Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

Upgrading PA-28RT IV

Hi,

A friend of mine is flying a 1980-ish PA-28 TurboArrow IV.

The Avionics right now are:

Standard six-pack with Bendix VHF, VOR/ILS, and Mode C Xpdr plus Garmin 430 with no connection to HSI.

I encourage him to upggrade since he will soon need the S Xpdr and those avionics are way too old. He doesn’t fly very often so he is not really looking forward to spend some money to upgrade.

What strong reasons would you give him to upgrade? What would a cost-efficient new avionics layout?

Regards

Don't get too slow
LEBZ | LECN | LECU, Spain

To be honest, for a guy in that situation, there are almost no good reasons to upgrade…:

  • new, in mean really new IFR avionics are still very expensive. A good panel-Job, starting from what he has today, can cost 50k. And this is without any real “glass”.
  • there is no real need to upgrade I guess. Does he fly IFR at all? And in which radius? Likely, Mode-S ist not needed. Also, I guess WAAS would not be useful. Most people actually navigate with the iPad, and the panel-mount avionics just do what they need to. And even AP-wise, VFR also doesn’t really need anything beyond an old basic heading-hold AP.
  • The only thing that might be needed is 8.33, but I am not sure how Spain deals with that. But even if, just get an ICOM or other standalone radio and add it to the cockpit, leaving everything else as it is, if space allows. But so far, many aircraft in Spain still seem to be 25KHz-only.

Judging by what the instrument panels of most legacy SEP in Spain, Italy etc. look like, it seems this is more or less the way most owners see it. A lot of money to be spent, but really nothing to be gained, apart from eye candy. And if you do spend the money, you will only get a part of it back when selling.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 11 Feb 15:42
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

speed wrote:

standard six-pack with Bendix VHF, VOR/ILS, and Mode C Xpdr plus Garmin 430 with no connection to HSI.

It is quite difficult to say from only just this information. Some things are easy (and comparatively cheap) to do, others do not make sense.

You say he has to upgrade to Mode S. If he has a standard KT76A transponder (Bendix avionics?) then that is VERY easy and also quite cheap with a Trigg TT31 which is pin compatible to the 76A. Even if not, it is quite easy to upgrade.

8.33 he already has a GNS430, so that is already done. But why is it not connected to the HSI? In that case, I would see to change that, the GNS430 with 8.33 would have to be his primary nav and possibly his only one sooner or later, so connecting that with a pre-existing HSI would make some sense. Does he have an Autopilot?

If he wants a glass upgrade, I can recommend the Aspen EFD1000, particularly if he has an autopilot. The combination of a EFD1000 with a legacy AP and the pre-existing GNS430 is quite powerful as it allows flying GNS430 routes on the AP via GPSS which the Aspen provides. Also, given the current installation, an Aspen might also be connected to the GNS430 leaving the current NAV/COM/HSI in place as backup. If he does not have an AP, the Garmin G5 line are quite good too and cheaper.

Other than that, it really depends what he is doing and I agree with boscomantico that it may not make sense to do a huge upgrade if he only flies VFR.

LSZH, Switzerland

From my experience and upgrades in the past, as a fellow Arrow IV Turbo owner, I would suggest both upgrades to the Avionics and the engine.
There seems little point in having a Turbo if you are not gong to use its abilities i.e. Flying high above the muck.
For using airways, an upgrade/replacement of the 430 is almost essential. A 430*W* results in an almost new box with faster activity, as well as the 8.33. To be able to fly LPV approaches is quite quickly to become a sine qua non.
For Touring over any great distance, a simple Autopilot + Height Hold is almost necessary.
Even if you do nothing to the Avionics, I cannot over-recommend two Engine Improvements which have paid themselves back:
GamIjectors and
a JPI Engine Monitor.
With both of these, I have got the consumption down to 32 litres an hour @ 150 cruise. Every flight is saving me £’s.

Rochester, UK, United Kingdom

My advice would be to get the HSI connected to GNS 430 buy the PS Engineering audio panel with the 8.33 radio, a trig Transponder to satisfy the Mode S requirement ( linked to the GNS430 for ADS-B out ) and bin the old avionics ( unless he has a KN62/64 DME that is worth keeping )

That will for the minimum price give him good Radio navigation for VFR flight , two COMMS radios, top of the range intercom / audio and a mode S.

The last thing that would I consider is the latest Air Avionic traffic box with ADS-B in and FLARM that can be presented on the GNS 430.

Last Edited by A_and_C at 11 Feb 17:49

A_and_C wrote:

My advice would be to get the HSI connected to GNS 430 buy the PS Engineering audio panel with the 8.33 radio, a trig Transponder to satisfy the Mode S requirement

As a practical issue, the Garmin transponders with number buttons are infinitely easier to use when switching (often multiple times) between squawk codes in flight.

There is the Bendix KT74 which is a Trig TT31 but with buttons for each digit.

Nympsfield, United Kingdom

Pilot-H wrote:

As a practical issue, the Garmin transponders with number buttons are infinitely easier to use when switching (often multiple times) between squawk codes in flight.

That was my first though, too, but my experience after using the TT31 for a few hundred hours is that it isn’t all that bad.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

When I was leasing aircraft to a flying club I removed a Garmin transponder from one aircraft and fitted Trig units to all the aircraft.

The move to a common transponder for all aircraft was welcomed , I too think the Garmin is a marginally superior unit to operate but the customer wish for a common unit across the fleet won the day.

The trig reliability was 100%, the cost reasonable and the customers liked it………. Under these circumstances I find it hard not to recommend the trig.

Last Edited by A_and_C at 12 Feb 22:20

Pilot-H wrote:

As a practical issue, the Garmin transponders with number buttons are infinitely easier to use when switching (often multiple times) between squawk codes in flight.

It’s a question of getting used to it. I bought the Trigg over the Garmins at the time because it had ADSB-Out and was a lot cheaper. I’ve been very happy with it. the first two-three times using it were fiddly, then you get the idea and it is no problem.

LSZH, Switzerland
12 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top