What is the process to take out perfectly good Garmin radio stuff and Avidyne flight instrumentation which includes charts and engine data? Why would I even go through it?
I have always been the guy that had to have the newest stuff. I replaced cars at least annually, sometime more often. Computers and cameras were in constant rotation. The only things I have kept long term are my wife and children, the dog, and my Ping Eye 2 beryllium copper golf clubs.
So, when I retired and started to fly in 2005 I went from the Cessna 172 SP club planes at Eagle Flyers at Indianapolis Exec (TYQ) to a partnership in a 1986 Socata Trinidad. I got my Instrument Rating along the way at American Flyers in DuPage, IL. I then found that the Trinidad partnership was soon too time limiting, so the next step was a 2006 Cirrus Certified SR20 GTS, picked up at the Cirrus factory in Duluth, MN.
By the way, my flying mission is cross country flights with my wife, or Angel Flight clients, all over the mid west. I have a mother-in-law in Brookfield, WI. My daughter and her husband are in Farmington, MI. My son and his wife are in Alexandria, VA. And, my sister is in Heath, TX outside of Dallas.
Over time (125 hrs) I found that the SR20 was a bit useful load limited (I weigh about 240), and the ice protection (TKS) plus higher cruise made a SR22 more to my liking. I traded the SR20 for a 2004 SR 22 GT G2 (generation 2) Cirrus with about 250 hours on it at Eagle Creek Aviation in Indianapolis, and thought I had it made. Price differential was right, plane fit my mission, I was set.
The avionics were updated to WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) on
both GPS units as part of the purchase agreement at Eagle Creek
Aviation, using the
Cirrus service bulletin approach. We had WAAS on the Trinidad, and I
really liked the improved approaches, as well as the improved terrain
I had had a display (MFD) failure at Eagle Creek
when I picked the plane up from the WAAS upgrade. I immediately signed
up for the Flex Warranty product from Avidyne. When the MFD was sent
in for repair it was covered. The box was replaced under warranty
promptly and returned. But then I ran into a problem. First, the data
was not loaded correctly. There were no checklists installed, and the
unit had a different serial number than before. I could not get XM
started until the serial number issue was resolved. I also tried to
find out what was wrong with the original box, but despite the very
polite assurance of the Avidyne contact, no information was forth
coming. Not quite what I had hoped for in terms of customer support,
but the part turn around was really good, and they covered it under my
Next, I determined to update the STec 55X autopilot to software
rev. 7, and install the roll servo mod which was advertised to greatly
improve the stability of Cirrus handling, at Muncie Aviation.
Wandering down an approach just did not inspire confidence. The
combination of the improved autopilot control and the WAAS enabled GPS
units really made a lot of difference, particularly when you really
need them, like in a cloud of snow on final to an uncontrolled field.
Despite all of this work on a low hour 2004 plane, I found that Cirrus does not stand still in the addition of new features and benefits. The G3 (generation 3) came out with it's improved wing, then Perspective (Garmin equiped) , then certification for Flight Into Known Ice (FIKI). What's a guy to do? How can I stay with the current plane, yet keep up with the newer technology? I think I finally found a hobby that is a bit too expensive for me to replace hardware with the newest whenever I have a whim.
After much analysis, and the economy going to pot, I decided that I could live with the G2. After
all, I work hard to stay out of known ice, and the useful load was one
of the reasons I chose the SR 22 in the first place. But, then Avidyne
started to market it's improved avionics suite called R9 last year. I wondered if the upgrade would be a
way to keep the current plane more current. I got a chance to see the demo
plane and the simulator at a local airport, and it really looked good. Bigger brighter displays, a keyboard driven Flight Management System (FMS), and state of the art engineering behind them.
Of course, all the back and forth on the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) has been very negative on Avidyne until recently. Did I really want to make a major investment in the plane that involved a company with such a bad rep? I contacted Mike Glover at Avidyne through some of their material, and asked him some hard questions. Did they have the financial backing to stay in business? Were they committed to improving their customer service? Did they have the finances to develop, get certified and market a sweeping new avionics suite?
Mike was very open with me about my concerns. While one could have assumed he would back his company, he was brutally frank about their past issues, and then went on to discuss the steps taken to improve. He was also really excited about the new R9 system. We talked at length about the design, the certification process, and their proposed delivery schedule.
At length I decided to take a chance on the R9 project. I signed a Deposit Agreement last July (2008) and sent in a deposit check. The agreement language reassured me that I could get the deposit back if I changed my mind. I figured that unless they went out of business I was OK, and if the development of R9 stalled or something else went wrong, I could just get the funds back. Mike told me to expect to install the system in the 2nd quarter of 2009, so I settled down to wait.
While all this was going on I had some contact with Mike and Jared Butson at Avidyne about the MFD issue, and they offered to extend my Flex Warranty for 2 years to help offset the trouble I had. This seemed very satisfactory to me, and supported Mike's contention that they were working hard to fix the service side of their business. Jared further assured me that the extension would apply to the R9 install as well. This turned out to be a bonus, as the Early Adopter R9 package also inculudes a year of extended warranty. As a result, I should be covered until June, 2013. A nice bonus.
10 Jun 2009 12:21