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Avionics shops in the Indiana area.

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Jul 3, 2023
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First, my situation:
I have a 1971 PA-28R-200 with original steam gauges. The GPS (GX-50) is INOP and I’d like to replace it. It won’t get a GPS lock, and I can’t update the database anyway. The issue I’m running into is that my Narco ID-824/825 indicators don’t seem compatible with any GPS units I can find, and apparently a separate indicator is required for the GPS, to keep the plane IFR compliant. Also my Narco MK-12D radios don't seem to play nice with anything, and one of them has a shifty display. I'd be fine with an off-brand GPS if it works with my current setup.

But ... if I can't just replace the GPS, I'm probably looking at replacing 1 or 2 indicators (Are GI106's still available?), a Nav/Comm radio, and the GPS on top (GTN650 seems the best). Plus if I'm forced to get the GI275 or G5's, they require a magnetometer to be put in the wing, which requires the strobe lights be replaced with LEDs. It went from $10K to $40K pretty quickly.

I realize that I might just have to bite the bullet and do a big upgrade, but I just bought the plane this year, so I'd like to fly it for a few years before putting that much into it.

Now my question:
First, what are the trusted avionics shops near Indiana? I've talked to Eagle Creek/KEYE, and they won't even reply to me now, so I imagine the service would be the same. Tom Wood/KUMP lost a guy and it seems like their avionics side died a little. Josh at Lafeyette/KLAF is booked until Jan 2025. Tri-State/KEVV gave me a quote for a full panel and they seem like a good choice, but I'd like a second opinion on a purchase this big. Mayday/KGRR also seems like a good option, but that's pretty far away. I just sent a request to Sporty's at I69. I've been told to avoid Columbus, IN. I got an ear full about a few bad installs from there.

Did I miss anywhere that does good work (within a few hours of Indy)?

Second question:
Are used avionics worth it? I'd be OK installing a couple GI 106/A's, and maybe some Bendix radios to go with a nice new GPS, but I have no idea how to safely obtain used gear, and I feel like without a warranty, I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money on something I can't return if broken. With the cost of installation, I assume used gear just isn't worth it, but I'm open to options.

Is Avidyne any good, or do I stick with Garmin?

Just for reference, here's my panel:
o King KMA-24 Audio Panel
o Narco MK-12D Nav/Com 1 with Localizer and Glideslope
o Narco MK-12D Nav/Com 2 with Localizer Only
o Narco ID-825 VOR/ILS Indicator w/ Glideslope
o Narco ID-824
o King KN 64 DME
o King KT76A Transponder
o Garmin GDL82 ADS-B Out
o Piper Auto Control III with STec-30 Altitude Hold
o Apollo GX-50 GPS (INOP)

Minimum (so far) I think I need (if going all Garmin, which I'm not married to):
GI-275 (x2?)
GMU11 Magnetometer (which will require new wing strobes)
GSB-15 (USB port for GI-275's)
GAD 29B (to connect to my AP)
GTX 375 (if I want weather and traffic on the GTN 650, I currently use a Sentry for ADSB-in, and GDL82 for ADSB-out)

I've also started looking into the Avidyne IFD440, but docs aren't as good and I can't figure out what works with it.

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