Imagine telling people your daily driver was built in 1975 or earlier, or pieced together from a kit of parts in your garage. It may draw some curious looks. Fortunately for us aviators, “vintage” or “built-in-my-garage” is pretty much the norm in general aviation. Used, older airplanes can be surprisingly affordable, depending on age and other factors, while experimental homebuilt aircraft offer a solution typically more affordable than a brand new certified aircraft. Whether your aircraft is experimental or certified, there is generally an area of common ground important to all pilots – avionics. With avionics, you have the opportunity to modernize, customize and even personalize an aircraft to truly make it your own.
Airplanes are designed last. When properly maintained, it’s not unheard of for planes from previous decades (even the 40’s and 50’s) to be used as everyday fliers today. But even with the best maintenance and TLC, the original technology in these airplanes can become obsolete pretty quickly. New technology, such as GPS and digital instrumentation, has been designed not only to make flying more enjoyable, but to also improve safety. Our GTN 750/650 touchscreen series navigators and GFC 500/600 retrofit autopilots demonstrate just how far we’ve come from hand flying with paper charts, a whiskey compass and a stopwatch. Yep, that’s all they had back then.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade a vintage aircraft or equip a brand new experimental homebuilt, an aircraft can be tailored to different missions through avionics. Are you planning to regularly fly in hard IMC? Consider an electronic flight display. Our G500/G600 provide all the required six-pack data and options such as synthetic vision, traffic and weather to improve situational awareness. For the homebuilders, our suite of G3X Touch experimental flight displays can provide all the same essential information plus the option to monitor engine data and more, all with a simple and convenient touchscreen interface. Or, for those looking for a cost-conscious solution, our G5 electronic flight instrument can provide safety-enhancing awareness in a small, affordable package. Whatever your mission or budget, design your avionics upgrade to meet it.
Finally, give your airplane a personal touch; truly make it “yours.” We all have unique needs and tendencies as pilots. Maybe there’s a certain way we scan the instruments, or prefer specific data in the cockpit like weather and traffic. Whatever it is, it’s important to have an airplane equipped to fit those needs and tendencies. After all, we spend more time interacting with the instrument panel more than any other part of the airplane, except the flight controls (or maybe not with a Garmin autopilot).