Howard Aviation – LA Area – Maintenance

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    Looking for any feedback on Howard Aviation for Maintenance – I know they do a lot of great avionics but would love to know if anyone has used them for Cessna 400 maintenance.


      They troubleshot my autopilot issue I had after purchasing my plane and I was happy with them. As far as general maintenance goes I have no idea. I know Tom’s aircraft is in the area and a big twin cessna mx shop.


      How is Tom’s aircraft for MX on 414? I have some complex work to be done including pressurziation check of window on co-pilot side and possible replacement.


      My experience was almost 20years ago on a Navajo but it was excellent. Robin Howard was doing 400 mx back then and I am not sure they were even in the avionics business at that time. I am east coast based so not many opportunities to do business currently. My $0.02. Todd


        Kelly, Tom’s has a pressure cart as they pressure tested mine when I had a bad squeal. I just replaced both front windshields and will never do it again. I also replaced the pilots side window which is much easier although the window cost around $1800. I had about 110 hours labor to do the two fronts and one side. As an aside, the side window I got from LP Aero, the only source by the way, they cut the storm window hole 1/4″ too far forward which necessitated redoing the storm window hinges. This just happened last week and I have not talked with LP Aero as yet, but I will. My guess it will cost $6,000 to change the pilots side window-labor and window.

        quote RWELSH:

        Kelly, Tom’s has a pressure cart as they pressure tested mine when I had a bad squeal. I just replaced both front windshields and will never do it again.

        You said will never do it again, what would you do instead? Just wondering about that, was it never do it again with Tom’s and you’d find another shop?

        Mine is co-pilot side and I’m hopeful it’s just a seal.


          Kelly, no I did the windows myself in my hangar. Tom’s wants $11.5K for labor to do the front windshields plus $7 to 8k for the windows. Replacing the windows is a very demanding job as it entails removing the instrument panel, releasing all the wire bundles that are secured behind the panel and just under all the windshield hold-down nuts, and also removing the four vacuum lines that run in the same area, and then removing all the forward interior panels and moving the headliner back about a foot. Then once you get to the nuts, you can’t see them so it is all feel for the bottom 40 nuts. Then the big job is removing the hold-down plates that hold the window in. These plates were installed with a two-part ProSeal sealant which requires gently trying to pry up the plates without bending them as they are soft and irreplaceable. It took over 8 hours to get the plates off after making up a 10 inch chisel 1 1/2 inches wide with a bevel on the end. The Cessna Maintenance Manual details how to make the chisel. The MM also says in one paragraph to remove instrument panel and associated wiring and plumbing–end of instructions! The windows do not come predrilled and are also slightly oversized on the edges. So once the plates are off, the window kicked out, then more fun as you clean the excess sealant off the plates and along side the window frames. Then you lay in the window to see how it fits. Then a little sanding here and a little there. Then you need to drill 114 holes in the correct places-you start with a 3/16″ special acrylic drill and then go to a 3/8″ drill being careful not to chip or crack while drilling–no easy task then countersink all the holes. Then you have to cut 114 rubber grommets for the holes. Now the big fun–trying to get both windshields in and screwed down before the ProSeal sets up which is about 2 hours or less especially if it is hot. Don’t forget the cleanup of all the sealant that got away while you were screwing in 188 screws and putting on the 188 nuts which by the way use a 1/4″ and 7/32″ wrenches as they are the small hex nuts. Then put everything back in place and see what works and doesn’t work and trouble shoot what doesn’t and then do a pitot static check and test flight. Oh I forgot to mention on how to get the wrinkles out of the headliner after it has set around for two weeks all bunched up where you pushed it back to access the top nuts.

          Piece of cake!!! And you wonder why mechanics shy away from this job. Be sure to have plenty of bandages and spray skin around for all the cuts.

          I suspect that Cessna put the windshields in before they put in plumbing and wiring and didn’t worry about ever changing the windshields.


            Toms does all my maintenance for my 340 and I am very happy with them. Everytime I am at Toms, there are at least two other twin Cessnas there. I have seen the window replacement done at Toms on 400 series aircraft and it is a lot of work. I understand that the 340 is even harder to do than the 400 aircraft.



            Ok thanks for the clarification – wondering if Howard has done windows.. I know Craig told me he has done them up at bellingham wa. Just trying to do a one stop shop with avionics.

            Robin at howard has been working on these planes for years, but hard to find alot of references as we are all so scattered. I think I’m 1 of 2 owners of a 414 in idaho.

            I’m very hopeful the window on the co-pilot side that is making the whistle just needs a new seal but I guess either way it’s a lot of work.


            I have used Howard aviation for my 421 and they are excellent.

            quote sbinnette:

            I have used Howard aviation for my 421 and they are excellent.

            You use them for maintenance or avionics only?


            I use them for everything and have had great results. Savvy Mx referred me to them several years ago and I have been using them ever since. A window replacement is a perfect job for them. They are very comfortable with removing/replacing instrument panels and that is a large part of a window replacement. I seen several 400 series in his shop getting windows replaced. I used Toms for my pre-buy and they seemed a little higher priced. But it is hard to tell with just a pre-buy.


            Big help, thanks – looking to use them for MX and AVionics right now.

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