For most pilots, the attention-grabbing feature of the newest entries in the small-aircraft general aviation market, such as the Cirrus SR22, is probably their large-format cockpit displays. They’re colorful, bold and big, and they offer capabilities undreamed of in this class of aircraft even two or three years ago.
Bringing datalink weather information into the cockpit has never been easier or more affordable. A variety of newly available low-cost terrestrial and satellite uplink services are allowing buyers of relatively inexpensive cockpit multifunction displays to add special receivers and antennas and gain access to continuously updated terminal reports, forecasts, winds aloft, sigmets, airmets and Nexrad radar images.
Rockwell Collins has demonstrated its VHF-920A data transceiver and CMU-900 communication management unit, the key pieces of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa avionics manufacturer’s Nexcom VDL Mode 3 radio package. The demonstration occurred at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., where pilots broadcast messages using simultaneous VDL Mode 3 digital voice and data, as well as enhanced voice features of Mode 3.
Air Services at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE), has joined the nationwide Aviation Points Exchange (Apex) program. Air Services’ director of outside sales, Robert Specht, said, “First and foremost, the program will be used as an expression of appreciation to our existing customers. We will also use the program as an incentive for flight crews to choose our facility when visiting the Cleveland area.
With all the recent talk about glass cockpits migrating to light airplanes, it has been an exciting 12 months not only for GA pilots and aviation enthusiasts, but also for avionics installers. The Aircraft Electronics Association’s annual convention was awash in news and unconfirmed talk of new products from the major avionics manufacturers, with much of the attention focused on Garmin and Avidyne, makers of low-end glass cockpits.
After years of quiet development, L-3 Avionics Systems formally dropped the veil on its SmartDeck integrated avionics system at the NBAA Convention last month. The launch customer for the cockpit is Cirrus, which has selected SmartDeck for its single-engine personal jet.
For an avionics maker striving to create a truly intuitive integrated flight deck, there are worse places to look for inspiration than Apple.
Garmin edged out Universal Avionics for the top spot in this year’s avionics product support survey, finishing in first place in five of seven categories, including overall product reliability. But Universal kept it a close race by winning two categories and finishing in second place in four others.
When Eclipse Aviation founder and CEO Vern Raburn earlier this year declared that a retooled avionics system for the Eclipse 500 very light jet would be tested and certified within four months, many observers were skeptical. More telling, however, was the revelation that Eclipse’s hand-picked supplier team also had doubts about the accelerated timetable.
Avidyne and WSI have struck a deal under which Avidyne will develop and produce WSI’s new AV300 and AV350 satellite weather data and audio receivers. The AV300 will receive WSI InFlight weather services delivered by Sirius Satellite Radio, while the AV350 will receive WSI InFlight data and Sirius audio programming.