Oshkosh 2011: Avidyne Joining Touchscreen Trend with Plug-and-play Unit

 - July 26, 2011, 6:04 AM

Avidyne signaled that it is joining the trend toward avionics with touchscreen controls by launching its IFD540 FMS/GPS/navcom system at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wis., yesterday. 

The IFD540 is a plug-and-play replacement for Garmin’s GNS530 navigator, slotting into the Garmin tray and taking up the same real estate on the instrument panel. The 10-watt IFD540 will begin shipping in the second half of 2012 and retails for $16,995. A 16-watt upgrade costs $4,995. Integrated Taws-B will be available for $7,995.

While replacement of a GNS530 with an IFD540 will require a supplemental type certificate (STC), configuration setup, flight-manual updates and logbook signoffs, the only airframe change required might be an antenna change. If the GNS530 already has the Waas upgrade, then the antenna shouldn’t need replacing. But if the IFD540 buyer wants Waas capability and does not have a Waas antenna, then he might need a new antenna. The IFD540 weighs exactly the same as the GNS530, thus no change to the weight-and-balance form is needed, although the equipment list will need updating.

In keeping with the goal of making its avionics easy to use, Avidyne retains dedicated buttons and line-select keys in the IFD540 so pilots can use either the touchscreen or physical controls. “You can do virtually all functions in either mode,” said Avidyne president and CEO Dan Schwinn. “We realized that dual-mode is a useful thing and think it’s going to be an advantage.”

The IFD540 includes Avidyne’s TSO-C146c SBAS/LPV FMS with GeoFill waypoint nomination and FMS Vectors capability, which eliminates flight-plan suspension associated with previous-generation systems, according to Avidyne. Other IFD540 features include Avidyne CMax approach charts and airport diagrams, standard Taws, 8.33-KHz frequency spacing and two-channel VHF com and nav radios.

The IFD540 is part of a suite of plug-and-play avionics offered by Avidyne, which also includes the AMX240 stereo-audio panel, AXP340 mode-S extended-squitter transponder and attitude-based DFC90 digital autopilot.

The new AMX240 replaces the Garmin GMA340 and PS Engineering PMA800 audio panels. AMX240 features include marker-beacon receiver, Bluetooth interface (music and full-duplex cell phone), dedicated volume controls for the pilot’s, copilot’s and passengers’ intercoms, a replay button for repeating the last ATC communication and a dedicated split button so one pilot can transmit on Com 1 while the other pilot can transmit on Com 2. Priced at $2,395, the AMX240 will begin shipping in early 2012.

Avidyne’s new mode-S AXP340 transponder is a slide-in replacement for the popular Bendix/King KT76A and KT78A Mode A/C transponders. Retailing for $5,995, including connector kit and mounting tray (but not antenna), the AXP340 will be available early next year, in plenty of time to meet the 2020 ADS-B out mandate.

Key features of the AXP340 include direct-entry numeric keypad, one-touch, VFR-code entry, stop-watch and flight timers, altitude alerter, pressure altitude and GPS lat/long readout and flight ID entry. The AXP340 is panel-mounted and is a Class 1 (240-Watt) mode S, Level 2 1090 MHz datalink transponder with extended squitter.

Adding ADS-B functionality to the AXP340 transponder requires some additional wiring, according to Avidyne. Full ADS-B out and in capability is now available from Avidyne, by installing the AXP340 and TAS600A traffic advisory system, which displays ADS-B signals from ground radar and other 1090 MHz ADS-B out-equipped aircraft. The TAS600A also displays targets from non-ADS-B-equipped aircraft.