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The ultimate panel upgrade decision: EFIS or Autopilot?

Hang around with a bunch of pilots long enough and the talk will inevitably turn to avionics upgrades. Sure, we all fantasize about a panel full of the latest, and coolest avionics. But, realistically how may of us can afford that? When the reality of a budget does come into play, the choice is often between EFIS or an autopilot upgrade. But who says you have to choose?

Let’s step back for a minute. If you look at it logically, you can get both in your cockpit for less money than you think. Panel mounted EFIS is great, but unless you fly a lot of hard IFR why spend all that money? For the fraction of the price, you can enjoy a lot of benefits like synthetic vision, TAWS, traffic, and weather right on your iPad. Cool!

But autopilot functionality on an iPad – sorry, there’s not an app for that. A modern autopilot delivers a number of benefits even if you’re only a sunny Sunday VFR-only pilot. Think of those moments when you’re looking inside at the aforementioned iPad or reaching into the back of the airplane to grab a beverage or quiet the kids?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a qualified “co-pilot” at the controls? Or how about when you’re looking for airport information on your Sectional – do people still use those – or on your iPad? All these situations require you to turn your attention away from the task at hand.

Or what about situations where you’re flying at night and inadvertently enter IMC conditions? Again, having the capability to push a button, in times of stress is a wonderful confidence builder and quite possible a lifesaver.

And there’s one more benefit a new S-TEC autopilot will bring to your cockpit that EFIS just can’t: a FREE* Lynx NGT-9000 ADS-B transponder. Really!


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Genesys Aerosystems has partnered with L3 to offer you a fantastic deal that will bring a box load of value to your high-performance single- or twin no matter how you define it. Purchase a new S-TEC 2100 Digital Flight Control System before June 30, 2017 and we’ll give you a Lynx NGT-9000 touchscreen 1090ES/ADS-B transponder FREE!

So what’s better: EFIS or an autopilot? Well, looks to me that if you play your cards right – and act fast – you can pretty much accomplish the proverbial trifecta of avionics upgrades: EFIS on your iPad, a new S-TEC autopilot and a Free Lynx ADS-B transponder in your panel. Who said life is full of compromises?

Until next time, fly safely,


*Well, free except for the cost of the installation. But it’s still a great deal.