March 25, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks going into detail on AOPA’s Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer panel components. Over that time the Archer has been snug in a hangar awaiting its next adventure.
Because major work finished so early on the airplane, we’ve had the opportunity to go over it with a fine-tooth comb and flush out even the most minor issues. With that in mind, we flew the Archer back to Penn Avionics in West Chester, Penn., last week for a quick check up. The avionics have been working very well, but since we installed a few pieces of equipment there have been some updates. Namely, Aspen Avionics came out with version 1.1 of its Evolution Flight Display.
Our Aspen is serial number one, and although we haven’t been experiencing any issues, it never hurts to get the most recent update. According to an Aspen representative, the new version offers many advantages over the original release. Although most of the upgrades are designed to make installation easier, there are a few pilot-centric advances. These include cooling down the display, a fancy start-up screen, winds aloft displayed to five knots, GPS steering for both GPS nav sources, and the ability to make future upgrades through an SD card. Penn sent our unit off for a quick turnaround earlier this week.
When the PFD comes back from Aspen, it’s on to the Archer’s final work stop of the year. We’ll be going full circle and taking the airplane back to the skilled craftsmen at Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine. There are a few minor airframe issues that need to be addressed, and we want to have the experts give the airplane a once-over. The airframe issues are all small and things that have revealed themselves over the year we’ve flown 208GG to the aviation shows. For example, the metal catch that keeps the cabin door open isn’t working, and the glareshield needs to be attached.
But above all, this will be Oxford’s last chance to really make 208GG shine. After a year’s worth of flying to shows, the airplane is dirty and has just a few small paint blemishes. These can all be fixed and Oxford will undertake that task. When it comes out, we know it will look like new again, just in time for AOPA Expo and then the giveaway.
Follow along for the rest of the year as we fly an actual cross-country to Expo and back, delve into 208GG’s history, and discuss a few more of the airplane’s details.
Next week: 406 MHz ELT
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