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Fri, Jan 01, 2010

ANN's 'Heroes 'n Heartbreakers' '09: Aero-Hero #6--Avidyne R9 Design Team

All Hail The Aero-Heroes of 2009!

Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Trouble-Maker, Jim Campbell

It is both the most "fun," and most difficult, task facing the ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days... while also chastising those people or entities that did all they could to undermine the many successes the aviation/aerospace community has managed to accomplish.
 
Thankfully, 2009 was a year in which we saw the best and brightest among us step forward and work tirelessly on behalf of us all. No doubt about it... the challenges we faced in 2009 were numerous, and ongoing... so was the quality of expertise and passion brought to our defense by those who heroically demonstrated to the world the very best side of aviation... via their deeds, words and actions.
 
It is ANN's honor to recognize Ten persons/organizations or groups that qualify as our Aero-Heroes for 2009... in something of an informal order, starting from the 10th to the 1st. Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would have liked be included or omitted from such a list. In the meantime, we thank the folks who made this year's list. Thank you, folks... we really needed you this year, and you didn't let us down.

ANN will list our Top Ten choices over the next few days's, but in order to kick off the New Year right, let's enjoy another selection from our Heroes List for 2009...

Aero-Heroes #6 -- Dan Schwinn and the Innovative Avidyne R9 Design Team

It's easy to be impressed with the developmental revolution that has taken place in the avionics industry... the feature sets and capabilities of today's 'lectronic wunderboxes' are simply breathtaking when you look back just a few years and compare what we have now with what we had then. BUT... if there is an area in which the avionics industry has dropped the ball, it's been its insistence on prioritizing capabilities over usability... As a matter of fact. it has done some modest damage to itself with pilots who have psyched themselves into believing that they can not possibly learn to use all the features today's avionics bring to our aircraft.

SO... enter Avidyne (Rev. 2)... a little bruised from having pioneered a whole new segment of GA avionics and then lost market share to the 600 pound Olathe gorilla (Garmin) and their immense resources -- as well as mis-steps they made in service and support that cast a pallor over the company for several years. Avidyne's Dan Schwinn realized that his company needed a second chance... and needed to make sure that THIS TIME, they were able to not only raise the bar, but to loft it totally over the heads of the rest of the competition.

While they KNEW they had to match the featureset of the competition, they were smart enough to realize that MAJOR POINTS could be scored if they devoted the same genius to the human interface as they did to the overall capabilities of what would come to be known as "Release 9."

Release 9 is a winner... it is THE MOST USER-FRIENDLY avionics system in GA... and the human interface is so good that the rest of the industry should run (not walk) to the drawing board and figure out how to keep up. The single-pilot IFR environment, in particular, is incredibly intense and getting busier by the day... so, offering competitive features that are meant to be used, easily, safely, and quickly seems like such a no-brainer. Especially; now that we've spent so much time sitting behind our own R9-equipped cockpit--and been truly blown away. Our system has behaved flawlessly, works like an absolute charm, and is so user-friendly that it is literally enjoyable to operate.

We expect even greater things from Avidyne in 2010, as the release 9 featureset is completed and their new generation of highly-capable digital autopilots comes to market... which gives GA both a powerful ally and another powerhouse from which all manner of amazing things can result. In just a few short years, the company that too many were counting as 'down and out' has reappeared and reinvented itself -- stronger, wiser, and clearly ready to stay a MAJOR player in the highly competitive world of modern avionics.

And I must add that no kudos for Avidyne would be complete without acknowledging their new insistence on providing solid and simply exceptional customer service. With that, no company shows as much potential in terms of product line and market insight, at the moment, as Avidyne does right now in cementing its place among the leadership of the GA Avionics industry. As such, Avidyne has been a wonderful story to tell... and one that should serve as an inspiration to all those who love and value aviation. We simply can't wait to see what's next...

FMI: www.avidyne.com

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