The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Benefit Analysis for Proline 4 to 21 Cockpit Upgrade

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 @ 08:25 AM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Installation Tech Rep and Patrick Mapes, Assistant Manager Avionics Install

Z  Website Blog photo PL21

When asked to justify a major expenditure, such as a cockpit upgrade, the ultimate challenge is being able to quantify the benefits. When considering if your company should upgrade your Proline 4 equipped aircraft to Proline 21, it is important to thoroughly understand why the glass cockpit retrofit is a worthwhile investment.

Proline 21 (PL21) provides greater margins for safety over the Proline 4. The cockpit upgrade includes WAAS/LPV, XM Weather Video and Electronic Charts.

  • WAAS/LPV integration provides state-of-the-art navigational performance and access to WAAS /LPV procedures that reduce cost and improve safety. 
  • XM Weather and Nexrad radar provide valuable meteorological information substantially increasing the aircraft’s safety margins and improves the crew’s ability to plan for passenger comfort and contingencies, while in flight.
  • Electronic charts that include an overlaid aircraft symbol increases situational awareness during ground operations and significantly reduces crew load during departure and approach procedures. This is provided by the installation of the IFIS-5000 charts system, where a single or dual (optional) file server may be installed.

Aircraft & Avionics Longevity

PL21 is an avionics suite that will last a generation. It is currently installed on production aircraft today. Displays, AHRS equipment and Datalink products are a few of the systems that will likely become obsolete in the near future.

  • CRT Displays—Because it was too cost prohibitive for OEMs to manufacture their own cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, for years they relied upon commercial CRT manufacturers, such as Sony Trinitron. As commercial manufacturers began to phase out CRTs, so did OEMs. Currently, there are very few electronics manufacturers specializing in the high voltage components required for these applications, it is likely that CRT parts will become more difficult to obtain in the future.
  • AHRS—This year Rockwell Collins issued End Of Life (EOL) on their popular AHS-85E AHRS Line. Meaning that beyond a certain date, they will no longer guarantee repair or replacement support. I suggest you begin thinking about alternatives at your next C-check. he AHS-3000(optional) is installed with the PL21, if the existing AHRS system is an AHS-85E. The AHS-3000 is a solid state AHRS system that is lighter, and more reliable than its predecessor.
  • Datalink—For years, the primary datalink system in the Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX was the Global Wulfsberg DMU. While Honeywell has not issued EOL on this part, FANS 1/a compliance mandates will likely spell the end of these systems for owners who perform European operations. The PL21 retrofit STC includes an optional CMU-4000. The CMU-4000 is a modern ACARS product that is tentatively scheduled to receive Fans 1/a compliant datalink certification in 2012 and may be integrated with a satcom platform to provide global datalink support.


The warranty on the PL21 cockpit upgrade comes with two years of CASP for free that also covers any current Rockwell Collins cockpit equipment already installed but not replaced with the retrofit (excluding Airshow and Cabin components).

Increased Aircraft Value

While aircraft value is subjective, it is clear that operators who invest to keep their avionics current perform better on the secondary aircraft market.

Paperless Cockpit

The requirements for a paperless cockpit include a myriad of factors. The optional installation of the IFIS-5000 Charts Servers contributes greatly to any paperless cockpit effort.

In our experience, we have found the customers who have elected to have their aircraft down for a major modification like PL21 are also interested in accomplishing other upgrades at the same time. During the same time it takes to accomplish the PL21 retrofit, an aircraft can receive complete paint, newly designed interior refurbishment, engine overhaul and, if applicable, winglet installation.

Once you’ve decided to commit to the PL21 retrofit, your analysis doesn’t end. For a project of this size, always perform the proper maintenance event planning, making sure that your chosen service facility has the skills, experience and appropriate STCs necessary to match your project requirements.

Duncan Aviation has the experience and skill necessary to perform major avionics upgrades for cabin and cockpit systems with experts trained to the highest standards available by professional training organizations such as CAE Simuflite and Flightsafety. Additionally, Duncan has performed more winglet modifications on F2000 / 2000EXs than all other service centers combined.

For  more information about  the Proline 4 to 21 retrofit, contact Duncan Aviation’s Avionics Installation experts located in both Battle Creek, Mich. (BTL), and Lincoln, Neb. (LNK).

 Adrian Chene serves as an Avionics Tech. Rep. for Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Mich. (BTL) facility, specializing in Astra / Westwind, Challenger, Citation, Embraer, Falcon, Gulfstream, Hawker and Learjet aircraft. He began working in aviation in 1996. Patrick Mapes serves as Assistant Manager Avionics Installations in Battle Creek, Mich. (BTL). He began working in aviation in 1997.

Tags: Avionics Installation


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