Switch to Aspen 2000 Max. Do I keep the Altimeter, A.S.I. and A.H.I. "steam" gauges ?

Hi everyone. I'm getting ready to switch the panel in my 182Q to the Aspen 2000 Max system, which means (due to redundancy) I no longer am required to keep a separate Altimeter, A.S.I. and A.H.I. (artificial horizon indicator) in the panel. My installer asked me if I wanted to keep them or not. My first response was "No, why would I keep the old gauges when they are superfluous?" He pointed out that even in the new Cessna's they still have those units as back up. Which amazed me, especially the vacuum operated A.H.I. Why, on an $800K+ aircraft would they want to keep the "guaranteed to break every 500 hrs" vacuum system in place? At least they could go to a Garmin G5 unit (or an electric A.H.I.) to eliminate the vacuum system. Anyway, my question was why do they leave any of the three? Unless possibly the Glass panel they use (is it a G1000?) does not have redundancy? My question(s) are; 1.) Are the glass panels in new Cessna's redundant? 2.) What would you do? Thanks for the advice! Bill

Comments

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Hi, In my 8 aircraft over 55 years I've never lost a vacuum system or any component in it. In two years of owning a glass panel, including Aspen, I've been grounded twice for long periods due to AD's on my glass instruments. Aspen has been one of them...

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Hi Scott!
    Thanks for the comment. Well, you have a bunch more experience than I do, but my luck hasn’t been as good as yours on vacuum pumps! I’ve owned my 182 about four years and into my second rebuilt pump. About 300 hrs on the first one (maybe I should’ve bought new?).
    My mechanic owned a Mooney and he replaced four in about 2,000 hrs. He commented he usually sees about 500 hrs out of a pump in many cases. I’m also going on what other avionics people are saying. Granted, I know they are trying to sell their product 😏 but there must be a reason why we are seeing more glass panels than steam gauges in new stuff. I doubt it’s because it looks cool, and is just a fad.. I agree there’s going to be issues with the new Electronic stuff, especially the first few generations. Based on your comment I’m assuming you would keep the vacuum A.I. along with the glass panel. Would you keep the altimeter and, airspeed indicator too? What do you think of the Uavionics AV-30 as a backup?

  • Hi Bill, I have one and a half R182's The one I own outright had the two screen Aspen Max installed early last year when doing all the ADS-B upgrades. It has the S-Tec 60 autopilot which uses the TC as part of the system so that had to stay in. Also there was no reason to take out the airspeed indicator so we left that in. The altimeter was removed as there was no room left on the pilot's side. After flying for a year, next month I am moving the JPI over to the co pilots side and reinstalling the altimeter. When in real IFR I like the instant gratification of knowing the positions and relative movements of the needles, and not just the really tiny tapes on the Aspen. The R182 I own half with a friend has an original non working Cessna 300A autopilot and we are removing the Loran this weekend. That one will be VFR only!

  • I am the “lucky one”, I suppose. In 12 years of flying Archers/Cessnas with vacuum systems, to a dual Aspen set up, never any failures of either systems. Of course, now I have set Murphy’s Law into motion…ha

  • Thanks for all the responses guys!
    I get the "glitches" thing... my JPI 930 went totally blank on me a couple times. The first time JPI thought it might be a weak battery in the aircraft or an update was needed... The second time it happened they sent me a new unit! (next day shipping was on JPI!). Great customer Service! I do see why one might like the gauge instead of the tape, so that is one reason to keep the existing (if there is room). Although some have had no issues with a vacuum system, and I don't have any empirical data I can point to, I'm reasonably sure the vac. pump & piping is not the strongest part of the avionics system. I'm also thinking about the AV-30 unit as the "second backup"... Thoughts?

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Hi Bill,
    I installed an AV-30 several months ago in my backup position. Very good, I recommend it highly!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited March 7

    I put in Avidyne 540, two G5’s, JPI 830. Kept Airspeed, VSI, Mechanical compass and Altimeter as back ups. I find steam gages easier to quickly scan and read. Steam gauges read like a clock - a quick glance is all you need. Raised in corporate world with computers and they’re great when working. But every large company has in house IT support for a reason. Computers do things by themselves. After weeks of printing, one morning computer that used same printer yesterday, can no longer see the same
    printer it used yesterday... Reboot. Then call to IT if doesn’t work.
    I feel same about new electronics. Love them when functioning, but I know they will fail for some reason, some time. Old aviation saying, One is none and two is one. Redundancy has a purpose!

  • I have an older Cessna 182L model. I recently upgraded my panel with the Aspen Pro Max 2000 like you did. I elected to remove my vacuum pump and everything except my turn coordinator. With a pro max 2000, as you know you have redundancy. I dropped 16 pounds of front weight with minimal increase in Payload and slight shift in center of gravity. I am an old round dial pilot having flown helicopters in the army since the early 1980s up until I retired in 2009. I did not have any glass panels or even a GPS during my military career. So when I got back into flying about three years ago and then upgraded my panel to glass last year, I found it very easy to transition completely to glass. I have not had any Significant issues with the Aspen at all. My next trip north I will be visiting my Avionics installer and having them confirm the headings in the Aspen as they are off by about 11° from my magnetic compass. This is an easy adjustment on the their part but not one that I can do.

    The main reason that I went with the Aspen system rather than what seems to be the most popular (Garmin) was that the Aspen will talk to Legacy auto pilot. So my STEC 50 Will now follow my entire GPS Flight Plan including approaches holds and missed, rather than just the heading bug which was all it was able to do before.

    That cost savings may be more significant if I ever decide to go with a digital auto pilot. If I go with the STEC Digital auto pilot so that rather than just holding altitude it will actually change altitude and preselect altitude, I can keep my current servos and wiring. My installer told me that would probably save me $10,000 if I’ll like it to go that route versus a complete new install.

    My GPS is a Garmin 650.

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