Primary flight displays, WAAS GPS, and ADS-B Out transponders are no longer reserved for new airplanes. Below is a typical late-1990s Cessna 172 panel, with a vacuum-driven attitude indicator and directional gyro (DG), a non-WAAS GPS, and a traditional Mode C transponder. It's a workhorse flight school airplane, but the vacuum pump is less reliable than a digital attitude indicator, the GPS can't be upgraded to fly LPV approaches, and the transponder needs to be replaced to meet the 2020 ADS-B mandate.

Before panel

 

Here's the same airplane with six major upgrades. The airplane is now ready for the next decade, but without ripping the panel apart. In fact, the total package costs less than $15,000 for the avionics (installation is additional).

Panel After

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Products Shown Above:

  1. Garmin G5 Attitude Indicator. A reliable, solid-state attitude indicator that replaces the vacuum-driven attitude indicator. Includes a vibrant color screen, backup altitude and airspeed tapes, and even a built-in battery for complete redundancy. $2249 - Shop Now
  2. Garmin G5 DG/HSI. The perfect companion to the G5 Attitude Indicator, this modern DG/HSI eliminates the need for a vacuum pump and the need to constantly set your DG. Works with Garmin GNS and GTN series navigators, as well as most popular autopilots. $3075 - Shop Now
  3. Garmin GMA 345 Audio Panel. A major upgrade over legacy audio panels, this feature-packed model includes Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair your phone, USB charging, crystal clear audio, and Garmin's exclusive 3D Audio feature. $1895 - Shop Now
  4. Garmin GPS 175 Touchscreen GPS. A breakthrough navigator from Garmin, the GPS 175 is a fully IFR-approved WAAS GPS that enables pilots to fly LPV approaches to thousands of airports. The touchscreen interface is easy to use and offers quick access to terrain maps, airspace alerts, airport information, and much more. $4295 - Shop Now
  5. Appareo Stratus ESG ADS-B Transponder. Most airplanes will need a new transponder to meet the FAA's 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The Stratus ESG offers a great all-in-one solution, including the ability to integrate with a portable Stratus 2/2S/3 ADS-B receiver. You'll meet the mandate but also have a reliable, digital transponder with push-button code entry. $2995 - Shop Now
  6. Appareo Stratus Power USB Charging Port. Keeping all those portable devices charged, from iPads to ADS-B receivers, means USB ports are essential. Unfortunately, most older airplanes lack any options for charging beyond a basic cigarette lighter. This TSO-approved solution offers dual 2.4 amp charging ports. $349 - Shop Now

Total hardware cost: $14,858