning attitude indicator to keep from losing control. Pricing starts at $4,867. Contact:

NavWorx ADS600-B
NavWorx ADS600-B is a 978 MHz ADS-B UAT designed for remote mounting. It provides position reporting as mandated by the FAA for operation in controlled airspace after 2020, and provides traffic and weather on compatible displays. It includes a built-in 20-channel GPS, but optionally can use an external position source. Pricing starts at $2,495. Contact:

PS Engineering PMA8000BT
PS Engineering's PMA8000BT audio panel, priced at $1,795, is a six-place intercom with built-in three-light beacon that's "plug-and-play compatible" as a replacement for Garmin's GMA 340. It offers a wide range of features, including IntelliVOX mic control, high-fidelity stereo, monitor function that automatically reduces volume on a secondary COM channel, built-in digital audio recorder, dual Bluetooth device support, front-panel music volume control and support for automatically contacting ATC facilities using a Bluetooth-compatible cell phone. Contact:


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