PS Engineering finds good things come in small packages

 - February 23, 2011, 8:55 AM

PS Engineering has found a big market for the small package that is its PAV80 audio/video entertainment system.

Introduced in 2005, the PAV80 is now the Knoxville, Tenn.-based audio control specialist’s “most advanced system,” said president and CEO Mark Scheuer. It incorporates AM/FM radio, CD, MP3 and MP3Pro for music, as well as DVD video. A 5.6-inch LCD monitor is included in the basic package; three more monitors can be added with the use of an optional video distribution amplifier. Standard NTSC (analog) and S-video output is compatible with most monitors.

Coupled to an audio control system, such as the PMA8000B, the PAV80 gives the pilot and copilot access to the audio. The audio output is “compatible with most intercoms and audio systems.” No outside antenna is required with the single- or multi-monitor packages. The PAV80 has an auxiliary audio input, which would lend itself to connecting to portable audio devices, such as Sirius satellite radio or an iPod.

The entertainment system can be mounted in a cabinet or in the aircraft cockpit panel avionics stack. All that is required for remote, full-function control is a bulkhead-mounted remote sensor.

The system’s electronics are built around the raw hardware, “allowing for a lot of cool stuff, like multi-tasking,” said Scheuer. Included among options is auxiliary video interface that will permit input from a tail- or belly-mounted camera.

Unfortunately for owners of most light jets, the PAV80 is not available on aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. The reason was simply the relative ease of winning an STC from the FAA for smaller aircraft, according to Scheuer. But it is PMA (parts manufacturer approval) approved for and flying in some 450 different aircraft models, including Hawker Beechcraft’s King Airs, the Pilatus PC-12 and the TBM700.

The single-monitor package is light (2.8 pounds), but Scheuer points out that it is another feature, the price, that catches the most attention. The single-monitor system costs just $3,000 (uninstalled), and the four-monitor package comes in at $5,000. He added that the downtime required for installation of the retrofit item is one or two days, depending on the complexity of the installation and whether the buyer wants a single monitor or more. If installed by one of PS Engineering’s 650 dealers nationwide, the PAV80 comes with a one-year warranty.

Scheuer said there are no plans for the company to expand into the heavier jet market, but that some new products for lighter aircraft will be unveiled at the AEA International Convention & Trade Show in Reno, Nev. (March 22 to 25)

“We might be small, but being small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or growth,” he concluded.