Bendix/King unveils SVS handhelds

 - September 24, 2008, 5:12 AM

Although EAA’s AirVenture 2008 wasn’t a big show for avionics manufacturers, Honeywell’s Bendix/King showed that the manufacturer is serious about the general aviation market with the introduction of the new AV8OR Handheld navigator and two AV8OR synthetic-vision system (SVS) handheld/electronic flight bag (EFB) units.

The portable navigator sans SVS is simply called the AV8OR Handheld. The two SVS units are the AV8OR Horizon 3D and AV8OR Vision 3D. These are both derived from Honeywell’s licensing of Mercury Computing Systems’ VistaNav SVS products in April. VistaNav was offered in two versions, the CIS-1000 and more capable CIS-2000 EFB, both running on Motion Computing tablet computers. But for the Bendix/King implementation Honeywell switched to a Samsung Q1 Ultra Tablet PC for the Horizon 3-D version (formerly CIS-1000) and dedicated EFB computer for the Vision 3D. Both the Horizon and the Vision display 2-D and 3-D synthetic-vision views of the outside world, with air data and gyroscopic sensor data provided by associated hardware. Honeywell is making changes to the Horizon system and is not currently selling it, but the Vision EFB is available now.

Honeywell began selling the AV8OR Handheld on the opening day of AirVenture, and the units were flying off dealers’ shelves, according to the manufacturer, likely because the unit’s price–$749–is so much lower than that of Garmin units with similar capabilities. The Handheld is both an aviation and automobile navigator with other features such as remote GPS capability, checklist, flight planning, movie/e-book/MP3 player and picture viewer. The Handheld’s user interface is a snappy 4.3-inch touchscreen, which works quite well given the small size of the icons that offer information at the tap of a finger.

The best feature of the new Bendix/ King Handheld is the touchscreen. To look up the information for a waypoint depicted on the display, the user simply touches the waypoint and up pops the information. If the screen senses that the user has touched more than one item on the screen, a popup menu offers a choice of items, and the user can touch the desired selection to see the information. This feature works smoothly and consistently and is much easier than moving the cursor around the screen with a toggle switch.

For about an additional $400, Handheld buyers can add XM satellite weather from WxWorx, for a total street price of $1,135. The WxWorx receiver communicates wirelessly with the handheld, via Bluetooth, so it can be placed anywhere nearby, in the back seat maybe, as long as the antenna has a clear view of the sky.

Honeywell also announced at AirVenture that its new Bendix/King Apex Edge series KFD 840 PFD ($16,995) can now be ordered, with delivery starting at the end of the year, and the KSN 770 MFD ($13,995) can be ordered starting next month, for delivery beginning in the first quarter of next year.