Instruments

HistoryBuff

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For those wanting to keep ROUND dials in their aircraft, Aircraft Quality Instruments, Inc., in Wichita, is probably one of the world's top shops for almost every round dial made in the last half-century (and they will even work on some that are older).

They claim a really low failure/return rate (far below the norm), and if you've ever seen how lovingly they treat the instruments, you'd believe it.

They sell major-name certified rebuilt instruments, and offer exchange (from a huge immediately-ready stock of hundreds of instruments) or overhaul of almost anything you need:
  • Attitude gyros
  • Directional gyros
  • Altimeter
  • Airspeed
  • Compass
  • Clock
  • VSI (Vertical Speed Indicator / Rate-of-Climb Indicator),
  • Turn & Bank / Turn & Slip
  • Turn Coordinator
...even autopilot gyros, and old AN-style gyros.
Apparently they handle ALL the major brands,
including:
  • A.I.M.
  • Aeritalia
  • B.F.Goodrich
  • Bendix
  • Brittain
  • E.G.C.
  • Edo-Aire
  • Garwin
  • General Design
  • King
  • Kollsman
  • Pioneer
  • R.C. Allen
  • Sperry
  • U.S. Gauge
  • United
Some ENGINE stuff too (tachometer, manifold pressure & fuel pressure / fuel flow gauges, for instance).

Expert refinishing shop does a sharp, first-class job on refurbishing instrument dials -- even with the logos -- silk screened or pad-printed.

Owner, LeRoy Nguyen, is probably one of the world's top living experts on round dials (has overhauled/rebuilt over 18,000, himself, in his lifetime -- including years with one of the main gyro manufacturers). It's dazzling to listen to him describe, in intimate detail, the interior configuration and workings and unique peculiarities of an instrument that you've wandered into their shop with, still holding it in your hand, still unopened. He knows them like they're his friends and family. Even more fascinating if you can sneak a peek over his shoulder when he (or any of his army of techs) does instrument "surgery."

These guys don't just fix round dials -- they LOVE them. They actually get enthusiastically excited to receive an oddball instrument that most shops turn away (though they DO have limits on what they'll work on, as a matter of practicality and safety).

They must be good, because a lot of flight schools (who MUST have instruments that work, and yet beat the hell out of them) use AQI's shop constantly, as do a lot of FBOs and commecial operators (though their declared focus is strictly general aviation propeller aircraft).

Some of their popularity is probably due to hefty, ready supply of in-stock instruments, fast turnaround (I can usually get an instrument fixed and shipped back to me in a few days), and supposed "no-hassle" one-year warranty (I've never put it to the test).

Their website is http://www.flyaqi.com/

P.S.: If you're wanting to drop in by plane, their shop is just 3 blocks east of Westport Airport (71K) (a.k.a. "Dead Cow International") (see http://www.duncanwebsiteservices.com/62/Westport_AG_Sales_and_Service/Westport_Airport.htm )
a basic small, paved, private general aviation airport (2500' with a 400' displaced threshold, leaving 2100' for landing), where noted vintage-plane mechanic Earl Long has his popular lightplane maintenance / warbird restoration shop.

The AQI guys say "just call us from there, and we'll come over and get you."

Tell 'em you saw this on biplaneforum.com !
 
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