Al lives and works in Las Vegas Nevada, took a gamble and flew the aircraft to Avionics West in Santa Maria CA. for an avionics upgrade, custom panels and lower switch panels. The old Cessna plastic finally got the best of him and the ARC nav/coms couldn't be trusted for IFR flying. Al flew to Santa Maria one weekend to discuss his avionics needs; in the classroom he operated the GNS530/430, CNX80 and other pieces of nice equipment. After some discussion, Al decided the Garmin GMA 340 audio/marker/ICS panel, GNS530 for the #1 spot and the GNS430 riding shotgun in the second position. The GTX330 mode S transponder was added so ATC could spot him and when operating in terminal mode S coverage, he could spot traffic being displayed on the GNS530 or GNS430, the choice is his. Weather is provided by the Garmin GDL49 weather data link which uses satellites. Fuel flow information is covered with the JPI FS-450 which is interfaced with the Garmin panel-mounts.
Al wanted some instrumentation on the copilots side, thus we were able
to install a horizon, directional gyro and airspeed indicator on the right side
of the panel. Circuit protection was installed under the pilots yoke and on the
right side of the copilots yoke; all breakers (except alternator field) are
pull-type breakers. Lower switch panels were fabricated to house the circuit
breakers, switches and pressurization equipment. Al picked the colors and they
look great and match the interior. We installed ring lighting around the
instruments which give the pilot the impression the instruments are internally
lighted, plus this does away with the pesky post lamps. Al says his next
upgrades will be replacing the ARC autopilot with a S-Tec System 55X, a good
move indeed. With modern avionics as installed here and custom work we provided
Al now feels comfortable flying in the IFR system again.