Avionics Sales Reflect Strong Refurb Market
Sales of avionics for business and general aviation airplanes were up 2.7% in the first six months of 2017 over the same period last year, according to the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), but not because people are buying more airplanes. “Forward-fit” sales—those avionics systems intended for new aircraft—were down a remarkable 17.3%. The loss of forward-fit sales was overcome for GA avionics makers by strong sales for the retrofit market, up 26.3% to $644 million in the first half of the year. "It's encouraging to see a positive increase in year-over-year sales for two straight quarters, something we haven't experienced since 2014," said AEA President Paula Derks.
Sales are not broken out by system type, but the regulatory requirement for aircraft operating in Mode C airspace to be equipped with ADS-B Out by 2020 plays some role in the strong retrofit sales numbers. Based on product announcements at AirVenture 2017, avionics manufacturers, sensing the trend, seem also to be focusing more energy on the retrofit market. Dynon announced plans there to begin certifying its SkyView flight deck system. Garmin recently announced two new autopilots specifically for the retrofit market, the GFC 500 and GFC 600. TruTrak and Trio also announced new STCs for their autopilots for installation in more certified aircraft at the show.