Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

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dpm
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Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by dpm »

I've managed flying my PA-28-161 for 13 years IFR (14 years total) all around central/eastern Canada and the northeastern US without suffering from the lack of an IFR-certified GPS, but with victor airways disappearing and minima rising for traditional non-precision approaches at some nearby airports, I think it might be time to give myself more navigation/approach options.

What would my least-expensive options be to install an approach-capable, WAAS IFR GPS in a Canadian airplane? I'm not looking for a big, fancy display, satellite weather, or a touchscreen (I can get that on my VFR-only GPS or tablet). Suggestions welcome -- I'm guessing that the low Canadian dollar will make even the cheapest options painful.


Cheers, David
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photofly
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by photofly »

If you want WAAS your options are limited, and there's nothing cheap. Probably the cheapest is an old Garmin 430W (the oldest 430 models are not WAAS upgradeable and are no longer supported by Garmin). I see a used one on Ebay today at USD$9k to buy, and maybe $10k to install.

Or for not much more you can have this:
https://www.gulfcoastavionics.com/produ ... avcom.aspx
If you have a nice VHF to trade in (the Avidyne includes VHF) then you can knock another $1-2k off.

If you don't want WAAS then you have a lot more options around the USD$3k-$5k range, but installation will be the same $10k+.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by digits_ »

Why is the installation so expensive ? Is it all labor or are there missing parts ?
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by photofly »

Antenna
https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/pages/av/ ... ntenna.php

annunciator panel
https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/catalog/a ... sMD41A.php

Course Deviation Indicator / glide slope may need to be replaced: allow $2k

Audio panel integration, install, testing, certification, paperwork... when was anything aviation-wise ever what seemed like a reasonable price?
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by Rookie50 »

dpm wrote:I've managed flying my PA-28-161 for 13 years IFR (14 years total) all around central/eastern Canada and the northeastern US without suffering from the lack of an IFR-certified GPS, but with victor airways disappearing and minima rising for traditional non-precision approaches at some nearby airports, I think it might be time to give myself more navigation/approach options.

What would my least-expensive options be to install an approach-capable, WAAS IFR GPS in a Canadian airplane? I'm not looking for a big, fancy display, satellite weather, or a touchscreen (I can get that on my VFR-only GPS or tablet). Suggestions welcome -- I'm guessing that the low Canadian dollar will make even the cheapest options painful.


Cheers, David
C-FBJO @ CYRO
Survived ......13 years IFR without 3 14" screens , + 2 tablets mounted in the cockpit. (Yes I've seen this --- for VFR flight. Seriously, is it an airplane or a tech studio. Look out the window?)

It's a miracle.

Anyway --

I would think you could get a 430W for maybe 5 bills if you hunted, as so many have upgraded to the GTN's, but as others said, the installation will sting.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by YvesT »

From recent experience, the least of your worries would be the actual GPS receiver. I can not see a reason to even bother with a non-WAAS capable one, really.
The installation price and most importantly an opening at the avionics shop would be your biggest concern. What I mean is that the shop might have a different idea as to how the install should be done, rather that you. Guess who's version is cheaper?
It might sound strange to you right now, but in fact, might me cheaper and easier to just go with a GTN. That is what I ended up doing. It actually saved me money and time by going with it. The warranty is just a bonus.

Good luck, you will need it.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by digits_ »

photofly wrote:Antenna
https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/pages/av/ ... ntenna.php

annunciator panel
https://www.aircraftspruce.ca/catalog/a ... sMD41A.php

Course Deviation Indicator / glide slope may need to be replaced: allow $2k

Audio panel integration, install, testing, certification, paperwork... when was anything aviation-wise ever what seemed like a reasonable price?
I assumed the antenna and panel would have been part of the gps unit. Apparently not ! Interesting...
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by plhought »

If you don't care about sources - http://www.ebay.com/bhp/kln-90b

Just make sure you get one with the data cartridge. Getting one of those on it's own can be pricey. Find a local operator to update it for ya for a couple hondo (need special GPS 'dock'-type-thing).

Cheap to buy - can be expensive to install though. Outputs in standard RS-232 though so easy to slap onto an ol' MFD or moving map unit. Nav/GPS switching units/panel are relatively inexpensive too.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by photofly »

OP wanted WAAS, which the KLN90b doesn't support.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by who me ? »

The KLN 90B is approach certified, but not wass ( LVP )
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by awitzke »

^^ I was going to say get a KLN if you really want the least expensive.

I vote for the 430 as well. Use one every day in commercial ops and they do the job great. If you can couple it to an Aspen Panel you'll be laughing, or just get a nice HSI.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by Rookie50 »

awitzke wrote:^^ I was going to say get a KLN if you really want the least expensive.

I vote for the 430 as well. Use one every day in commercial ops and they do the job great. If you can couple it to an Aspen Panel you'll be laughing, or just get a nice HSI.

That's a mistake I made. When I got my plane I redid the panel but only essential stuff I thought like JPI and Radios. . If I did it again would have sprung for the Aspen too as panel was all taken apart already.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by awitzke »

Aspen Panels are great. Especially with the built in wind correction angle "blue diamond."
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by 7ECA »

Aspens are great, when they work. I did my multi-engine rating in a Seneca that had problems with both the ASI and Altimeter tape. Which didn't really matter all that much as there were still the original ASI and Altimeter installed. But it did prove annoying on the first flight or two.

And I've also heard that the Aspens really do not like aerobatics, even though plenty of aerobatic aircraft have them installed.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by goingnowherefast »

Replace your #1 nav/com with a 430w. Talk to some avionics shops in your area too, see what they say.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by SuperchargedRS »

FYI 430s can be upgraded to WAAS, and Garmin still repairs the GNS series
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by dpm »

Survived ......13 years IFR without 3 14" screens , + 2 tablets mounted in the cockpit. (Yes I've seen this --- for VFR flight. Seriously, is it an airplane or a tech studio. Look out the window?)

It's a miracle.
I get the sarcasm: I actually did a scary intro flight over 10 years ago with a company SR22 sales pilot who wanted both of us to focus on the glass panels while we were low in busy VFR airspace. I kept my eyes mostly outside the window and nodded politely, thinking how much more fun my Warrior II is to fly even though it's slow, the door is hard to close, and the seatbelts confuse passengers. At the end, he wanted me to try the landing-assist feature (I think you fly through virtual boxes on the glass panel, or something), but I asked him if it was OK if I just landed the plane. No sale.
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Last edited by dpm on Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by dpm »

From what everyone's posting, I think my original fear is correct, and I'd to end up spending $20K+ (after HST) to put an IFR GPS in a $55K plane. Since the system is still willing to accommodate me for now (vectors, VOR-to-NDB-to-VOR routings, etc., when there are no airways), I guess this doesn't make good sense. I don't think I could ever make back a fraction of any money I lose from the occasional longer routings, diversions to expensive airports, etc.

I imagine the cheapest option would be to sell my plane and buy another used one with an IFR GPS already installed, but my plane flies sweetly, in great trim, with almost nothing but routine maintenance over the past 7-8 years, and I don't like the risk of taking on a hangar queen (plus the 13% HST on the new plane). That approach might work for someone else who needed to upgrade anyway, but now that my kids have grown up, I'm no longer interested in moving up to a Six or something else with higher useful load. Plus, I really do love flying from Ottawa to NYC on only 21 gallons of avgas.

Thanks everyone for the advice. See you in the clouds!
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by Rookie50 »

dpm wrote:
Survived ......13 years IFR without 3 14" screens , + 2 tablets mounted in the cockpit. (Yes I've seen this --- for VFR flight. Seriously, is it an airplane or a tech studio. Look out the window?)

It's a miracle.
I get the sarcasm: I actually did a scary intro flight over 10 years ago with a company SR22 sales pilot who wanted both of us to focus on the glass panels while we were low in busy VFR airspace. I kept my eyes mostly outside the window and nodded politely, thinking how much more fun my Warrior II is to fly even though it's slow, the door is hard to close, and the seatbelts confuse passengers. At the end, he wanted me to try the landing-assist feature (I think you fly through virtual boxes on the glass panel, or something), but I asked him if it was OK if I just landed the plane. No sale.
Just came back from a lovely clear and cold VFR flight. The 430 yeah is handy to display the airspace boundaries around YHM, but not crucial. Was nice just looking out the window, and going nowhere in particular for a change. Yes it's white down there, but no Lake Erie isn't frozen.

It's a miracle I made it back without synthetic vision on a 14" screen (although I'm sure it's cool) and a parachute to save me from the mild crosswind.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by HiFlyChick »

7ECA wrote:Aspens are great, when they work. I did my multi-engine rating in a Seneca that had problems with both the ASI and Altimeter tape. Which didn't really matter all that much as there were still the original ASI and Altimeter installed. But it did prove annoying on the first flight or two....
The company I flew for had an Aspen in their Navajo that was replaced twice I think (under warranty, thank goodness) for problems, and then it was still always flaky - showing 3-4 deg bank at random times, occasionally the wind readout would just disappear, and the temp always read about 3-4 deg higher than it really was. For the big chunk of change that it cost, it should have been performing a lot better than it did.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by whistlerboy02 »

You only pay 13% tax on the difference between the old plane and the new one if you use a broker.
I imagine the cheapest option would be to sell my plane and buy another used one with an IFR GPS already installed, but my plane flies sweetly, in great trim, with almost nothing but routine maintenance over the past 7-8 years, and I don't like the risk of taking on a hangar queen (plus the 13% HST on the new plane)
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by awitzke »

SuperchargedRS wrote:FYI 430s can be upgraded to WAAS, and Garmin still repairs the GNS series
The 430 I use is WAAS certified.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by sparky99 »

HiFlyChick wrote:
7ECA wrote:Aspens are great, when they work. I did my multi-engine rating in a Seneca that had problems with both the ASI and Altimeter tape. Which didn't really matter all that much as there were still the original ASI and Altimeter installed. But it did prove annoying on the first flight or two....
The company I flew for had an Aspen in their Navajo that was replaced twice I think (under warranty, thank goodness) for problems, and then it was still always flaky - showing 3-4 deg bank at random times, occasionally the wind readout would just disappear, and the temp always read about 3-4 deg higher than it really was. For the big chunk of change that it cost, it should have been performing a lot better than it did.
Aspens are great for the private owner but I've seen them installed in commercial operations (PA-31's) and they are terrible. As for the OP, scope out any avionics shops you can... I know most have probably taken in a mountain of 430W's or even GPS400W's on trade. I've personally removed 9 of them in the last year so I know they are plentiful right now.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by goingnowherefast »

awitzke wrote:The 430 I use is WAAS certified.
And? Want a cookie?


You can get a 430 in 3 different varieties relating to WAAS (there's terrain and non-terrain versions too)
straight 430, no WAAS, no LPVs
straight 430 upgraded to WAAS, works very similar to a 430W
the 430W has WAAS from new, and slightly faster computer bits.

I would expect you should be able to get a good 430W, or a WAAS upgraded unit installed for about 12-15 grand. Keep an eye on Barnstormers, call Canadian avionics shops and hopefully you'll find one for sale. There's tons in the States, but the dollar makes them more expensive.
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Re: Least-expensive IFR GPS options in Canada

Post by awitzke »

For 12-15k, you should be able to find a 530.
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