Dave Higdon/WICHITA

Cessna Aircraft is reviewing AlliedSignal's sole-source avionics contract for its single piston aircraft. Neither company will comment, but it is believed that Cessna told the avionics manufacturer recently that its contract to supply its Bendix/King products, standard in Cessna's Skyhawks, Skylanes and Stationairs, was under review.

The Wichita-based company is understood to be considering Garmin International and UPS Aviation Technologies (formerly II Morrow) as likely replacements.

Garmin and UPS Aviation Technologies confirm their executives, at the aircraft manufacturer's request, have made extensive product presentations to Cessna.

Sources claim that Cessna's decision is prompted by problems with the initial quality of the avionics delivered to Cessna in Independence, Kansas. A growing gap between the capabilities of Bendix/ King products and the capabilities of other avionics was also a factor.

"Between the problems on the newer boxes and the inability to meet customer demands with AlliedSignal equipment, Cessna thought it was worth taking a look at a change," says a source.

Changing suppliers would incur considerable expense for Cessna, given the need to certificate new equipment in its 172 Skyhawks, 182 Skylanes and 206 Stationairs.

In addition, the manufacturer has spent considerable sums covering the cost of a long series of airworthiness directives and service bulletins issued against the aircraft over the last two years.

Cessna is expected to announce its avionics decision at the forthcoming Experimental Aircraft Association convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, from 28 July-3 August. "The current leaning is toward keeping just one avionics supplier, regardless of which company that may be," concedes a source.

Meanwhile, Cessna has issued a service bulletin for the Stationair models 206H and T206H after the manufacturer found that the aileron stop bolts on some of the aircraft had been installed incorrectly. The service bulletin orders the inspection of more than 50 aircraft delivered to date.

The US Federal Aviation Administration is also expected to publish an airworthiness directive that will require the work before any further flights.

Source: Flight International