|OOB||Blue Mountain Avionics||
Blue Mountain has been out of business for several years, but this information might be useful to someone buying a second-hand system or used aircraft.
We purchased (and flew) a BMA generation 3 system and had a love-hate relationship with it and the company for years. A gen4 update was sold briefly but I didn't have any experience with it. The gen3 was fairly easy to install, in my opinion, and the interface was extremely intuitive. In fact, I still prefer it to my GRT, which I really like, but the BMA was easier. The problem was it wasn't reliable. I don't know why. It would go for several hours without any issue, and then the horizon would just fall off to one side or the other, by like 20-30 degrees. This did not inspire confidence so we replaced it and sold off our used equipment to a fellow Velocity builder who's screen had failed. Our screens later failed, so he bought more used equipment, which also failed so he swapped it out for a Garmin G3X stack.
I believe you can still get terrain databases on the web through a network of owners, but I would only fly one of these day VFR.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Grand Rapids Avionics/GRT||
We installed our first GRT while still flying our Blue Mountain system, and it was a "Sport" we were using as a backup (because of our lack of confidence of the BMA). When we eventually decided to replace the BMA, GRT gave us a generous trade-in allowance, a practice I believe they still support, in credit for a dual screen, dual AHRS Hx system. We later added a third (larger) screen to the system.
The GRT install was (in my opinion) slightly more complicated than the BMA, partly because they bought the EIS engine management system from (if I recall correctly) Todd somebody, and used an interface to this as the engine component, which had to be installed separately. And the interface is, I think, slightly more complicated than it needs to be. On the other had, it *does work*, which is a real plus. They have, in my opinion, the largest interoperability to other systems, which is awesome, so I've hooked up CO Guardian CO/Pulse Oximeter sensors, Radenna SkyRadar, WxWorx weather, SL30, GTN650, Vertical Power VP-X, Trio Pro autopilot, and other external devices to mine. I would recommend them to others.
I got an overhauled IO-550 from Western Skyways. They were great to work with and helped with my special request to install high compression pistons. I chose overhauled instead of new because the special pistons were going to require disassembly either way.
I have noticed that there are a number of engine parts that some shops consider "optional" that Western Skyways sent me at no additional charge. Things like: the silver-plated nuts for the exhaust stack, the metered fuel flow tubing from the throttle to the spider, and some of the hard-to-find brass fittings for fuel and oil connections. I didn't ask for these; Western just considered them part of the package. It saved me hundreds of dollars and many hours.
We purchased a rebuildable core IO540 from Gene Svoboda in 2004. Gene has since passed away and I'm pretty sure the shop has closed, but there are still engines they built around if you're looking for used. If you watch this video of Scott Swing flying our airplane, he comments that this is the smoothest 6 cylinder Lycoming he's ever flown. We have been very happy with our engine, which was completely custom, and everything was balanced and match to run this well.
Good reputations in the airplane engine business are hard to make and keep, and although Magnum wasn't universally loved (I've run across a couple of not-completely-satisfied customers along the years) generally Magnum's reputation was very good. Gene told me that he'd worked on the Porsche airplane engine project and built engines for Richard Petty. I don't have any corroboration of those claims, but I believed him. Here is an interesting article hearlding their capability Magnum rebuilds Shrike engines.
It's a toss-up if this should be airframe or something else (avionics?), but I'm putting it here. A couple of builders have used SET to engrave things, like our control stick. They wouldn't guarantee the quality since the stick was hard for their equipment to get a hold of, but we were very please, especially on a stick with many functions like JD's Infinity.
Check out more at our panel page.