Panel Upgrade done January 2004 at Penn Avionics.

New avionics include the PSE PMA7000B Intercom/Audio Panel, the Garmin GNS 530 GPS/MFD/NavCom, the Garmin GTX 330 Mode S Transponder, and GPS Steering from S-Tec.   We eliminated the ADF, plus everything in the old stack except one Narco Radio and the Auto Pilot.   That Narco can easily be replaced with a GNS 430 someday if and when we choose to do so.  Now every one of the avionics units that originally came with the plane has been updated to new state-of-the-art equipment - the only exception being the original Collins DME, which continues to interface with the new avionics just fine.

 

Before
 

The original plastic panel overlays were cumbersome, and dated.  The post lights were prone to burn-out and continuity problems.  And some of the instruments were just not very useful anymore, like the ADF and the VFR-only GPS with a small display.

 

 

After
 

The plastic overlay panels, and post lights, are gone.  All instruments are now lighted by back lights or ring lights.  The ADF was removed, a Century HSI replaced the DG, and most of the center stack was replaced.  A quick-release headset mini connector was included on the lower left, that will accommodate Bose or LightSpeed ANR headsets.  As you can see, we kept the overhead panel eyebrow light bars, which had been added some time ago.

Click picture for large view.

New Avionics Added...  

The PS Engineering PMA 7000B is a state-of-the-art audio panel with marker beacon and stereo intercom built into one box, along with an optional digital voice recorder for ATC transmissions.  It even interfaces with a cell phone, and has multiple inputs for auxiliary equipment, like a tape player, a CD deck, or even a satellite radio.  Our Sony CD deck under the rear seat, played through this intercom, and into the Bose headset sounds great!  There are two music channels.  If the passengers in the back don't like the pilot's music, they have their own music input jack.  We also decided to add the optional digital recorder for playing back transmissions from ATC - a nice add-on accessory with it's own yoke switch. 

The Garmin GNS 530 is a Communications Radio, Navigation Radio, Glide Slope, Moving Map, MFD, and IFR rated GPS, all wrapped up into one box.   All of these functions interact with one another, and with other instruments in the plane, to make the pilot's work load unbelievably easier.  We had it pre-wired for a future data link input, and future cross-file output to a GNS 430.  (We would have liked to replace the second radio with a GNS 430 now, but when throwing money at a new panel, you've got to draw a line somewhere.)

 

The Garmin GTX 330 Mode S transponder, in addition to being a digital transponder, has many useful functions, like altitude alert, and timers, etc.  Most importantly, it takes advantage of Air Traffic Control's TIS (Traffic Information System) to display traffic on the GNS 530 screen, with audible warnings of close potential conflicts heard thorough the PSE intercom.

 
   

The S-Tec GPSS (GPS Steering) module, coupled with our S-Tec System 50 auto pilot is simply awesome - there's no other word for it it.  It knows where you want to go (taking input from the active route set in your GPS) and steers you there seamlessly from start to finish, including the approach, anticipating and rolling out precisely on each new heading change.

Download a short description of operating instructions.

 
We also replaced the old unlighted DG with a Century NSD 360a HSI in August '04.  (No sense adding a whole new IFR panel without an HSI.)  We had briefly considered a slaved unit, but it would have cost thousands more, and gyro precession on this instrument is very slight.  The HSI is driven by the new Garmin GNS 530 Nav and GS receivers.  
The Narco Mk-12E Nav/Com is not new.  The plane had been fitted with two of these some years ago to replace the original Cessna ARC radios.  These Nav/Coms are 760 channel compliant, and offered much improved features and performance.  Having replaced one of them with the GNS 530, there was no reason to replace the other.  We now use this Narco unit as Nav/Com #2.  It works flawlessly with the new Garmin CDI above. 

If money had been no object, we'd have replaced this with a Garmin GNS 430 for a "Double Garmin" panel.  But practicality won out.  Besides, that leaves us something to upgrade in the future.

 
I guess you wouldn't technically call this "avionics", but we sure are glad we installed it.  It is an Ameri-King RFI DC Alternator filter that filters all induced noise from the alternator, strobes, pulselite, fans, etc. out of the audio circuits.  The stereo headsets are now extremely quiet, and the music played through our stereo intercom is greatly enhanced. 

Click on the photo to see a larger image, or read more about the Ameri-King RFI filter by clicking here.

 
Finally, we needed an instrument to fill the empty hole left by the removal of the #2 CDI, after we installed the HSI.  We settled on Sporty's new Electric Backup Attitude Indicator, made by Castleberry Instruments, and fashioned after the AIM electric AI.  This AI was rated by Aviation Consumer as being better than competitive instruments costing several hundred dollars more.  Click here for a look inside.  

 

The work in progress...
  

First decisions were made about how the new panel would look. Templates were cut and sent to us for approval. These templates were tweaked until we were satisfied that everything was where we wanted it. Notice the "bend line" in the right hand panel.

 
   

After final approval, the new metal panel faces were cut and painted with powder coat paint for a hard, shiny finish.  Here, you can see what the finished panels look like in the plane after the job was finished.  The avionics stack is located between these two panels, of course.

 
Joe Budusky, at Penn Avionics, started the panel upgrade by tearing out everything that was in there, leaving a mass of wires that had to be sorted out, and old wires that had to be removed.

A few weeks later you can see the panel appears to look much the same as before.  However the spaghetti of wires is much more organized and the frame work is in for the new avionics.  You can see the big box for the GNS 530.  There are a lot less wires in there now, as Joe removed an awful lot of old wiring that went "nowhere".  The harnesses are done and installed.  The next step is the installation of the new panel faces. 

You can see that Joe installed new insulation behind the side kick panels.  The insulation up under the glare shield was also replaced.

 

Here you can see the new insulation continues all the way to the back of the plane.  (He had to buy a whole roll, so he used it.)  The plane is now more quiet, and should be warmer in the winter.   He even put it inside the baggage door. 

 

Here you can see the new interior paint on the rear panels.  These used to be a dark yellowish color.  

The tied wire bundle in front of the DME (black box in tail cone) is for future use when and if we want to install a data link receiver to interface with the GNS-530.  The data link will be installed in front of the DME.  You can see the other end of these wires coiled on the extreme right side of the panel in the picture above this one. 

Here is a shot looking back into the tail cone. There was no work done back here, but I was impressed with how clean the skin still is on the inside. This plane came with anti-corrosion treatment from the factory. 23 years later, it still looks like new.


The servo you see is the autopilot servo for the elevator. Note the air hose leading to pressure intakes on the outside of the tail cone. This is the mechanism that maintains altitude.

Top of Page