SA Flyer Magazine Refurbishment Guide 2024

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85 May 2024


The weakness of the Rand against the US dollar in the past few years has given an enormous boost to the aircraft refurbishment industry in Southern Africa. Aircraft owners are choosing to upgrade their existing aircraft rather than replace them with new models.

THE REFURBISHMENT INDUSTRY has made it possible to own old aircraft that are as good, if not better, than new. Owners are increasingly adding new avionics such as terrain avoidance systems, that a fifty-year-old piston single would have lacked because those systems had not yet been invented.

Thankfully South Africa still has a deep repository of skills in aviation maintenance and thus a thriving industry refurbishing older aircraft.

your insurance is much cheaper

It is not uncommon to find 60-year-old airframes being refurbished to genuinely better than new condition, thanks to engine improvements and updated avionics, particularly since ‘glass cockpit’ instrumentation has become far more affordable and easy to install – even in type certified aircraft.

These days a good used Cessna 182 with perhaps a midlife engine can be bought for around R2 to 3 million – which is a quarter of the price of a new plane. Not only have you saved millions, but your insurance is much cheaper.

86 May 2024
Aircraft such as the Cessna 210 have been very successfully upgraded.

Of course, maintenance will be a bit – but not that much – higher. And this is where a good AMO comes in.

For seven years SA Flyer owned a Cessna 182, ZS-FPI, and then a complex turbocharged retractable Piper Saratoga, ZS-OFH. What we learned is that the differences in maintenance between a good and poor AMO is very noticeable in terms of aircraft availability and reliability. This was evident when we switched from the Rand Airport based agents to Ferreira Aviation in Bloemfontein.


Avionics are the field where the most progress has been made and this makes older aircraft excellent candidates for an avionics upgrade. Particularly popular are STCs for the installation of the industry standard Garmin G600 and G1000. And for those aircraft that have the performance – the installation of altimetry to meet RVSM requirements. A further important upgrade that is expected to soon becomes compulsory is ADSB – in and out.

87 May 2024
Instrument upgrades such as this to SA Flyer's C182 improve the aircraft's capability and safety.
Nextant's 400TXi very successful upgrade of the original Hawker 400.

Older corporate aircraft have been excllent candidates for avionics upgrades such as this Garmin G1000 NXi for a King Air 200.

Removing and replacing old instrumentation is a skilled job.

88 May 2024 Introduction

Specialist avionics installers at Lanseria such as Aeronautical Aviation and Century Avionics pioneered the installation of the industry standard Garmin G600 and G1000 into King Air 200s and similar turboprops and these have now become a very popular upgrade across the industry.

Typical installations include a dual air data attitude heading reference system (AHRS), dual PFDs, a centre MFD with moving map, FMS, navcoms and WAAS GPS, radar display, and a pedestal-mounted FMS keyboard.

Popular too are numerous electronic engine instrument displays and a battery powered all-inone standby PFD.

A typical avionics selection for the upgrade of older piston singles involves a Garmin G600 MFD with synthetic vision as a PFD for the pilot’s side. This gets its data from a WAAS capable, TAWS-B certified Garmin GTN650 GPS/navcom that fits in the centre radio stack.

On the right side of the panel a JPI EDM 930 engine-monitoring screen that displays all engine parameters including fuel flow, rpm, manifold pressure and electrical output is an ideal partner for GAMI injectors for better temperature control and lean of peak operation for fuel injected engines.

Engine Upgrades

The leader in engine upgrades to the ubiquitous turboprops that are so popular in Africa is Blackhawk. This company has specialised in STC approved engine upgrades to the

89 May 2024
SA Flyer's Cessna 182 is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with refurbishment. Aircraft such as the Cessna 210 have been very successfully upgraded.

King Air range in particular, but also handle Cessna Caravans , Pilatus PC-12s and Piper Cheyennes.

The upgrade that put Blackhawk on the map is its Beechcraft King Air 200 engine replacement. Blackhawk offers no less than three engine upgrade packages for King Air 200s. These are the XP42, XP52 and XP61, and they all generate important performance and savings benefits, yet each package has distinctive characteristics to benefit specific flight requirements and profiles. Some of the key benefits include: An increased rate of climb, higher single engine service ceiling and faster cruise speeds resulting in reduced time on airframe and engines and a higher Vref resale value.

Blackhawk’s XP52 engine upgrade exchanges the B200’s original PT6A-41 or PT6A-42 engines for factory-new Pratt & Whitney PT6A52 engines. No major airframe modifications are required and some of the key benefits are for Africa’s hot and high operations: the extended maximum operating ITT to 820 C with a higher horsepower flat rating of more than 1346 shp which enables it to reach higher altitudes more quickly, fly higher and faster and thus reduces specific fuel consumption. It is calculated that this typically saves $38,000 per year in reduced operating costs.

Bizjets, which tend to age quicker due to higher utilisation and faster obsolescence due to jet engine designs becoming more fuel efficient, are excellent candidates for refurbishment. This is especially evident in the re-engining of older airframes such as the HS125-400 with modern high bypass fan jets.

A very successful upgrade has been the Nextant 400XTi upgrade of the original Beechjet 400A / Hawker 400XP. Nextant was the first company to introduce the concept of re-manufacturing business jets. Its first product was the 400XT, a modified and modernised Beech 400A/XP, fitting it with new Williams FJ44-3AP with Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) and a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite. Other changes include the overhauling and replacing of all life-limited components returned to zero-time status by replacement or overhaul and replacement of all new primary wiring harnesses.

Even the basic jets with OEM fanjets such as Cessna’s Citation 501-SP are able to benefit enormously from engine upgrades. New engines such as the Williams FJ44, which put out 2,300 pounds of thrust a side, provide a much-needed performance improvement. Nextant's 400TXi

90 May 2024
upgrade of the original Hawker 400.


It’s not just about engines and avionics –refurbishment customers want their planes to look like new. All good paint shops start with a complete paint strip and prime, followed by three coats of base paint with additional coats for the colour. Decals are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Specialists can do you custom paint schemes as was the case with the yellow extremities we had for better visibility on our C182 and the ‘heart attack’ scheme on our Saratoga. This scheme was done by our artist Darren Edward O’Neil and we were so pleased we added his signature. Darren will propose a sketch layout and then, with painstaking attention to detail and proportion, make sure it is applied as intended to the physical requirements of the actual aircraft.

A key point to remember when repainting aircraft is that it must be done by an approved maintenance organisation as the control

surfaces have to be removed and then professionally rebalanced before installation.


Interiors are another critical item – most owners elect to use wool carpeting, and new padding and leather covering for seats. All materials must have a fire certificate – so this is not a job for non-aircraft approved suppliers, even if they are much cheaper.

Another popular aftermarket option are airbags –built into the seat-belt for the front two seats, as well as new LED lights and new plastic window reveals.

South Africa is blessed to still have such a deep legacy of aircraft refurbishment skills and it is the antidote to increasingly unaffordable new aircraft prices. j

91 May 2024
Beechcraft King Air 200 upgrade by Century Avionics.
93 May 2024


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WE SPECIALIZE IN: - Avionics - ACK Agents (ELTs') - Repairing and fault finding in rotor and fixed wing aircraft - Overhaul and repairing of DC/ AC Electrical, Magneto and ignition equipment - Full Battery workshop facilitating NiCad and Lead Acid batteries - Aircraft electrical modifications and installations - We travel to any destinations for MPI’s and repairs

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95 May 2024
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The weakness of the Rand against the US dollar in the past few years has given an enormous boost to the aircraft refurbishment industry in Southern Africa. Aircraft owners are choosing to upgrade their existing aircraft rather than replace them with new models.

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION: the aircraft type, operation and crew workload, we customise a carefully personalised panel to meet our client’s needs, whilst striving to exceed their expectations.

With quality workmanship and top of the range avionics, products & support from leading industry brands such as Garmin, Honeywell, Genesys, Avidyne, Freeflight, Kannad, which are a few of the brands represented by Century Avionics, we aim to deliver a product that brings the newest and most functionally rich avionics technology into the cockpit.

customer (or pilot) we are able to identify and establish the best combination of equipment to be installed in the aircraft.

to enhance safety and situational awareness

Cessna 425 Upgrades

Century Avionics has had the opportunity to upgrade different Cessna 425 aircraft with various combinations of avionics.

There are number of considerations of components in designing the interface of a glass cockpit. There are also a number of ways to achieve that and through consultation with the

In order to bring true glass cockpit capabilities to the aircraft, we fitted either dual 10” Garmin G600 TXi touchscreens or a G600Txi 10” and 7” Portrait Display as Primary Flight Display/ Multifunction displays. Where we added an Engine Instrument System (EIS) we installed the 7” portrait display to the two 10” displays. https://

96 May 2024
Century Avionics

Lined up and ready to go - Century Avionics upgraded this Cessna 425 to a state-of-the-art glass cockpit.

97 May 2024
The Cessna 425 before its upgrade.

Designed to interface with a range of avionics, radios, navigators, and audio panels, the G600 Txi truly offers a vast array of features, options, and panel layout possibilities.

The dual-screen G600 TXi works with the avionics stack, pairing both a primary flight display (PFD) and a multi-function (MFD) display in a single 10-inch-wide bezel to provide a fully certified upgrade option for your cockpit. The G600 Txi requires two WAAS enabled receivers to provide navigational input to the G600Txi.

to enhance safety and situational awareness

The GTN-650Xi is the smaller, 2.64-inch-tall NAV/Comm/WAAS GPS package and is a fully integrated solution. With its state-of-the-art hardware, and boasting a large, ultrahigh-resolution display, wide viewing angle, and superior readability in the cockpit, it is the perfect choice. https:// garmin-gtn-650xi-series/

In the Cessna 425s the customers opted for the GTN-750Xi and GTN-650Xi Navigator bringing the best level of navigation and communication.

Pairing this with the bigger Garmin GTN 750 Xi navigator, the Garmin GTN 750 Xi is a powerful avionics system that offers a wide range of features to enhance navigation, communication, and situational awareness for pilots flying under both VFR and IFR. Naturally the GMA-35c

98 May 2024
Functionality and safety are much improved by the upgrades.
Century Avionics

remote mounted Audio panel is included (it works with the GTN 750 Xi) and contributes to more efficient pilot, crew and passenger communications and an organised cockpit environment, improving safety. The GTN-750Xi serves as a colour radar display for a weather information overlay to the moving map page, further providing a full picture of the weather and terrain en-route.

One of the very important considerations is an ADSB Transponder. The GTX-345 is a versatile and essential component of modern avionics and provides ADS-B compliance, traffic awareness, weather information (US only), and enhanced situational awareness to pilots flying in a variety of airspace environments. This transponder is AML STC approved specifically for general aviation aircraft, offering a range of features primarily focused on enhancing safety and compliance with modern airspace requirements, making this essential in our glass cockpit upgrade. garmin-gtx-345-w-r/

enhance safety and situational awareness. Their compact design, reliability, and integration capabilities make it a valuable asset for aircraft operators seeking to improve redundancy in their avionics. product/esi-500/

essential for a quality panel upgrade

The Garmin GFC 600 is an advanced digital autopilot designed for a wide range of aircraft, offering precise control and automation capabilities to enhance safety, comfort, and efficiency during flight. With its advanced technology, the GFC 600 can handle various flight situations, including climbs, descents, turns, and even coupled approaches, making this the perfect autopilot for our panel design functionality and installation. Overall, the integration of the GFC 600 autopilot to the Cessna 425 enhances the aircraft’s capabilities, making it more efficient and safer to operate, especially during long flights or in challenging weather conditions. https:// garmin-gfc-600-digital-autopilot/

Standby Instruments are essential for a quality panel upgrade. This can be accomplished by utilising the original airspeed, artificial horizon and altitude indicator. However often space constraints dictate the addition of an electronic standby indicator such as a GI-275 or ESI-500.

The GI-272 or ESI 500 Electronic Standby Instrument are a critical component of modern cockpit avionics, providing pilots with essential flight information and backup functionality to

Our technical and certification team works as a well-experienced unit to ensure certification requirements are complied with, whether a DAR (Designated Approved Representative) sign-off or a minor modification approval through SACAA is required.

Upgrade options and combinations for various aircraft are ever-increasing and Century Avionics is there to assist with your next avionics project. Let us upgrade your panel! j

99 May 2024

At Dynamic Propellers cc we overhaul and maintain all Hartzell, McCauley, MT-Propeller, Hoffmann, Dowty, Sensenich, Whirl Wind and Hamilton standard propellers to include metal and composite blades. We do all maintenance procedures related to aircraft propeller overhauls as called for by the various propeller manufacturers including cadmium plating.

Everything is performed in-house, including cold compression rolling on Hartzell propeller blades, as well as dynamic balancing of propellers in the field. Dynamic Propellers cc is an Authorised Service

Centre for MT-Propeller and Whirl Wind. Dynamic Propellers cc is also appointed as the sole McCauley Authorised Service Centre for the African continent.

We carry a large stock holding of fast moving propellers, hubs, parts, de-icing parts, overhaul kits etc. in our inventory to cater for Hartzell, McCauley, MT – Propeller, Hoffman, Dowty, Sensenich, Whirl Wind and Hamilton standard propellers. We do a huge amount of travelling to local, domestic and neighbouring countries as well as abroad to cater for customer’s propeller requirements.

102 May 2024
0 5 25 75 95 100
Tel: +27 11 824 5057 • Fax2mail: 086 548 2651 E-mail: • Andries: 082 445 4496
103 May 2024 C O M F O R T & Q U A L I T Y A I R C R A F T R E F U R B I S H M E N T Tel: +27 (0)10 900 4149 | Mobile: +27 (0)82 547 8379 | Hangar 24 (Interior Shop) and Hangar 31 (Paint Shop). Lanseria International Airport, South Africa, Gate 5 North Side.
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