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Thread: Homebuilts & Avionics Shops

  1. #1

    Homebuilts & Avionics Shops

    I'm working on a magazine article that seeks the reasons why most avionics shops do not actively sellf goods and services to homebuilders. I'm looking for your experiences, good or bad, and what good and services you'd like to get from your local avionics shops. When replying, please include the airplane you're building, of have built, and where you live. I won't be sourcing anyone by name; instead I'll quote a buildiner working on an RV (or what have you) in Idaho.

    Thanks for your help!

    Scott Spangler

  2. #2
    Hi, Scott. I had to replace my transponder encoder in my (purchased) Fly Baby a few years back. American Avionics in Seattle quite happily built a complete new harness for connecting my encoder to the transponder (which I'd also previously bought from them). No issues raised about the Experimental nature of the aircraft.

    Ron Wanttaja

  3. #3

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    Scott,

    Every time I've spoken with someone from an avionics shop or retailer, they have been (or would have been) quite happy to do anything from a transponder recert to a full suite of avionics upgrades or installation on my RV-6.

    I've never heard of anyone having a problem with an avionics shop because the airplane wasn't certified.

  4. #4
    Anymouse's Avatar
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    I built a Tango and I'm pretty much homeless (long story, but work related).

    When I was trying to design my panel, I did a lot of searching on the internet for ideas. This included looking for places to build the panel for me. I had one a couple places in mind that I thought I would use based on past experience. During my research, I found a few more that sounded good that specifically said they worked on experimental panels. In the end I chose Treasure Coast Avionics. Although it's not prominent, they do advertise experimental panels on their website. They worked with me and let me know rather politely when I had a stupid idea and suggested better solutions. After all was said and done, I'm happy with the end product.

    http://www.treasurecoastavionics.com/panels/panels.html
    I'll come up with something profound

  5. #5
    Rick Galati's Avatar
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    Two possibilities....

    Quote Originally Posted by Smspangler View Post
    .....most avionics shops do not actively sellf goods and services to homebuilders. .....I'm looking for your experiences, good or bad....
    I purchased most of my avionics including a Garmin suite from Stark Avionics. The company is familiar with homebuilder needs and its pricing reflects that. At one time, Stark's web page listed pricing information for certified installation and significantly lower pricing for the very same avionics if destined to be installed in an experimental aircraft. At the time of my purchases, I considered their support excellent: http://www.starkavionics.com/

    Another excellent source of avionics is SteinAir. Very popular with the RV crowd, the highly regarded company is dedicated to homebuilders because it's owner, Stein Bruch is a homebuilder. Its inventory includes many hard to find items and I have had SteinAir fabricate wiring harnesses for me. Turn around time is quick and their high quality workmanship is to Milspec standards: http://www.steinair.com/

  6. #6
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Avionics News has had a few articles on encouraging shops to pursue the "untapped homebuilder" marketplace as an avenue for getting new business.

  7. #7

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    Ron,I once had some radio work done on an experimental category airplane, factory built rather than a homebuilt, at American Avionics in Washington.
    I left the plane there and came back some days later.
    They had improved my avionics or so they thought. They thought the two com antennas on the bottom of the plane were placed too close together and might interfere with each other. They didn't phone me about the change, just went ahead and moved one about two feet forward. When I got back and saw it, I pointed out to them that it was now blocking the belly fuel tank that went just in front of where the antenna had been. They were nice enough about it, they moved the antenna back to it's original mounting where it had been working well. I was just left with the two mounting holes that they had drilled through the bottom skin of the plane, which I didn't like, but no real damage was done.
    They seemed like nice folks and had a good and active shop, back then.

  8. #8

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    Experimental Avionics Shops

    There seems to be 2 types of shops, those who don't get experimentals and don't want anything to do with them, and those who realize the great potential there is in amateur built airplanes and go after it.

    The local shop at Chino (KCNO) Airport works on certified and experimentals with equal enthusiams and seems to do a pretty good job. My personal favorite is Aerotronics Inc. out of Billings, MT. They have helped me with all 3 of the planes I have built and will do pre-wired harnesses or complete panels for experimental builders. There is a lot of business there. I can't imagine why some shops would want to turn their backs on it.

  9. #9

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    Kings Avionics, IXD airport in Kansas---never a problem.

    They do the transponder checks on my RV-6---even sold me the Air Gizmo 496 dock I installed in the panel. Great people to deal with.

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