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Avionics Maintenance in Europe (King stuff, etc)

Dear all, after getting the usual trouble with H Bendix King products (eg the KI256 AI and the regular servos pack up in my TB20 – you all maybe know that issue from Peter´s posts already) I´m seeking for reliable and reasonably pricing avionic shops in Europe. Maybe we should all send our faulty instruments to the US for overhaul or exchange?

TB20 Airman
EDLB, Germany

What’s it for ? To overhaul your Bendix instruments or to convert to glass ?

EBST, Belgium

Well, I´d prefer the most economic solution. No matter of overhaul or convert to glass if it´s done professionally and reasonably priced.

TB20 Airman
EDLB, Germany

In the long run I guess glass will be the most economical solution. KI300 could replace your KI256 and a KA310 would talk to your (I guess) King autopilot. However, this combo is only FAA stc’d and I don’t think the TB20 is on the list.

Otherwise: Aspen E5 + EA100

I’d talk to ASP avionics in Belgium. They have experience with TB20 + glass

EBST, Belgium

@ airways: yes, of course the Aspen E5 and EA 100 are a good individual solution – a former forum member reported (maybe anecdotically) about a blackout of the Aspen once in IMC after being airborne – however, this is an issue of a second alternator, battery backup or similar – but apart from this, I´m still asking myself if the current mode of operation of a few avionic maintenance shops in Europe – to do nothing else than sending the eqiupment aswell to the US – can be done by everybody itself, just maybe looking for a technician who will sign off the final re-installation after overhaul or repair.

TB20 Airman
EDLB, Germany

In the past, Bendix dealerships were allowed to repair avionics in-house. Nowadays they are obliged to send everything to the USA. It’s not that they CAN’T overhaul them, they are not ALLOWED to do it.

Obviously, this makes overhauls very expensive.
Independent avionics repair shops do exist. They don’t risk losing the BK business, I guess…

EBST, Belgium

Yes, there is this.

However, the expertise has generally disappeared over the years. Some repairs are still done but unless the shop is authorised, they cannot generate the EASA-1 form which most European owners require (which European maintenance shops want to see before installing the part). That limits such repairs to owners who can “self-install”.

The solutions for fixing King stuff in Europe are generally quite poor. Most gets sent to the US, to Honeywell, or to firms like Mid Continent. For KI256 overhauls I use Castleberry in Texas (they used to make them for King).

The KI300 should work but as with everything new from HBK you are taking a risk on them dropping it when they haven’t achieved sufficient sales. But, they have a lot of stamina nowadays; I am informed that tens of millions of USD were spent on the KSN770 which has failed totally but they haven’t dropped it … yet.

The Aspen + EA100 will also do the job, as with various Garmin options (historically G500+GAD43). Indeed, Stefan had ~ 3 total losses of his EA1000 (he sent me the photos showing the big cross right across the LCD) and these were mostly in IMC. Aspen had loads of problems in their early days; if you ask installers, these are denied totally, or reported as having been largely fixed, or blamed on bad installations. Most early owners had failures, but I guess the present-day product is pretty good.

For the KI256 there is no great solution. You are replacing a “hassle item” with a complicated solution which costs well into 4 digits, and while looks very nice it doesn’t make the plane go faster And the vacuum backup of the KI256 is really great for a single-alternator plane.

For King autopilots things are much worse and basically almost nobody can fix them. One German firm can do limited repairs, at a price. In the UK, Gama (formerly Lees Avionics) could do it but that option is gone, and I know of no other UK avionics shop which “officially” knows anything whatsoever about this. I think the only solution is to carry spares on the shelf (autopilot servos, etc) and to use opportunities to buy these on US Ebay. Of course these cannot be “legally” installed on an EASA-reg plane but in life you can’t have everything This is all good business for Garmin, of course…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Very well summarized, – overall it seems to me it´s best to initiate a flag out into November.

TB20 Airman
EDLB, Germany
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