I get asked this question all the time: “Why doesn’t Genesys Aerosystems sell its autopilots and avionics online?” Well, there are a number of reasons, but number one is the simple fact that our systems are very sophisticated and need to be installed by professionals. Contrary to what many people read on the Internet, autopilot installations, and setups in particular, are not DIY projects.
And taking that statement one step further, avionics installations need to be done by trained technicians working at authorized avionics dealers – not some freelancer working out of his trunk. What’s so important about the shop being authorized? I’ll give you 5 good reasons.
#1: Authorized dealers have access to the best training for their technicians. You just don’t drop these new systems into the panel and hope for the best. A correct and safe installation requires knowledge and training. Your installer literally has your family’s safety in their hands. This is no time to cut corners.
In addition to “factory” training, the really good shops are typically also members of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), which allows their technicians to receive additional recurrent training on all types of systems and installations. With all the integration in today’s cockpits, that’s a huge benefit to an aircraft owner.
#2: Nonauthorized dealers probably don’t have the required test equipment to ensure your new avionics are working properly. That may seem like a small thing, but with the sophistication and integration of today’s systems, you just can’t overlook the value of systems testing.
#3: An avionics sale or installation by a nonauthorized dealer may also void your new product warranty. It’s happened on too many occasions. The system is wired wrong and all of a sudden there’s the smell of something burning and some internal component gets blown. The aircraft owner thinks he’s saving money, but when these items aren’t covered because of a nonauthorized installation, he gets stuck with the bill. In addition, a nonauthorized shop doesn’t have the ability to return the unit for repair, even if it is covered by a warranty.
#4: Nonauthorized dealers may not know the correct process to return an aircraft to service. First of all, the STC requires permission to use, and only authorized dealers will be grated permission. So nonauthorized dealers may attempt to return the aircraft to service without noting the installation in the logbook and signing it off correctly. This means when you try to sell your aircraft, the pre-buy inspection will show it as not properly installed and you may have an undervalued aircraft or have to spend a lot of money to get the problem corrected.
#5: Do you really want to trust your aircraft to someone who may, or may not, play by the rules? I know this is a touchy subject, but if an avionics dealer/shop can’t be bothered to take the few small steps to become an authorized dealer for Genesys Aerosystems – or another avionics OEM for that matter – you have to ask yourself what else aren’t they willing to do? Where are they getting the avionics? Are their technicians properly licensed? Do they have and follow approved procedural manuals? You get the idea.
The bottom line is, when it comes to buying and installing new avionics, the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is…” are words to live and fly by.
Until next time, fly safely,