I’ve shepherded three AOPA Sweepstakes airplanes through their restorations, and there’s something that shocks me each time.
What is it? It’s seeing a photo like one posted here! Yep, this is the stage where all the old avionics have been yanked, and then unceremoniously tossed or traded in to the avionics shop for credit (what little that might represent) against their labor.
But look at it…chaos incarnate. NO WAY the old panel is ever coming back! The point of no return has passed!
Even though you may intellectually grasp the idea, at this stage of a panel restoration the mind cannot fathom the concept of a full-on upgrade. How can any normally-endowed person have the ability to put things right after seeing such a mess of wires and gaping holes? You or I couldn’t, of course. So take a look, ladies and gentlemen: The Humpty-Dumpty metaphor, made manifest!
Good thing that Santa Fe Aero Services has been there, done that. Many times over. Before long, we’ll see a three-screen Aspen Avionics installation, along with Garmin’s GTN 750 and GTN 650 navigators, an Alpha Systems angle of attack indicator, an R.C. Allen backup attitude indicator, a PS Engineering PMA8000BT audio panel, a CO Guardian carbon monixide detector, a JP Instruments EDM 900 engine and systems monitor, and much, much, much more. Like a panel-mounted iPad Mini, USB charging ports, and new annuciators.
Check out the January 2013 issue of AOPA Pilot for more information about the Debonair Sweeps’ panel transformation.
And don’t worry. The gutted-panel look may prompt despair, but that will fade as the new panel springs, Phoenix-like, into the 21st century.