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Hello, we have a Vans RV-6 that is currently a good VFR platform.
We are interested in pursuing our instrument rating and since I
can't talk my partners into a new, more well equipped IFR plane, we
are going to upgrade the avionics in this plane to learn in and then
sell the plane in maybe two years for a more capable plane. The
avionics and instruments in the airplane are as follows: Apollo gx65
gps/com and Garmin transponder, Horizon attitude indicator, Nav aid
wing leveler with digital turn and bank, Altimeter, Airspeed,
Compass and Microvision VM1000. We are thinking about adding a
kx155 with glideslope and indicator, KMA 340 Audio Panel with Marker
Beacons, a Garmin 396 in panel with weather, and a VSI. A more
expensive route ($5000) would be to add a gns 430 instead of the
kx155 and garmin 396. The question is - for training and light IFR
is it worth it to go with the 430 or stick with the less expensive
route? Thanks for your input.

-- cary cumberland, March 9, 2006


If you're not going to be certified to do GPS approaches, I'd say that you should spend the minimum on the GPS and get the latest CPU/capabilities. That means the 396 rather than the ancient GNS 430. A lot of people are ripping out their old nav radios in favor of panel-mount GPS/COMs. So get an old VOR/ILS radio off eBay and supplement it with the 396.

-- Philip Greenspun, March 12, 2006

You might consider the benefits of the PMA8000B before you decide on your audio panel. You can see this panel at


-- Mark Scheuer, April 26, 2006