NBAA Convention News

Sandel’s ‘hi-def’ EHSI lights cockpit with LEDs

 - November 7, 2006, 5:31 AM

Light-emitting diodes (LED) as the backlighting source for glass avionics? Thanks to a patented design from Sandel Avionics, that’s precisely what the Vista, Calif. avionics maker is introducing here this week.

The SN4500 electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI) features the industry’s first high-definition LED display. FAA supplemental type certificates (STC) have cleared the way for the SN4500 to begin shipping this week, Sandel said. The approvals allow the LED-backlit SN4500 to be installed by dealers in all qualifying turbine and piston-powered aircraft operated under Parts 23 and 25.

Sandel is demonstrating the SN4500 at its booth (No. 4414) alongside an earlier
Sandel EHSI display unit to offer a direct comparison of the color quality and image resolution. The new product features better image brightness, contrast, resolution and color over a longer operating lifetime, initially projected at 10,000 hours MTBF. Other advantages of LED technology, according to Sandel, are lower power consumption, an instant-on function and a safe, environmentally friendly light source.

“These STCs mean the next generation of panel displays has officially arrived,” noted Sandel CEO Gerry Block. The company has been working on the technology for some time, he said. “With resolution of 200 pixels per inch versus the glass cockpit standard of 100, a true 360-degree viewing angle, color accuracy and saturation equal to that of high-definition television, aviation now has its first high-definition avionics unit.”

Sandel bills the new display as ideal for retrofit installation in such aircraft as Cessna Citations, the Learjet 20 series and other jets with 4- or 5-ATI (roughly about four and five inches diagonal display width) indicators, saying that the SN4500 offers significant advantages over older EFIS and electromechanical HSI displays.

Sandel’s SmartLight display technology, incorporating a patented LED backlighting technique, makes the SN4500 EHSI what the company calls an “affordable, easy-to-install aftermarket upgrade.” To simplify installation, the SN4500 includes SandelSmart I/O, which makes it easily compatible with a wide range of existing digital and analog avionics as a “plug-and-play” replacement display. Its introductory retail price is $19,500.

The SN4500 is physically interchangeable with legacy 4-ATI electromechanical indicators and EFIS display units, “and with its pilot-friendly interface and powerful navigation capabilities, the unit helps aircraft operators feel good about upgrading their panels,” Block said.

Its benefits include the ability to accept, process and display a full complement of nav and safety sensor inputs. The SN4500 includes a color moving map, HSI, traffic and weather overlays, and a self-contained Jeppesen NavData database. It is viewable from wide angles and illumination levels, including bright sunlight to full darkness without the need for polarizing devices. The SN4500 also incorporates a new type of solid-state light source using a patented photonic lattice structure to combine the benefits of LED and laser technologies. The company says the SmartLight display engines contain no mercury or other hazardous materials while providing more brilliant image quality and deeper color saturation in a lighter, simpler design