Ashland Municipal Airport - 433 Dead Indian Memorial Road, Ashland, OR 97520 - Office: (541) 488 1964

New Avionics Buying Guide

Generally, the only source of new avionics is from an authorized dealer, and unless you have an experimental aircraft it’s also the dealer who has to install the equipment. Obviously panel mount products also need installation, which will involve a closer working relationship with the shop you choose – and that is why it’s important not only to find the right product, but also the right avionics shop – one that you are comfortable working with as well as one that is reputable.

Reputable Manufacturers

Whatever type of equipment you are considering, invest in equipment from reputable manufacturers. You’ll get a better unit in terms of performance and quality, and you’ll find that the resale value is higher. Factory support and parts availability are also assured when you use reputable manufacturers. Manufacturers that spread themselves thin by trying to supply all things to all customers are often unlikely to do anything well, so our advice is to choose products from a manufacturer that specializes in avionics.

Choose Your Shop & Make Use Of Their Knowledge

As with manufacturers, we would suggest choosing a company that specializes in avionics. Most avionics shops have thousands of hours of specialized training, experience, knowledge and resources. As a result, the right avionic shop should be able to properly assess your needs based on factors such as your currently installed avionics, your aircraft, the type of flying you do, how open you are to learning new equipment technologies and other factors. As we have mentioned in our other article (Guide To Choosing Your Avionic Shop), they should be able to pinpoint any conflicts between your new equipment choice and your existing hardware and offer you solutions – at least, this is the approach we like to take. Beware the dealer who is too busy, unwilling, or unable to give you the product assistance you need before you make the purchase – ask yourself if this is the service level now, what will it be like after the sale is completed?

A Word About Warranties

Don’t forget to ask about the warranty. Most equipment (whether used or new) comes with a warranty, but it is worth finding out about the shops position on the installation itself. It’s not uncommon for installation warranties to vary widely from lifetime of ownership to only a few months.

A Note On Quotes

For as many shops as there are, there are as many styles in quoting! It’s the total cost you are obviously interested in, but make sure that every shop is quoting on the same installation. Shop quotes will vary slightly on equipment costs, but they should generally be very similar. Installation costs can vary however, and this is usually where you will see a difference due to the estimation of each shops’ installation time, and the installation supplies required.

For example:

  • Shop A: Equipment $15,000 Installation $3,500
  • Shop B: Equipment $15,000 Installation $4,350

I’ll choose Shop A you say. But what if I told you Shop B was building you new wiring harnesses rather than utilizing the old wires in your aircraft, removing all the obsolete wiring (saving you space and weight behind the panel), using new cables and connectors, cleaning and reseating your old antenna, supplying you with wiring diagrams of the installation, and guaranteed to get the job done within the specified timeframe. Now which looks like the better deal? These are specifics the shop may not detail in the quote, so it pays to ask.

Our philosophy at JLC Avionics is that we want to develop relationships with our customers that will continue for years to come. We’ll give you an honest assessment of the work you need done, with the options available to you, and the prices involved. We’ve heard many tales of shops that gain business by providing low-ball quotes only to vastly inflate the final invoice with lots of additional extra charges – we don’t do that. Nor do we hard sell you into equipment you don’t need. We don’t see any of these things as a successful business model in customer building, so with us the quote you get is the price you will pay. If something unexpected is found we work with our clients to find the best solution that meets both parties needs, and if the job takes less time than we estimated, you’ll pay a lower price! We feel that our company provides high quality services and produces a product we will stand behind for years to come.

If we can be of any assistance please contact us at our main office number (541) 488-1964.