EAA AirVenture

Aspen Avionics Max-imizes Evolution Displays

 - July 23, 2018, 8:28 PM
The new Aspen Avionics Evolution Pro Max PFD features new glass with better processing speeds and a more colorful display. (Photo: Aspen Avionics)

Aspen Avionics unveiled the new Max series Evolution flight displays this week at EAA AirVenture, with new design features and performance improvements for both its primary and multifunction flight displays.

The new Evolution Max displays retain the familiar Aspen format, a six-inch-diagonal screen with 400- by 760-pixel resolution designed to fit into the space occupied by traditional attitude indicators and directional gyros. The display is “bolder and brighter,” according to Aspen, and now offers faster processing speeds, more vibrant colors (now up to 16 million colors), and the ability to enlarge fonts and windows.

Aircraft owners can install one, two, or three Evolution displays, or start with one and add more later. With dual Pro 1000 Max PFD and MFD1000 Max displays installed, Aspen said there is no need to retain an existing vacuum system that drives backup instruments or to retain electric backup instruments. “It’s safety enhancing,” said Aspen president and CEO John Uczekaj, because most pilots prefer a backup that replicates their primary instruments, not one that requires transitioning from one type of instrument to another—for example, glass to analog.

The Max displays now provide GPS-aided AHRS to provide useful information in case of a pitot-static failure, so an air data failure will no longer “red X” the attitude indicator. Other features on the MFD500 and MFD1000 Max include an audio panel interface so that audio callouts are available, such as terrain and altitude; chart and countdown timers; 350-nm zoom levels; height above ground level on nav and terrain maps; and Metar flags on nav map. The Max displays also show an altitude intercept “banana” indicator based on climb or descent rate.

The Max displays are installable under an FAA-approved model list STC for more than 600 aircraft types. Evolution Pro 1000 Max PFD lists for $9,995; Evolution MFD500 Max MFD, $5,495; and Evolution MFD1000 Max MFD, $8,995. The new displays should be available in the fourth quarter. Aspen is also offering to upgrade existing Evolution displays, with introductory prices starting at $2,995 for a one-display system, $4,995 for a dual-display system, and $5,995 for three displays. These upgrade prices are good through December 31.

In addition, Aspen has lowered the price of the most recent Pro PFD to $7,995, and anyone who purchased one of those is eligible to upgrade it to the Pro Max configuration for $1,995 through March 2019. In addition, the upgrade is covered by a two-year warranty.

The upgrade is relatively simple, consisting of replacing the glass and two electronic cards inside the unit, and it takes about 2.5 hours, including testing time. Aspen plans to do the upgrades at its facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but will also select certain dealers that will be encouraged to offer the upgrade to aircraft owners while they are having an oil change done.

Aspen also announced that its Evolution E5 STC’d, non-TSO electronic flight instrument will be available for purchase directly from Aspen dealers and aviation retail outlets. Priced at $4,995, the E5 consolidates on one six-inch display an attitude indicator with directional gyro/course-deviation indicator and includes a rechargeable backup battery, GPS steering, air data computer, and attitude heading reference system in one unit.

“We believe many people who buy this will want to go to the next level,” said Uczekaj. The E5 is expected to ship starting in August, and it can be upgraded later to the new Max PFD configuration, the first time the FAA is allowing the upgrade of a non-TSO'd avionics unit to a TSO'd box, he explained. The E5 interfaces with most legacy autopilots, according to Aspen, as well as TruTrak’s Vizion.

Aspen is helping MyGoFlight develop its new head-up display, by supplying data to the HUD such as ADAHRS and angle-of-attack information. “We’ve flown [the HUD],” he said. “I think it’s a game changer. HUD is very compelling, and you want data you can count on [for the HUD].”