A new avionics option for King Air owners is now available, and the first field installation of the BendixKing AeroVue integrated flight deck in a King Air B200 has received supplemental type certification. It was completed by Steven Aviation’s Dayton, Ohio MRO facility. Stevens has a lot of experience in King Air avionics upgrades and also offers the Garmin G1000 and Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion touchscreen packages.
For pilots who fly modern Gulfstream and Falcon business jets and Pilatuses, AeroVue will be a familiar environment, as it leverages the Honeywell Primus Epic software that resides in the PlaneView (Gulfstream) and EASy (Falcon) business jet flight decks. AeroVue is also built on the same software that powers the Primus Apex suite in the Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24. For any avionics manufacturer, getting more pilots familiar with a common family of products is key to future growth, and Honeywell and its BendixKing subsidiary are working hard on that effort. BendixKing is also working with a partner to STC the AeroVue suite for a Citation 560 flight deck upgrade.
The B200 that Stevens Aviation recently finished is owned by Blackhawk Modifications president and CEO Jim Allmon and has been upgraded with the XP52 package, which includes more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-52 engines. To accommodate the -52 engines, some data tables for the engine instrumentation had to be updated and the STC needed to be updated with the new information. The Blackhawk XP52 mod was also done by Stevens Aviation.
“AeroVue is BendixKing’s aftermarket retrofit solution of Epic,” said Roger Dykmann, vice president, OEM and aftermarket sales-Americas for Honeywell’s BendixKing division. “[Epic] has a tremendous amount of heritage and millions of flight hours. AeroVue has world-class synthetic vision and the best human factors and ease of use for this class of aircraft.”
In the King Air, removing the original Rockwell Collins Pro Line II avionics and installing the AeroVue upgrade shaves about 125 pounds off the twin-turboprop’s empty weight. Another big benefit is lower cost of operation; getting old avionics repaired, especially electro-mechanical gyros, is becoming prohibitively costly.
For King Air owners and operators looking at the rapidly approaching ADS-B Out deadline at the end of 2019 in the U.S., upgrading the flight deck adds ADS-B Out as well as LPV approach capability. The AeroVue radios are VDL Mode 2-compliant and will thus be compatible with upcoming datalink communications (CPDLC and Datacomm) requirements. Meeting ADS-B Out mandates is also surprisingly expensive for older King Airs, ranging from $80,000 to $250,000, according to Phil Stearns, Stevens Aviation director of sales and marketing. The price of the AeroVue upgrade is “competitive” with other King Air integrated flight deck packages, according to Dykmann.
BendixKing owns the B200 AeroVue STC and is considering developing a similar STC for the King Air 300/350. For owners looking to add airborne connectivity, another option is BendixKing’s AeroWave system, which is also installed in this B200.
The AeroVue system is a complete flight deck upgrade for the King Air B200, including new high-resolution displays, autopilot and servos, and a cursor-control device (CCD)-based pilot interface. Standard equipment includes the autopilot, SmartView synthetic vision system, ADS-B Out-compliant Mode S transponder, dual-channel air data and attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS), dual WAAS GPS receivers, integrated engine instruments, dual KMA 30D Bluetooth audio panels, Mid-Continent Instruments Standby Attitude Module, and all radios. The existing weather radar can be retained, and there are options for new radars. Other options include SiriusXM Weather, radar altimeter, second transponder, and enhanced ground proximity warning system.
The B200’s systems remain unchanged, although the mod includes a new circuit breaker panel overlay. Stevens added the Luma Technologies LED-based caution advisory and warning panels to this B200, and these are an option for the AeroVue upgrade.
The heart of the AeroVue suite is the dual-channel modular avionics unit (MAU) and dual-channel ADAHRS mounted in the B200’s nose. The nose compartment looks much cleaner with AeroVue equipment taking up much less space than the old avionics. The MAU looks like a computer server on a rack and consists of various avionics equipment on easily removable cards mounted in the MAU slots.
The pilot’s main interface with AeroVue is the trackball CCD mounted within easy reach in the center console. The CCD controls a cursor that selects various menus and functions on the three 12-inch displays mounted in the instrument panel. The pilot can also replicate CCD-based functions using the alphanumeric keyboard, buttons, and knobs mounted in front of the CCD as well as softkeys on the bezels of the panel displays.
There are fewer clickable regions on the two primary flight displays (PFDs) in front of either pilot, but many more on the multifunction display (MFD) in the center. The PFD contains the engine instruments, which are not modifiable. Radio frequencies are located on the bottom inner corner of each PFD, along with the transponder settings.
The MFD is where most of the CCD action takes place, with map and weather selections, flight planning, and many other actions available with the click of a CCD button. Using the CCD makes flight planning easy, especially inserting or removing waypoints in the middle of a flight plan or building a customized hold. If turbulence makes the CCD difficult to use, the keyboard and other buttons and softkeys are a suitable substitute.
Aspen’s CG100P wireless router is another option, and this enables wireless INDS database and chart updates via the BendixKing INDS Data Manager iPad app.
For pilots, said David Steinhoff, BendixKing senior product marketing manager, “There are multiple ways to input information. It’s a unique solution with the sophistication that it draws from Part 25 airplanes.”