Avionics Maintenance has some great tips to help you generate some creative ideas for an avionics panel upgrade that's affordable, and that will increase the market value of your aircraft. Mainly, this can help you figure out ways to find an avionics panel upgrade solution that's low-cost, easy to install, and that will significantly enhance your cockpit's functionality.

 Panel Upgrades for Older Airplanes

An avionics panel upgrade is especially necessary for older airplanes with older, outdated panels. Unfortunately, many pilots are still operating with the old "six-pack" traditional steam gauge panel. If your avionics panel is out-of-date, it may not be functioning optimally, and that could be a safety hazard for you, your passengers, and everyone on the ground.

Additionally, many owners of older airplane models are flying with an obsolete Lowrance, cam switch/ELT test, transponder, navigation, and other vital flight instruments. Upgrade your flight display systems with glass cockpit solutions with modern flight instruments that give you more control and more functionality within the cockpit. There are many avionics panel upgrade that can be installed in any airplane with minimal or no panel modification required.  

Play Around with Your Avionics Panel Upgrade  

If you're ready for your avionics panel upgrade, why not mock-up your panel to see what you like, what you want, what you need, and how it will look? Why not play around with some different upgrade features and pricing schemes to find the panel upgrade that's just right for you?   For example, consider how your panel would look and function with a glide slope, a new audio panel, a GTN750 or GTN650 with ADS-B, a GNC255A Nav/Com, and consider possible locations for the transponder. Also, consider saving some money with a high-quality used audio panel, a new GNC255A Nav/Com, consider possible transponder location, and install a Garmin 796 stack on the co-pilot side.  

Before choosing an upgrade package, go to your local avionics shop to see the equipment you intend to use, and test it in demo mode. By playing around with it first, you'll have a better idea of how it will look and feel in your cockpit.  

Go All Out or Do the Minimum  

As you consider your avionics panel upgrade needs, wants, and likes, also remember these three facts:  

1) Only about 60% of the cost of your hardware is value added.
2) Not every upgrade adds value.
3) Currently, ADS-B adds no value, so why do more than what is required?  

If you're not planning on keeping your plane forever, keep your panel upgrade investment as close to market value as you can and fly-off some of your avionics upgrades. Further, if you're planning on buying a new plane, buy one that already has all the necessary panel upgrades. By doing so, you'll save yourself the hassle of going through an avionics panel upgrade.