This week, the aircraft maintenance engineering team and I, based at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions in Bedfordshire, have been performing a comprehensive overhaul and avionics upgrade on a Piper PA-44-180, a project undertaken on behalf of Cranfield Flying School.

Aerospace electronics technology continues to advance at an astounding pace. This progress is not limited to its use by airlines and the military; it’s becoming increasingly relevant in various industries. General aviation, in particular, has witnessed substantial advancements and modifications. Upgrading any aircraft requires meticulous planning as it significantly enhances system longevity and reliability.

The Piper aircraft originally came equipped with a Garmin GNS-530, but our team is installing two Garmin G5 Primary/Secondary flight displays, integrated into the existing TCAD (Traffic Collision Avoidance Device) and WX-500 Stormscope using ARINC 29 and 232 databus protocols.

Garmin G530


The Garmin G530 is a versatile unit, boasting IFR GPS, communication capabilities, VOR, LOC, glideslope, and a vibrant color moving map, all within a 5” display. However, to accommodate the G5 units, our adept b2 aircraft technicians had to introduce a Garmin CANBUS, along with a GMU 11 Magnetometer in place of the flux valve.

Keeping Current

Given that this aircraft serves the school for multi-engine flying lessons, the G5 units were deemed essential to keep the school’s training program up-to-date and enable its students to harness the full potential of the system.

Aircraft Maintenance in the South East

Beyond the core services of scheduled aircraft maintenance and fault rectification, I, and the Cranfield Aerospace Solutions team, is well-equipped to provide bespoke upgrades to clients’ aircraft, offering expert advice and recommendations. Our Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility is conveniently located at Cranfield University.

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