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GULF COAST AVIONICS Completes IFR-Approved, Garmin G500 Glass panel upgrade on a pilatus PC-7 turboprop 

Ex-Austrian Air Force PC-7 military trainer is transformed into a new-generation, high-performance, fully IFR, sport/aerobatic aircraft.

Lakeland, FL (DATE) 2015  — Rick Garcia, President and CEO, Gulf Coast Avionics Corporation announced today that the company has recently completed a full-panel upgrade on a former Austrian Air Force Pilatus PC-7 for Legacy Warbirds.

“This was a really fun and exciting project for our engineers and installers,” Garcia said. “After spending the majority of their time working on installations the array of typical business and general aviation aircraft, it’s nice to get a truly high-performance turboprop like the PC-7 in our shop.” 

“When we started spec’ing out the avionics upgrade, the owner’s main objective was to have as much commonality between the PC-7 and his TBM as he possibly could,” explained Alexander (AJ) Silva, Managing Member, Legacy Warbirds. “He wanted optimum system familiarity for an easy transition between the two aircraft.” 

Silva said that Legacy’s design team specified all of the avionics required and did the preliminary panel design. They also installed the Garmin GTN 750 touchscreen at their West Coast reassembly location before flying the PC-7 to Gulf Coast Avionics’ facility in Lakeland, FL. 

“To our knowledge, this is the first installation of the GTN 750 and a G500 in a PC-7,” Andy Smith, GCA’s Installation Sales Manager stated. “The equipment is all part of Garmin’s AML STC, which helped, but this installation still had its share of challenges for our team.”

Smith explained that one of the biggest was their engineers did not have a full set of PC-7 drawings to work with so they had to create all of the interfaces for the new equipment and the legacy units that remained in the aircraft.


“Since the airplane was built in Switzerland, nothing was in English so it took a lot of extra time to translate,” Smith said. “And it’s a pretty small airplane in the cockpit. Running wires and finding ways to mount the equipment was a challenge. But, the result is pretty cool.”

Smith explained that the PC-7’s IFR-approved panel now features:

• Garmin GTN 750 Touchscreen GPS/NAV/COMM/MFD

• Garmin G500 glass PFD/MFD display

• Garmin GDL-88 ADS-B transceiver

• Dual Garmin GNC 225 NAV/COMMs 

• Garmin GTR 225 COMM only transceiver

• Garmin GMA 35 audio panel

• L3 Trilogy Electronic Standby Instrument

• Avidyne TAS 620 Traffic Advisory System

While everyone at Gulf Coast was very happy with the final panel, none more than the company’s Chief Inspector, Sarah Smith. 

“When Sarah went up with Matt Walsh from Legacy on the test flight, they wrung it out pretty good and she came back with this huge grin on her face,” Smith said. “She said it was the most exciting (for all the good reasons) test flight she’d ever been on. 

And Ms. Smith isn’t the only person excited about the upgraded PC-7. 

“The customer is absolutely thrilled with the way the aircraft and panel turned out,” Silva said. “We couldn’t be happier with the effort the Gulf Coast Avionics team put into this aircraft considering there were a lot of firsts for all of us during this process. The communication and professionalism from Gulf Coast was beyond what we could have hoped for.”  

About Legacy Warbirds

Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Legacy Warbirds specializes in bringing Cold War-era, ex-military aircraft to the United States from Western European countries and preparing them for their new owners. The company provides aircraft location, acquisition, restoration, pilot training and ongoing support of these unique and collectable aircraft. For more information, visit: wwww.legacywarbirds.com




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