We chased a gremlin in our Cirrus Perspective avionics

Considering the advanced technical nature of Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics platform we’ve found it relatively trouble-free. But we have encountered one gremlin in our avionics, which occurred before the software version upgrade previously written about last week.

The symptoms included sporadic interruption of engine data to our Multi-Function Display (MFD) and intermittent function of the flight meter. The gremlin materialized red x’s over engine RPM, fuel flow, manifold pressure, and oil temperature. We also received a GEA unit failure message on the Crew Alert System (CAS) and Perspective auxiliary screen.

We took our airplane to a Cirrus Authorized Service Center.  They investigated and attempted trouble shooting the issue but could not correct the problem. They involved the on field avionics specialty shop. And, Garmin customer service was called to help find a resolution. The avionics shop and Garmin ultimately agreed it was the GEA unit and that it would need to be replaced.

The Garmin GEA is the main processing unit that measures many engine and airframe conditions, including engine RPM, manifold pressure, oil temperature & pressure, cylinder head temperature (CHT), exhaust gas temperature (EGT), fuel flow, fuel pressure & fuel levels, electrical system, vacuum system, flaps, etc.

The GEA data stream is visualized on the Multi-Function Display (MFD), Primary Flight Display (PFD) and integrated into the Crew Alert System (CAS) with both aural and audible alerts.

Cost Summary GEA Failure Repair
Description Amount
Garmin GEA 71 replacement unit  600
Avionics shop labor  369
Cirrus shop labor  57
Shipping  161
Total  $1,187

In a shared aircraft ownership, categorizing expense as scheduled or unscheduled is not helpful in determining how to allocate the cost among members.

Typically, only two categories are needed: “fixed expense” and “variable expense.”  This GEA failure would be categorized as a “fixed expense.”  Usually, a fixed cost would be split equally among members because it’s not calculated into the hourly operating rate and it shouldn’t be.  A fixed expense can be incurred regardless of the number of hours the plane is flow.

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