Avionics Change, Commitment to Service Doesn’t

May 23, 2018 | Author: Greg Vail

I’ve seen a lot of changes since beginning my avionics industry career in the early 1980s. We evolved from analog to digital, and from electromechanical instruments to CRTs and then to LCDs. Computers came onto the aircraft. Global positioning technology changed everything about the way we navigate and operate. And connected aircraft capabilities are now transforming the industry again.  

But the biggest change I’ve seen is in the quality and reliability of avionics equipment. Twenty-five years ago the avionics shop I managed routinely pulled and repaired 10-15 communications radios every month.

Today we don’t see 10 problems a year. So few that we no longer fix equipment in the field; we send them back to the manufacturer for exchange, replacement or repair. Because avionics products break so infrequently, we can’t afford the setup cost and specialized training to repair them onsite.

The hardware we have today is so good it’s changed how guys like me spend our time. My Flightstar team and I work closely with aircraft operators who want to get the most value possible from their assets by installing avionics that improve safety and efficiency while reducing the cost of operations.

I see my job as being an expert advisor who tells operators what’s possible, lays the facts on the table, and implements decisions that will improve their operations and enhance the value of their aircraft.

Right now, we’re working with Honeywell on a special cockpit upgrade program for Learjet 40/45 operators. This is a great time for operators to let us replace their current CRT displays with Honeywell’s reliable DU 875/885 LCDs. The DU 875/885 display provides pilots with a high-resolution view under all lighting conditions and a much better flying experience. It weighs less and is a drop-in replacement for the current display.

From there, it’s an easy step up to gain all the benefits of the full Primus Elite® flight deck upgrade, which provides a suite of functions comparable to those flying on the best jets rolling off the line today. The graphics are incredible and pilots will be able to access electronic charts, moving maps, on-board cameras an XM® Weather displays to improve safety and situational awareness. The whole upgrade takes about two weeks and, in the end, gives operators a modern cockpit and a more valuable asset.

Primus Elite Advanced Features includes the SmartView synthetic vision system that provides the best view of the world outside the cockpit, in all weather conditions, and a lot more.

We’re also working with lots of operators on the ADS-B Out mandate. The clock keeps ticking toward the 2020 implementation date – there are fewer than 600 days remaining – and customers are lining up so we can help them meet this important requirement that will be the only way to fly in the Next-Gen environment. The longer operators wait to make arrangements to meet the mandate, the harder it will be to get a spot in line at shops like mine.

Lear 40/45 operators who buy at least two DU-875/885 displays can save money and use our supplemental type certificate for ADS-B Out without charge. Move up to the Primus Elite configuration and you may also be eligible for a generous trade-in allowance and other incentives from Honeywell.

Yes, I’ve seen a lot of changes during my 37-year avionics career. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that this is a great industry dedicated to making flying safer, more efficient and more affordable for everyone. We’ve got a wonderful community of hard-working, talented people who make the customer the center of their universe. I’m proud to be one of them!

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Greg Vail

Greg Vail

Greg Vail is Avionics Director at Flightstar in Savoy, Ill. Flightstar offers a wide range of aviation services including a full-service FBO and maintenance, repair and overhaul shop; avionics sales and installation; and executive jet charter and aircraft management capability. Greg is a certified radio repairman and private pilot. He is active in the Aircraft Electronics Association and served as the AEA chairman from 2010-2013.

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