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Cessnaflyer

KX-125 Question

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Hey everyone... I am in the planning stages for purchasing an airplane. One of the things I am planning for is possibly buying a "raw" plane with nothing special to it at a lower cost, and using the extra money to customize the avionics. paint, etc the way I want it, as well as having enough extra in case some sqawks come up.As I was browsing through some avionics, I came across the Bendix/King KX-125. http://www.avionix.com/store//media/king/KX-125.jpgHas anyone had any experience using this unit? What is your thoughts on it?I like how it has a built in CDI, but I'm wondering about the whole unit is in general.Something like this would be great for a secondary Nav/Comm (I am getting a Garmin 430 or similar for primary Nav/Com and GPS)Would I be better off with the classic KX-155/155A?What is the best way to efficiently upgrade flight instruments?Also, if anyone has any general advice on aircraft ownership, as well as ideas for aircraft types to check out, I would appreciate it!Also, how much does a good custom paint job cost, if anyone here knows?

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Todd,I've not used the KX-125, so I can't offer any specific advice on it. You might check with a good avionics shop and see what the repair techs think of it, how often they get them for repair, how easy they are to repair. If they think it's an okay unit and it's cheaper than a KX-155, it seems like it would work fine as a #2 below the G430.Owning an aircraft is, well, a labor of love. It's time-consuming and expensive, but many find it rewarding. The old saying is that the day you take possession of your airplane is the second happiest day of your life. The happiest day is when you sell it. Sorry if that's harsh ...As for painting, it depends on the aircraft, if there is any corrosion or any repairs that need to be made, etc. Expect to spend between $7000 and $10,000 to paint a C172 or PA28. As I recall, you're in Fresno, CA, so I've see work done by Kracon in Lincoln, CA and Art-Craft in Santa Maria, CA. They both do excellent work.While upgrading avionics is often necessary, it is always expensive and you'll never make back the investment when you sell the aircraft. Still, good radios and a good intercom *will* make flying the plane a heck of a lot more enjoyable.Best of luck!John

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Hey John!Thanks for the reply. I was looking closer at some of the radios, and if I end up going with a "full" avionics upgrade, what I am likely to do is go with something similar to this:My main unit being a Garmin 430 for GPS/NAV/COMhttp://www.garmin.com/graphics/gns430Hi.jpgor POSSIBLY a Garmin 480, although its a couple thousand more expensive (it adds WAAS and built-in transponder capability), with the internal xpdr, I can sell the one that comes with the plane to help make up for the cost.http://www.garmin.com/products/gns480/grap...GNS480Large.jpgWe also are looking at the Bendix/King KLN-94... no NAV/COM function but that would be ideal if we already have a decent set of NAV 1/2 and COM 1/2 radios. http://www.sanluisav.com/Pictures/honeywell/KLN%2094.jpgVERY good on the price compared to the Garmins... about half the cost.If we REALLY needed to get something basic, a KLN-89 would probably be our top choice, but we are looking at others too.Then I will have some kind of NAV2/COM2 setup (if the plane's radios call for an upgrade) which will probably the best NAV/COM that comes with the plane so I am not spending a couple more thousand for secondary NAV/COM... but if I do happen to need to get something, then it will most likely be one of the KX-155/155A/KX-165/165A models. http://www.seaerospace.com/king/kinggra/kx155a.gifThere's also the Apollo SL-30, although it is considerably more expensive:http://www.sanluisav.com/Pictures/garmin/SL%2030.jpgSpeaking of NAV instruments, I really like the Narco NAV-122D, which is a CDI Indicator with a built in NAV tuner.http://eurosafetyinternational.com/library...o%20NAV122D.jpgDefinitely a fan of that instrument but not a fan of the cost: $3,300We were also looking at some HSI instruments but at that point we are looking at some serious money... such as $8,000+ for auto-slaved HSI instruments. On the flip side, that instrument alone would replace at least two others, which we could sell to help make up for some of the cost, on top of being so much easier to use compared to the typical CDI instruments. One of our favorites is the KCS-55A system:http://www.pilotenshop.de/mf/dload/hsi/HSI_komplett.jpgThere are a couple of other nice things I am looking at, such as a PS Engineering Audio Panel/CD player combo for about $2,000. We are also investigating autopilot systems, 1 and 2 axis. The S-Tec 50 seems to be one of the better values of S-Tec's lineup for 2-axis autopilot. All in all... avionics are incredibly prohibitive in prices for some things... such as that HSI system which is over $10,000. So we will most likely be getting a lot of used or refurbished stuff. Thing is... I dont really care what we have in terms of equipment as long as we have a decent GPS (Preferably the 430 or 480). I am deaf, and I have a restriction on my medical that states I cannot fly where radio use is required... so that means I need to be on top of airspaces, and having a modern GPS such as the 430/480 is absolutely priceless when it comes to worry-free airpace avoidance. But of course... first things first... I need an airplane :)I have a question for all of you that actually read this far... Lets say I gave you something like $40,000 and told you to go buy the best plane you can find that doesnt necessarily have a lot of extras... it is just a very solid plane with excellent capabilities.I already have an Excel spreadsheet that covers just about every kind of aircraft that I would be interested in buying, comparing all the performance figures and numbers so I can see whats the best overall value. But I want to hear your opinions!I have attached a ZIP file containing my spreadsheet that has a list of most of the aircraft that I have come across that I am interested in as well as a lot of the avionics. It is still being worked on but at least you all can get an idea of what I am looking at.

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A few items to discuss,Unless it's your intention to have an IFR certified GPS, I'd bag the 430, as you could get the latest & greatest Garmin 496 hand-held for less than half the price. Much less, when you consider the installation of the 430.In today's GPS world, the 430 is "old tech" as far as it's screen resolution, colors, and memory go. A few years ago, I really wanted one, but after using my Garmin 296 hand-held, I would no longer consider it. The 430 just looks dated and crude in comparison.The 496 does a lot. Terrain data, terrain and obstacle warning, XM Satellite weather which provides an excellent weather map for hundreds of miles in all directions, plus XM Satellite radio, TFR's, and a whole lot more. The 396 & 296 are even cheaper; and then there are tablet PC based units too.When you start adding in the cost of better avionics, installation, and two axis auto-pilots the cost could easily double what you want to pay for the original airplane, let alone paint.Another option is the experimental/kitplane market. You take a few years to build, but end up with high performance, and with options such as solid state two/axis auto-pilots that cost much less than the S-tec. These use GPS information for guidence. These planes can range from $25,000 to a mere $400,000 or so, depending on engine, paint, avionics, etc. :) Some of these aircraft has exceptional glass panels.I have a Van's RV6A, which is actually an older kit (10 years). But it does have a 180HP Lycoming, Hartzell constant speed prop, and two axis A/P. Holds two people, and these aircraft will climb about three times as fast as a Cessna 172, as well as cruise around 170 kts. Range is around 725 NM, and ceiling over 20,000' msl.A whole lot of active and retired commercial and military pilots get into building these airplanes, not to mention just a bunch of of GA people. The big advantage over the typical "spam cans" is performance! And the fact, that as a builder, you do your own annual and repairs. As to Van's airplanes, there are over 4000 flying.Check kit websites such as Van's Aircraft, Lancair, the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and more.L.Adamson

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That is a pretty decent option to consider, when I think about the fact that the plane would truly be my own, AND it would be brand new, but at a fraction of the cost of a certified new plane. And then of course, ALL the options would be chosen by me... all instruments, radios, paint, etc.Not only that, but with me considering going into the A&P field, that would add to the ease of being able to build an aircraft.I was thinking about the 2/3/496's, and I didnt realize that overall they were that much better. Not only that, they have panel mounts for it if I wanted to have it on my panel. I think one of the main selling points for the 430, for me, is the fact that it has NAV/COM integrated into it. I think what we may end up doing is getting a decent plane and forgetting about upgrading a bunch of stuff... its just adding up to be too much. Thanks for your input... I really appreciate it!Todd

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Hi Larry and Todd,Visit www.garmin.com panel mount avionics and view the new Garmin 600E and 900X (Garmin was afraid of liablity issues to sell the Garmin 1000 to retrofitters).W. Sieffert

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Yes, I've seen the 900X. Just don't have an extra $47,000 at the moment. As I remember, that seems like the price range. Really like it, though!L.Adamson

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I've seen the 900X as well... but I can buy a plane for what that system costs... no way lol. I'm thinking more along the lines of $35,000 for the plane and maybe 15,000 for upgrades, paint, etc.

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If I was buying an airplane I would go for a Beechcraft airplane. Probably some of the best GA airplanes manufactured. I would personally go for a Sierra or if the price was right an F33A Bonanza.

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