NGT-9000 Lynx ADSB transponder. Got one? Like it? Tell me!

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by I Fly Low 'n Slow, Jun 14, 2019 at 1:33 AM.

  1. I Fly Low 'n Slow

    I Fly Low 'n Slow Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm flirting with the idea of possibly making a major investment (for me) in an NGT-9000 Lynx unit, and am seeking input from those who have gone down this road before. If you own one of these, if you've had one installed in your aircraft, I'd love to hear what you think of the unit, the company, and the experience of getting it installed and flying with it.

    I own a small, modest, VFR airplane. Clearly this unit is aimed at a (much) higher point in the market, but I have some reasons why I'm considering this, even in such a modest airplane. Here's my reasoning, in case it matters to anyone...

    My simple plane has basic avionics, and they're old. My gear works (with one exception* I'll note below) but it's clearly old stuff. With the ADSB mandate looming, I need to get compliant (and that means I need to get on a shop's schedule soon). While my little plane might seem to be a perfect match for the uAvionics SkyBeacon/TailBeacon (and I did consider that as an option for a while), my transponder is old, and so is my encoder. I've heard enough about headaches when trying to make the uAvionics beacons play nice with old gear, and I don't "feel lucky" (I can easily imagine a transponder replacement in my future even without the ADSB mandate). I also tend to look at this as not just a forced compliance, but as long as I'm shelling out aviation units, this is an opportunity to get something better - that is, a modern transponder that I can rely on going forward (and features that are valuable to me, not just to the Feds). I'd rather spend more money once than try and save some now but eventually throw more money at a solution.

    I'm interested in an "in and out" package, which is clean and not only meets the requirements, but as long as I'm going to spend more than a few AUs, I'd like to actually get some clear benefits out of it too...(and here's the key point...) without having to rely on a portable device to show me those benefits.

    Yeah, I have an iPad Mini, I fly with it, I have ForeFlight and FlyQ, and they are great to have. But I'd really appreciate being able to have traffic (and more), actually in the panel, rather than on a portable (more likely, in the panel AND on my portable device). I'm not dissing tablets, but I'd prefer to have that traffic info (especially) presented in-panel...and the NGT-9000 looks like about the only way that I'd be able to get that.

    In my plane, there's not enough panel real estate to add a stack of moving maps and integrated big glass screens. The NGT-9000 is certainly compact enough to fit in my plane, and it seems to offer me benefits that I would use (specifically, traffic - I fly in airspace that's often pretty congested, or so it feels to me).

    That said, this is an expensive unit, so I'm trying to think hard and long before deciding. The NGT-9000 also seems to not get a lot of love from the install shops. As I was calling around my region, I spoke with several shops that are (or were) L-3 dealers, and had done NGT-9000 installations before (I don't want them to learn on my installation). One shop said he would never do one again, grousing that while the installation itself wasn't too bad, the setup/configuration took his shop "forever". Another shop said they don't install them anymore because it uses a "bad connector" (hmmm, oh kay...). One well-known shop says the NGT-9000 is "interesting" but also agreed initial setup was a pain, questioned how good L-3 would be with post-sales support (a valid question - I know nothing about L-3), and although they seem perfectly willing to sell me one and install it, they seemed to be steering me away from it.

    I know that installing a unit like this in a low-end airplane is not necessarily rational (of course, nothing about owning an airplane is rational). But the way I look at it, I'm gonna have to replace my old knob-and-tube transponder anyway. If I go with a Stratus or a Garmin GTX3n5 unit, I basically get a replacement transponder that'll talk to a tablet. If I get an NGT-9000 (admittedly, for a bunch more money), I get that too, plus traffic, weather and other good stuff right in the panel. I'm not 100% convinced I'm willing to pay for that luxury, but I might be.

    What I'm mostly looking for right now is: if you have one of these, how do you like it? Do its features live up to the sales claims? Are you glad you blew all that cash on it when you could've had something much less expensive that had similar capabilities but only presented them via a portable device? How did your installation go? Any surprises? Has it been smooth sailing once you flew away with the new unit, or have there been birthing pains? How has post-sales/post-installation support from L-3 (or its dealers) been?

    As for my existing panel, I actually have an old LORAN unit* (useless now, of course - it came with the plane) sitting at the top of my radio stack. It's coming out of the panel when I get my ADSB solution, whatever I choose. If I choose the NGT-9000, that would go to that "top of the stack" location (currently occupied by the useless LORAN unit), since I'd want traffic info as visible as possible. If I go with something else (Stratus ESGi or maybe Garmin GTX345) - "just a transponder" - that would be relegated to the bottom of the stack, where my old KT-76A now sits (because there's nothing much to see there). If I get the NGT-9000, there would be a bit less juggling/moving of the radios, obviously not a big factor here, but I will be glad to get that LORAN out (hey, somewhere way back in my logbooks, I see an entry where someone once removed an 8-track tape player from the panel, so it could be worse).

    OK, NGT-9000 Lynx owners and users, please tell me about how you like that thing (or don't), and how the install and post-sales experience has been. I appreciate your candid opinions.
     
  2. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I thought about the Lynx, have a friend who has one & likes it. I did some research a while back & chose the Stratus ESG 3i for some reason. My plane has similarities, mostly VFR panel now, older iffy transponder, etc.

    I’m certainly not saying the Stratus is any better, but it seems somewhat comparable to the Lynx. Hope your not in a hurry, most reputable shops are booked a handful of months out. My install starts today or Monday.
     
  3. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I'm about to pick up my plane with a Lynx install in a few days, so I guess I'll have a hands-on review then. I liked the idea of having the extra screen and thought that might open up some configuration options in regards to how I want to display data. I also paid 2k for a new unit as it had some special combo pricing. Lastly, it's listed as compatible with the the app I normally use on my tablet.
     
  4. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have installed 2 of these so far and have a 3rd scheduled. The connector is odd/different, but certainly not bad. The configuration isn’t bad either once you figure it out. The screen is very nice, and I like the features. There is a definite benefit in having a screen that is always showing traffic and/or weather, especially if you don’t want to take the time to set up your iPad for some pattern work or a short flight.
    I actually have an extra in stock for a discounted price if you’re interested.
     
  5. Indiana_Pilot

    Indiana_Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    If you are going to spend that much on a Lynx, seriously consider the new Garmin GNX 375.. It will give you WAAS GPS navigator and ADS-B in and out.. Even if you don't plan to use the WAAS GPS for navigation via a CDI/HSI now it would be great to have when you decide to add one!
     
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  6. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not arguing one way or the other, just wondering how useful the traffic info is on that small screen? Without a chart overlay for ground reference, does it really provide enough useful info to spot other traffic?

    For comparison, I fly a lot (VFR only) in congested airspace. Multiple target traffic is every-present. Being able to distinguish which target is over, say one end of the lake at my altitude, vs the target at the other end of the lake can be very important.

    On the NGT-9000's tiny screen, can you easily distinguish two close targets without having to push buttons to identify? Even then, can you get some kind of ground reference for spotting other than "at two o'clock"?

    If the plan is still to use the Ipad, via bluetooth link, for this - is it worth the extra money for the tiny screen?

    I honestly don't know the answers to the above. Just raising the questions for you.
     
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  7. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Concur with the logic of Lndwarrior above. We have a 650 in the dash, and with the small screen it’s not nearly as good as the ipads for viewing anything, including traffic. YMMV....

    Jim
     
  8. Indiana_Pilot

    Indiana_Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    I think with the 375 mounted high it would work.. my friend has the Lynx and it is easy to read the traffic but the 375 has much more information with map overlay..


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I prefer panel traffic and weather over iPad as well but on a screen like a G500 / 1000. I’ve done some button pushing on the 9000 and while it’s crisp and clear, it’s just not large enough. I’m probably going with the Skybeacon and in on my iPad with the Scout.
     
  10. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @I Fly Low 'n Slow
    We put one in our Skyhawk. Especially if you think you are going to replace your transponder - it is worth considering. You spend X amount of money on a regular transponder and key in a four digit code and don't touch it the rest of the flight.
    Adding the screens that are on the Lynx turns it into a piece of avionics in your stack that you use the entire flight.
    We also put an Avidyne iFD440 in at the same time. The 440 displays traffic and weather - but the screen is very crowded with Nav data. I like having a separate display dedicated to traffic and weather.
    I would suggest you also investigate @Indiana_Pilot suggestion of the GNX375. It was not available when we did our upgrade. I don't have any knowledge of the 375 but you should do your research before spending this amount of money.
    NewStack2019.jpg
     
  11. I Fly Low 'n Slow

    I Fly Low 'n Slow Filing Flight Plan

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    First, thanks to everyone who has replied so far, please continue providing your input. Specifically...

    @sourdough44:
    Cost for the Lynx is surely one major factor (ballpark estimates I'm seeing put the Lynx at roughly 1.5X to 2X the cost of a Stratus ESGi, so I completely understand why many/most would balk at it...very different boxes).

    @Challenged:
    Please let me know. I'd be very interested to hear your take.

    @Jesse Saint:
    Agree completely on having that traffic display just there, always on, in the panel. No worries about charging an external device, iPad wandering around the cramped cockpit or getting in the way of something/someone else (or vice versa). 'Tis a shame you're at the opposite corner of the country (I'm in Washington State) or I'd be tempted to jump on a discount (but I need mine installed, and while a flight to Florida sounds like fun, it would be a big leap in this case).

    @Indiana_Pilot:
    Oh, of course I was tempted by the 375 - it looks awesome. Alas, it bumps up the price (by a lot), and I figure that I'd never use most of its features. It certainly looks like a wonderful unit, but I think both the price and capabilities that would go unused put it beyond what I'm looking for.

    No doubt it would. But it would cost (ballpark) 1/3 more and I'd be unable to use most of its features.

    @Lndwarrior:
    An excellent question, and one that I wonder about, too. I'd love to hear more about this from those that fly with them.

    @Jim Rosenow:
    There's no doubt that anything on an iPad is going to look much better than anything on a screen the size of a transponder. Always. But unless you can panel-mount one, even iPads have their own downsides/limitations IMHO. The question for me isn't "will it look as good as an iPad?" (of course, it won't), it's "given its display size (and cost) would it be useful (useful enough) in the panel?"

    @Velocity173:
    No argument on that. But I would need to remove all the existing instruments in my small panel to make room, sell my house (and divorce my wife) to enable that. Sadly, not an option for me.

    @Jim_CAK:
    Indeed, and to me, I think that is the crux of the issue. I gotta replace my transponder. What I replace it with could either be "just another transponder" (as you say, set it and forget it), or get something that adds valuable capability to the panel and displays that capability, without the need for other devices.

    Your 440 looks like a great fit for that stack (mine is similar but with a bit less space). Price-wise, I could probably swing one or the other (Lynx or the 440) but not both.

    What is your take on the usability of the traffic info presentation? In congested airspace, how helpful in identifying traffic do you find it? I'd very much appreciate any other impressions/thoughts you have of it. TIA.

    Thanks everyone, please keep the input coming, all is appreciated.
     
  12. ajulian3

    ajulian3 Filing Flight Plan

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    Will the lynx also display weather and traffic on your IFD, in addition to its own screen?
     
  13. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Pre-takeoff checklist

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  14. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    As Jesse pointed out, yes it does. Make sure your avionics shop is clear on how the transponder has to be wired to the IFD. I was not getting weather on the IFD. I thought it was the gps rollover date issue. I had both the transponder and IFD software updated and still couldn’t get traffic or weather on the IFD. After a lot of back and forth and screen shots with Avidyne tech support they thought it was not wired correctly. Of course the avionics shop is swamped and it took a few trips to get it fixed. I think everything is working now, but I haven’t flown it yet. It is monsoon season in Ohio. When I Did a ground run up it was clearly displaying radar on the IFD and to Foreflight via WiFi.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 6:32 PM
  15. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I Fly,

    I perused your post quickly and didn’t see anything about your mission. Do you plan on always flying VFR or is IFR in your future?
     
  16. Topper

    Topper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I put one in my 310, can’t decide if it was worth the extra money. We had active traffic and weren’t sure how the adsb and active would integrate. Sonos our not enough inputs into the 530 and 430 so we moved active traffic to the lynx. My partner likes it and noticed when it stopped displaying some info due to a glitch. I rarely use the iPad but having it stream to it is nice. I generally use the 530 for active/adsb traffic and xm weather. I get METARS/TAFS from xm also. I do use the iPad and the adsb weather streaming from the lynx when flying around thunderstorms. XM is primary for weather followed by my stormscope, adsb just gives me one more look at the weather. Our mission is business/pleasure travel and we often fly 800+ mile trips where you are likely to encounter some kind of weather. If you are primary flying much shorter missions, your situation is much different, not to mention the difference in equipment. FWIW we always file and fly IFR.
     
  17. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    I've been flying with my NGT-9000 for about a year. I chose it over a Garmin GTX345. I was able to install mine for $7000 complete. My local mechanic, who is also a Lynx dealer, has installed a boatload of these. He can put them in pretty quick. The usually come with ATAS (traffic annunciation) and the wifi module included in the purchase price. My mission envelope includes regional (up to 300 nm or more) travel and light IFR, so FIS-B or other inflight weather awareness is important.

    Having the traffic on a separate screen is nice to keep the nav screen de-cluttered, especially on a small, low-res GNS430 screen. (Plus traffic only appears on a separate screen than the mapping screen on the GNS-430, which is not always convenient.) I usually keep the traffic screen on the left of the NGT-9000 and the NEXRAD screen on the right. The traffic display is quite visible, and is easy to scale up on down. I usually keep the traffic on the 6 or 12 mile scale at my speeds and zoom in if traffic starts to intrude. The display is perfect for orienting where you need to look for visual contact. Traffic display on the NGT-9000 screen is quicker to interpret than the targets on your tablet, plus the NGT-9000 display will filter targets by threat. Non-threatening targets in your vicinity are not displayed. Real threats will generate a audible warning, but I haven't had one of those yet. It supposedly really gets you attention. The weather screen is fine for avoiding weather. You can get more detail and a larger picture on your tablet display. From what I can tell comparing XM WX to FIS-B WX, they mostly agree pretty well. I'm considering ditching my XM-WX package that is piped into my mounted Aera-510.

    When the GPS rollover bug hit and disabled some of the weather products on FIS-B, an update/fix became available in a couple of weeks and it was only a half-hour to get the software updated at the dealer.

    The NGT-9000 will talk with and display info on other NAV devices (some more completely than others), but frankly the internal screen of the NGT-9000 is quite usable and less cluttered. I think it offers quite a bit more than, say, a GTX345, which can only display its data on another Garmin navigator or on your tablet.

    I'm pretty happy with mine. No issues in ADS-B out performance in spot checks every few months. It might be overkill for a strictly local VFR flyer, but for XC flight, especially IFR, the NGT-9000 has good value.
     

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  18. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @chemgeek - Nice write up. The shop I worked with had installed a lot of these in a local university’s fleet. I think they mostly did stand alone installations and did not interface with IFDs very often. I had to have ours back to the shop multiple times before Avidyne tech support figured out there was something missing on the connection. I cant tell if your 430 is a WAAS unit. If you ever look to upgrade it - check into the Avidyne. They plug in directly to the 430 tray so there is limited installation cost. Once they are wired correctly they work well with the lynx.
     
  19. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    I have a 430W. It's still working well, but when it dies it will probably turn into an IFD440. My installer has done a bunch of the NGT-9000/IFD440 installs, and they work well together. My only issue with the IFD440s is that they must use Jepp data, and their data is way more expensive than Garmin.
     
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  20. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @chemgeek
    We had a non-WAAS 430 in our panel before the upgrade. When I checked into the Lynx they said you could get traffic to display on the 430 but not weather. You may ask your installer.
    We decided to go with the IFD while we were into the panel for the transponder and had Other old avionics removed. Avidyne had good incentives for upgrading from a Garmin and we were able to sell the 430 to offset a lot of the cost.

    Avidyne keeps hinting they are going to have another option besides Jep for the database but so far, no joy.
     
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  21. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    That is correct. I display external weather on my tablet. The internal traffic display on the NGT9000 is better than that on the GNS430, so I don't bother with viewing it there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019 at 10:41 AM
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  22. swingwing

    swingwing Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I put one in my 182 about a year ago and like it. The traffic display on the screen is nice but I also have it linked to my iPad w/ ForeFlight on the yoke. I found the map with weather to be too small to be very useful. The audio voice announcement for close traffic is nice. If you are in the northeast I would recommend Griggs Aircraft to do the install. Exceptional work and their price was very reasonable.
     
  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Like, yesterday. Most of the avionics shops that are worth going to are already booked for the rest of the year. The one I go to and am very happy with is into Q2 of next year right now, I believe.

    I would hesitate to buy an NGT-9000 at this point. :(

    Over on BeechTalk, there's a thread about the issue they recently had with the GPS rollover (which prevented their units from displaying text weather products for about 3 months, as I understand it, and required a trip to the avionics shop to fix), and people there have noticed that L3 has handed off sales to Avidyne, their support people are all but gone, and it was their airline/military group that did the software fix.

    All of that points to a company that isn't planning on being in GA for much longer. When will they stop selling these units, and how long after that will a new bug (or just normal wear and tear) result in you having a really expensive boat anchor? :dunno: :(

    Reading your post, it sounds to me like your situation screams for replacing the LORAN with a GNX 375. I'm not sure where you're getting pricing information, but it shouldn't be anywhere near 1/3 more than the NGT, and it gives you a lot more capability.

    If that's really too much - Well, now is a great time to buy a transponder, since there are so many getting pulled out they're a dime a dozen. I sold my GTX 327 for $250. Get one of those and put in a Skybeacon or GDL 82 and you're compliant; throw a GDL 50R into the mix if you don't want any portable devices. Sure, you won't have a screen in the panel to display things on in that case, but it'll be much cheaper and give you in/out with no portable devices or wires running around your cockpit.

    What type of airplane are you flying?
     
  24. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    That is interesting. Avidyne has been pushing the Lynx transponder over their own unit for 6 months. It made me think they are planing to buy the product line. Andy by the way - Avidyne had the same issue with their GPS and the rollover date. We had to wait for the FAA approval on the Avidyne as well. I liked both units but I'm still smarting over paying labor to update the software for both these units a few months after they were installed for issues they should have seen coming.
     
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  25. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I got a big discount by going with Avidyne and the Lynx. I wouldn't mind if they bought the product line, seems like it would make updates and support easier.
     
  26. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Agreed. It's not like this was a big surprise. In fact, it's not the first time the GPS week rollover has happened. It makes me wonder about the level of QA in other parts of their software (and Rockwell Collins too, for that matter).

    Sucks that you had to pay. Garmin has actually paid for two software updates on my gear. Yes, labor too. One was a couple months after install, one was over a year after install.

    It'd be nice if Avidyne would buy the product line. The product itself seems really nice, software bugs excepted, and it would be nice if someone besides Garmin would start to have a line of products that worked well together. (And no, Bendix-King, your slapping of a sticker on other companies' products does not count.)
     
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  27. I Fly Low 'n Slow

    I Fly Low 'n Slow Filing Flight Plan

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    MBDiagMan:
    A little light IFR might be in the future, but probably not anytime soon. The plane is a humble Cessna 150, not really suitable for hard IFR.

    chemgeek:
    The quote I just got was around $8.5K all-in, higher than your speedy shop, but actually less than I had been expecting.

    Yes, I wouldn't argue the "overkill" point at all. Not strictly needed, but nice-to-have. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

    swingwing:
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm on the west coast so a NE shop is not an option.

    flyingcheesehead:
    Yeah, I hear the ticking, but it's not quite that bad in my corner of the country. I've checked with most of the shops in this region, and yes, a few are booked out through the end of the year, but most are booking into October right now, a couple say they might be able to get 'er done in late September. I'm feeling optimistic that it can get finished before winter sets in.

    Honestly, I have some concerns about this too (not knowing anything about the L3/Avidyne dance you described). L3 just isn't a big name, known player (to me), and yes I can see the possibility of a corporate whim causing an abandonment. Garmin, with warts and all, would seem to be a much safer bet.

    That's a fair observation. I don't have firm numbers for the GNX-375 (though I'm sorely tempted). The GNX-375 would certainly be a "safer" choice (Garmin's not going anywhere, except world domination). Of course, once I recover from the financial shock, I'd need to replace all the steam gauges and pretty much everything else on the panel (and the panel itself) to get all the benefits from the GNX-375...not something that I have really been planning on. But your point is well taken: the GNX-375 looks like a perfect answer to what I'm looking for (and a lot more). I will investigate the numbers.

    Plane is a humble (but enjoyable) Cessna 150.

    I've been starting to worry if I throw in these expensive boxes, someone is going to come along and steal the thing...not the plane (old, large, and hard to sell), just pry the avionics out of the panel and walk off with it (much more efficient). At first I was half joking about this, but now...

    Thanks all for the input. It's appreciated.
     
  28. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
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    Akron, Ohio
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    Display name:
    Jim_CAK
    L3 Technologies is a very large company. https://www.nyse.com/quote/XNYS:LLL which may be bad for the opposite reason. This transponder business is so small it may not get any attention or eliminated without any thought.
    Now that I have one, I would like to see Avidyne buy the product line.