Beech King Air Major Avionics Upgrade

Integration is King

When publicly showing our work to owners and operators, there’s a strong case for panel pictures, and lots of them. However, while theses are often very nice to look at, without context they have the potential to mislead. A photo of some GPS/NAV/COMs and a primary flight display tell you very little about what is lurking behind the panel or how that equipment is integrated and configured. This King air, for example, came to Maxcraft with a G600 PFD, and dual navigators (GNS530 and GNS430) already installed. However, integration of that equipment was far from ideal. Only one of the two navigators was integrated to the primary flight display, while the Sandel EHSI was misconfigured to the point of dysfunction. Sub-optimal connectivity between navigation systems and the PFD is a waste of potential functionality, and in this situation actually led to pilot complaints describing the GNS530 as ‘hard to use’. Additionally, this plane’s old analogue radar system had finally died for good, while the audio panel was plagued by snags.

Solutions to these radar and audio panel problems were achieved by installing several pieces of new equipment, the foremost being a GTN750 GPS/NAV/COM. Our client initially came to us with interest in one such navigator (to replace their GNS430) as well as a matching traffic system. That an integrated cockpit with the GTN750 as the nerve center solved their other problems was good news indeed. Basically, a GMA35 remote audio panel is controlled by the touchscreen GTN750, which in addition to it’s GPS/NAV/COM and audio capabilities, also functions as a display for the the new state-of-the-art GWX70 digital weather radar. The GTN750 was not only integrated to the primary flight display, but also to several new boxes, including an ADS-B transponder, a GTS825 traffic system, Garmin Flight Stream 210, and an XM satellite weather receiver. Where before this cockpit comprised of several disparate components, now it functions as a fully integrated system of systems.

There are a couple additional closing points regarding this aircraft. At Maxcraft we often have the privilege to see new avionics products at the very beginning of their life cycle, and to provide them to an adventurous mix of early adopters. At the time of writing, this Beechcraft King Air is one of only a handful of aircraft in Canada to have Garmin Flight Stream installed, and probably the very first King Air. Flight stream is part of Garmin’s Connext product family and offers instant wireless flight plan uploads from your iPad to you GTN navigator. It’s also worth mentioning that this aircraft was one of our many collaborations with Port Aircraft Interiors. Port’s interior experts performed removal and re-installation of the interior for Maxcraft’s avionics work, and did prep work for major interior work planned later in the year.

Summary of Installed Avionic Systems

  • GTN750 GPS Navigator (Garmin)
  • GMA35 Audio Panel (Garmin)
  • GTX 330ES Transponder with extended squitter (Garmin)
  • GTS825 Traffic system (Garmin)
  • GDL69A XM receiver (Garmin)
  • GWX70 Weather radar system (Garmin)
  • Flight Stream 210 (Garmin)
  • G600 PFD(Garmin)
  • GNS530w Navigator(Garmin)
  • SN3308 EHSI (Sandel)