Should you upgrade your outdated avionics? The quick and easy answer to that is most of the time. Many upgrades will add value to your aircraft. Even as important (if not more) it can take the work load off of the pilot and create a much safer, fluid cockpit.
Connectivity is a very hot topic right now. Every aircraft owner wants to have the ability to use their phones, computers, and TV’s like they would anywhere else. They want to remain connected to the world while in flight. If a potential buyer is looking and they come across two similar aircraft and one has connectivity and yours does not, they will almost undoubtedly purchase the aircraft with connectivity. So, this upgrade would be an important one to consider.
When deciding to upgrade your aircraft one important factor to have some understanding of is the difference between integrated and non-integrated avionics systems. An integrated avionics system is one that in its entirety is designed by one OEM and is designed to work together. Non-integrated systems are systems that are not from the same manufacturer. In most cases this occurs when a component brakes and is replaced with a cheaper version to save money. This may seem appealing at the moment but in the long run it can (and most likely will) hurt the value of the aircraft when it comes time to sell.
An upgrade is an expensive and time consuming (several months most likely) undertaking. As an example, most Cessna citations have a Pro Line 4 flight deck by Rockwell Collins. Upgrading to a Pro Line 21 will help reduce the workload on your pilots and reduce stress and increase situational awareness. This particular upgrade will be an investment of somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000.
The investment here is more related to how quickly your aircraft sells when you are ready to sell. If your avionics are outdated your aircraft will most likely sit a lot longer on the market. Buyers are going to go with the more modernized aircraft first.
There are times that one would not want to upgrade. If someone is ready to sell their aircraft, it would not be advisable to upgrade your avionics at this time if they haven’t already done so. Take the maximum you can get from the sale and move on.