Avidyne Teams with Aspen on Autopilot/PFD Combo

 - April 18, 2012, 3:50 AM

Avidyne is close to obtaining certification of its DFC90 autopilot interface with Aspen’s EFD1000 PFD. Avidyne and Aspen Avionics demonstrated Avidyne’s new digital autopilot interfaced with Aspen’s EFD1000 Pro primary flight display (PFD) last month in two flight-test aircraft: a Cessna 182 and a Cirrus SR22. The DFC90 is currently certified in Cirrus SRs and Piper PA-46s equipped with Avidyne Entegra displays.

Aspen holds an approved model list supplemental type certificate (AML-STC) for its Evolution Pro PFD on a range of aircraft, which it is amending to add the new DFC90-compatible v2.6 software. Avidyne and Aspen also confirmed plans to seek certification for DFC90/Aspen PFD configurations in other models, including a Beech Bonanza and Baron certification program in the second quarter as well as the Piper PA-32 series. Avidyne and Aspen are continuing to gauge customer interest in future programs and additional airframes.

“This program is now well along,” said Avidyne CEO Dan Schwinn, who estimates that 30 percent of all Cirrus aircraft already are flying with the DFC90, which is gaining in popularity for its features, including full-time flight envelope alerting. As part of the installation process, installers enter specific flight parameters in the system. He said that Avidyne’s development of its own servo/actuators would make the DFC90 more appealing to operators of a wider variety of aircraft. The DFC90 autopilot will use Avidyne’s new ASA575 servos for installations in aircraft with no previous autopilot, or when upgrading an aircraft from a previously installed King autopilot. Aircraft owners upgrading from an S-Tec or Century autopilot will have the choice of using the existing servos or installing new Avidyne ASA575s.

“We initially launched the DFC90 to have plug-and-play compatibility with existing S-Tec autopilot servos in the large installed base of late-model Entegra-equipped aircraft,” said Patrick Herguth, Avidyne’s COO. “To expand the DFC90 into a wider range of aircraft and to replace the aging fleet of legacy analog autopilots, we found that we really needed to have our own servos to ensure dependability, reliability and overall system performance.”

The DFC90 autopilot starts at $9,995 plus installation for piston singles and $14,995 for piston twins and turbines. Aspen Evolution Pro PFDs start at $10,180 plus installation. The software unlock for integrating the DFC90 is priced at $1,995, excluding labor. ASA575 servos will be available later this year, priced in accordance with specific-model supplemental type certificate (STC) kits.

“Having our own servos opens up yet another market for Avidyne,” said Schwinn. o