Renew, Replace, or Retire?

What to consider when upgrading equipment

Followup training
Most installations are accompanied by piles of wiring diagrams and installation manuals and, if you’re lucky, one of the installers might show you how to turn the thing on. An often neglected part of the successful flight deck upgrade is the crew educational process. Indoctrination with the company president en route for a trip is probably not the best time to let the flight crew find out the instrumentation and displays are not quite as they remembered. Most of the commercial training providers do not have the resources to address all possible flight deck retrofits during pilot training. Manufacturer-provided pilot handbooks can be a good source of operating instruction but adequate time spent with someone knowledgeable of the installation may be worth including in the sales contract and should be provided for maintenance personnel as well.

I recently had a salesman visit at my day job attempting to sell a new plug and play navigation display. My last dealings with plug and play equipment involved rewiring most of the plugs and playing around with the bloody thing for days before I could get it to work.

My advice when a question arises whether to retrofit, refurbish, or retire; get the biggest bottle of Tylenol and start doing your homework. Of course, retirement does present some interesting options. AMT

Jim Sparks has been in aviation for 30 years and is a licensed A&P. He is the manager of aviation maintenance for a private company with a fleet of light single engine aircraft, helicopters, and several types of business jets.

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