Owners of Piaggio Avanti twin-pusher turboprops were presented with some good news yesterday in the form of an announcement by avionics maker Rockwell Collins that it will offer buyers the chance to upgrade to Pro Line 21 avionics, the same baseline cockpit that is sold in new Avanti IIs rolling out of the factory.
For the older Avanti’s front office, Rockwell Collins is providing the Pro Line 21 IDS integrated display system and AHS-3000 attitude heading reference system. The retrofit will bring three 8- by 10-inch LCD flight displays to the Avanti flight deck, which will be integrated with existing sensors, radios, flight management systems and autopilots. The result is cutting-edge technology for pilots without the high cost of a complete avionics overhaul, said David Wu, director of marketing for Rockwell Collins. Jet Works in Denton, Texas, will perform the installations after certification is completed in September.
Rockwell Collins was named the avionics supplier in the Avanti II around the time competitor Honeywell announced plans to offer a retrofit cockpit for the original Avanti based on the Primus Epic avionics system. With Pro Line 21 IDS, Collins is now able to compete for aftermarket business, which could lead to a nice little windfall considering that nearly 100 Avantis with older Pro Line II avionics are flying today.
Collins has been marketing its Pro Line 21 IDS upgrade to owners of a variety of in-service business jets. The company recently gained approval to install the system in airplanes with AP-105 and APS-65 autopilots, a key to bringing the avionics to older King Airs, Falcon 20s and 50s and the Avanti. Pro Line 21 IDS also interfaces with APS-85, APS-80 and SPZ-500 autopilots.
The version of Pro Line 21 installed in new airplanes is similar to the IDS upgrade, but it boasts a slightly higher level of integration of aircraft systems. A main ingredient of Pro Line 21 in the newest business jets and turboprops that carry the system is the integrated flight information system (IFIS). This computer file server resides in the avionics bay and is capable of hosting a wide range of software, from checklists and electronic charts to datalink weather services. The Hawker 800XP was the latest in-service business jet certified for the IFIS installation, which was performed at Raytheon Aircraft Services in Little Rock, Arkansas.
While it’s probably best known for its cockpit systems, Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 620) is also active in the market for cabin electronics. The company’s Airshow 4000 passenger information system and moving map has proven popular with users, and Collins is adding more features based on customer feedback. Just in time for the World Cup, last month the company added soccer scores to the Airshow display, in addition to a new double-line news ticker that can be programmed to receive a variety of headline news, sports scores and stock prices.