The recent massive advances in avionics technology in just the last five to ten years is astounding. My steam gauge Comanche has been considered modern only a couple times in its life. In 1960 when new and outfitted with a complete IFR package, and again in 1989 when we took ownership of it and installed a civilian radio package and updated IFR gear after 29 years of government service. Incredibly, all that gear still works.

For less than one-fourth of the cost of the 1989 upgrade, I can outfit the Comanche with stunning LED displays, bringing live weather, traffic, and an easy-to-read graphic representation of an approach. These features were only dreamt about just a few years ago.

Yes, it's about time to do a major upgrade again, but the dilemma remains. Do I go all out on a new panel with redundant glass displays, full digital engine instrumentation, and intuitive audio panel? As I debate my needs and budget, the tech keeps getting better and adding more functionality. How long do I wait? Will the advancements level off at some point? Will the new equipment be as reliable as my three-decade old gear? All I know is that we're incredibly fortunate as pilots to have this amount of technology and features at such reasonable prices. For our friends in experimentals, the price point is significantly lower!

I'll end up settling on a package soon that meets my unique needs and budget. In the meantime, I'll keep drooling over panels I see on ramps all over this great state. Don't worry, I'll bring a towel to wipe up the mess.

Blue Skies,


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