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Old 04-04-2019, 10:55 AM
Xkuzme1's Avatar
Xkuzme1 Xkuzme1 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: KC, MO
Posts: 375
Default $1100 IFR Check - Duncan Aviation - KMKC

So I was in a pinch for my IFR Transponder Static Check. I needed to get it done quickly. I called Duncan Aviation at MKC and they quoted me $450. I thought that was high, but they were close so I went ahead and paid a premium.

I got a call today telling me it would be almost $1100. Said it was 10 hours of labor because there was 1) a leak in the static system, and 2) They had to calibrate my altimeter.

First of all, even if there was a leak in my static system it should have been easy to diagnose and fix. The static system goes from the transponder, is T?d off to my GRT Efis and encoder, then goes to the back of the airplane for the static port. I could replumb the entire system in 1 hour. There are only a couple of places for a failure to occur, and they are literally 8 inches apart.

So he had to calibrate my GRT Efis. Literally that is going into the menu and turning some knobs, and couldn?t have taken more than 5 minutes.

I believe that I am full on being screwed by Duncan Aviation.

Thoughts? What would you do?

RV-4 - 0-320 (160HP)
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:09 AM
rdrcrmatt rdrcrmatt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 311

First, always get a quote for work to be done on your aircraft. Make sure the shop knows they are not authorized to exceed that amount without authorization.

I'd recommend politely explaining your understanding of the system and it's calibration. Ask him for a detail of the work done for those 10 hours. Basically, prove HOW it took 10 hours.
CFI / RV-10
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:33 AM
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Auburntsts Auburntsts is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 2,905

Did anything you signed or told them give them authorization to do any work necessary? Otherwise I'd call the manager to discuss why they performed work without approval and that any work performed without authorization was on them.
Todd "I drink and know things" Stovall
RV-10 N728TT - Flying!
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:55 AM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 3,488

I would have thought maybe a charge for calibrating altimeter if it was a steam gauge but the EIFS is as simple and quick as you described.

As a reference, my IFR Pitot-static check cost $250 and he came to my hanger. There was no leak and if there was, I would have ask him that I will fix it. A couple of shops quoted me $450 and I would have needed to fly to them.
N825SM RV7A - IO360M1B - SOLD
N825MS RV14A - IO390 - Flying
Dues paid

Last edited by Bavafa : 04-04-2019 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:59 AM
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pilotkms pilotkms is online now
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 454

Have had mine done twice $300+. One guy started on a look-see Adventure and I helped him with his issue. NEVER leave the plane.
RV 7A RV #9700 May 2017
N325KS the Flying K
Built in SoCal KCCB, now in GA @ KPXE
600+ Hours & 7X cross the USA
OSH flyin 2018 & 2019 & Petit Jean 2019
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:27 PM
redbaron redbaron is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Lucerne,Ca
Posts: 272
Thumbs down Duncan

Stay away from Duncan. And thanks for letting us know
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Old 04-04-2019, 01:31 PM
Paul 5r4 Paul 5r4 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Foley, Al
Posts: 596

Hmmmm... I didn't know there was that much vaseline available! I once heard of a cessna 150 getting an annual insp by an FBO that nearly matched the cost of the aircraft. I don't know whatever became of that. So there is a clear and concise understanding of what they can and can't do.... always something in writing for sure.

I'm not a legal person at all but.... It's my understanding that a business can charge what ever they want for their services however..... if it were to be challenged in a court of law, it is my understanding that with the proper proof, (quotes from a couple other like business that provide the same service), the judge will always find in your favor. I think you only have to pay what is considered "reasonable and customary."

I would get a couple quotes from another shop and maybe approach them with a reasonable settlement and at the same time let them know if they don't settle you'll be taking them to small claims court.
Paul Gray
Foley, Alabama
N729PG..... 450+ hrs
RV 7A, Lycoming 0 320 D1A, Sensenich FP propeller
VAF supporter $$$
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Old 04-04-2019, 01:50 PM
bkthomps bkthomps is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Destin
Posts: 1,543

i've never had duncan come in at the original estimate, they try whatever they can to increase it

the best incident i had was before garmin gave you the ability to update GTN's in experimental, they tried to charge me 9 hours of labor to upgrade the software on the GTN

garmin has a block rate of 1.5hrs for it in the manual, they ended up giving me a shop credit, but not a refund

seems to be their biz model
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Old 04-04-2019, 02:08 PM
noelf noelf is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cary, N.C.
Posts: 1,233

Just some things to consider:
Did you stay with the airplane while the static system was tested? Even for a simple static line run from port to branches to encoder, I have found most avionics shops have no clue as to how someone ran the lines on an experimental a/c. To diagnose a leak, they start under the panel and start tracing lines as best they can until they find the leak. The altimeter is probably the first place they start because it only has the static port attachment.

The altimeter needs to match the txponder signal +/- within some number of feet which needs to match the test set. And for IFR cert, if the altimeter is off, then it gets pulled and tested separately and hopefully bench adjusted within specifications.

Do you have ADSB out? That piece of avionics drove the shops to invest in a $25,000 piece of test equipment and that drove up the price for both VFR and IFR cert testing.

And finally, if they are not familiar with the glass cockpit displays, then there is a learning curve time line that you will be paying for.
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Old 04-04-2019, 02:17 PM
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rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 9,202

Originally Posted by noelf View Post

Do you have ADSB out? That piece of avionics drove the shops to invest in a $25,000 piece of test equipment and that drove up the price for both VFR and IFR cert testing.
First I have heard of it.
Can you give additional details regarding this?

I have coordinated the xponder certification on a bunch of ADSB equiped aircraft and there was been nothing special done beyond what had always been required by FAR 91.413.
Opinions, information and comments are my own unless stated otherwise. They do not necessarily represent the direction/opinions of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Van's Aircraft Engineering Prototype Shop Manager
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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