• PiperForum.com is a vibrant community of Piper owners and pilots. Our over 1,500+ active members use Piper Forum to swap technical knowledge, plan meetups and sell planes/parts. We host technical knowledge of general aviation topics and specific topics on J3-Cubs, Cherokees, Comanches, Pacers and more. In addition to an instant community of pilots for you, PiperForum.com is a library of technical topics, airplane builds, images, technical manuals, technical documents and more.

    Access to PiperForum.com is subscription based. Subscriptions are only $49.99/year or $6.99/month to gain access to this great community and unmatched library of Piper knowledge.

    Click Here to Become a Subscribing Member and Access PiperForum.com in Full!

Spend my money! (Upgrade suggestions)

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Aug 21, 2010
Reaction score
Annual time will be rolling around soon, and I'm considering options for potential improvements. Would like to hear opinions from others, especially anyone who has made a similar upgrade and can offer an opinion on how valuable it was.

I fly a '73 Challenger, with a 430W and the Autocontrol III (Century II). I don't yet have an instrument rating, but plan to attain that this year. In no particular order, I'm considering:

1) Add GPSS roll steering to existing autopilot. Would like to hear from other IFR pilots on how valuable they consider GPSS to be. Also, is Icarus SAM worth the added cost over the DAC? (I have a quote for DAC installed for ~$2700. Haven't found an Icarus installer in my area yet, but expect base install to be a few hundred more than DAC, plus extra for any add'l sensor connections...seems like a vacuum failure alert and an altitude bust alert might be nice features to have when flying IFR.) Finally, is this a reasonable approach, or should I consider the factory autopilot to be "obsolete" and save my money toward a more modern autopilot?

2) Repair factory electric trim. Plane was purchased with electric trim installed, but inop. Will need a new yoke switch (known), plus whatever work is required for the motor/clutch (unknown). It bugs me to have this equipment present but not working, but it also seems silly to spend big bucks to repair it when I can simply use the manual trim wheel to set trim. This is probably my lowest-priority upgrade considering limited bang-for-the-buck, unless I'm missing something.

3) Add front gear wheel pant. Plane came with no nose wheel pant. I'm not even sure the front fork has the attach fittings to mount one, meaning I might need to replace the fork as well as acquire a pant. Might get kinda pricey.

4) Add alternate static source. How expensive is it to retrofit a plane with an alternate static source? Should I save that money and just spend it on replacing the front glass on the VSI if I ever get into a situation where I suspect a blocked static port?

5) Add headset jacks to the rear seats. This is going to happen, and I think I can do the work myself for not a lot of money. Only question is whether I should consider replacing the existing intercom (Sigtronics SPA-400) with something better while I'm messing with it.

I don't have a firm budget in mind just yet, but I think I could afford to do #5 and maybe any one of the first 3 items. I have no clue how much #4 would cost....



Latest posts