In the absence of significant development, on either airframes or engines, in the general aviation fleet, avionics is now the leading technological edge of general aviation.

The technological strides have been enormous and the biggest current challenge facing the general aviation fleet is the installation of ADS-B. Installations carried out on South African registered aircraft to meet the above requirements must be carried out strictly in accordance with Part 21 and Part 43 of the South African Civil Aviation Regulations and must be conducted by an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation holding the current and appropriate rating to do so.

The previous big upgrade cycle was the move from an old fashioned 2 ¼ inch ‘steam gauges’ to ‘glass’ panels, with their much-improved situational awareness.

As glass instrumentation has advanced, it has become cheaper, at least in dollar terms. This has made it an attractive option for those facing the regular and expensive maintenance of their vacuum and electrically powered instruments.

Many of these new glass panel installations will fit directly into the holes in the instrument panel left by the old round gauges. This makes the installation that much easier.

For those looking to substantially improve the value of their aircraft, there are three areas that immediately make it far more saleable. These are: A) The exterior paint B) The interior finishes C) The instrument panel. But not necessarily in that order, as it depends on what the existing instrumentation is. Nonetheless there is broad consensus that a well-executed instrument upgrade is key to the successful sale of a 40 or 50 year old general aviation aircraft.

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