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Tue, Mar 27, 2012

Avidyne Showcases IFD540 At Lakeland

Will Soon Begin DFC90 Certification Process For V-Tail Bonanza

Avidyne will  be showcasing a dual IFD540 system at Lakeland Linder (FL) airport this week. Since both the IFDs are on the Avidyne Digital Databus, all the data is instantly available to both IFDs. This means things like crosschecking data between IFDs like Nav deviation is available and using one display as a full QWERTY keyboard to make changes to a flight plan that instantly shows on the map page of the other IFD.

There have been a number of updates made to the IFD540 behind-the-scenes software performance. For example, the touchscreen has been made much more responsive, which is especially noticeable during pinch zooming and map panning. In fact, now you can simultaneously zoom and pan. Another example is a notable improvement in the touchscreen target areas and responsiveness – the touch targets have been enlarged and some improper screen coordinates have been resolved. Scrolling through lists like airway dropdowns or through the flight plan is also much faster.

There is also a very temporary show special for pricing in place for the duration of the Lakeland air show. The price has been climbing since the first introduction of the IFD540, and this special will be fleeting. The list price of a single IFD is $16,995. For the duration of the show: If you already have already bought one IFD540 at the introductory price, you can buy a 2nd one at that same price; If you haven’t bought an IFD540 yet, you can buy two at $18K (if you already had 530s/530Ws) or $19K (if you didn’t have any 530s/530Ws already installed).

Avidyne will also be displaying the Aspen/DFC90-equipped Cirrus SR22 and the Aspen/DFC90-equipped Cessna 182 to the show. The planes will be based out of Plant City, about 10 miles west of Lakeland. There are a number of editor flights planned and if you stop by the Avidyne booth early in the week, there is a limited opportunity to sign up for a demo flight in one of those planes. Cert prediction dates are always a tricky thing due to the number of moving parts involved with the process but we do feel very confident that Q2 2012 will see the C-182 certification and likely the Cirrus-Aspen-DFC90 combination certification.

On Monday, 2 April, an F33A V-tail Bonanza arrives at the Avidyne facility for DFC90 installation and flight test. This will be the very next airframe to certify.

Another big piece of news is the Avidyne ASA575 servo announcement. The company has designed its own servos and they are going through certification now. That’s still at least several months from being complete but it solves a number of challenges. For one, any aircraft that did not have a suitable pre-existing autopilot will now have an installation path for the DFC90. Similarly, for those aircraft that needed to replace their servos anyway due to degradation or failure, now have an Avidyne servo solution. The servos are designed to use the existing mounting brackets and hardware (and harnessing) as existing King servos so in that sense, they are still plug-and-play. For the King servo equipped aircraft, all DFC90 installations will require replacing the King servos with the Avidyne servos. There is an adapter mounting plate that will allow them to replace STec and Century servos BUT, aircraft with STEc or Century servos already in place will be allowed to keep them for DFC90 installations. The Avidyne ASA575 series of servos will come in 28V and 14V variants.

Avidyne has an F33A Bonanza in its Florida hangar, and this airplane will be the cert platform for the Avidyne servos. The same airplane will be used for the Aspen-DFC90 cert platform later in the summer. Still in the queue for DFC90 autopilot certs are the A36 Bonanza and the B-55 and B-58 Barons. Based on existing workload, these look to be a late summer, early fall timeframe.

One more note on aircraft for DFC90 certs, the PA32 is still slowly grinding its way through both R9 and DFC90 certification. Since there were so many variants of the PA32 out in the field, this program is large but making slow and steady progress. When complete, there will be solutions for Entegra equipped Saratogas to upgrade to R9, or to replace the STec 55X with the Avidyne DFC90. There will also be certified solutions to upgrade a pre-Entegra equipped Saratoga to R9 or to put in the Aspen-DFC90 combination.

Finally, EASA certification has been obtained for the DFC90 in both Cirrus aircraft and Piper PA46 Matrix/Mirage aircraft. Avidyne also recently received Brazilian certification approval for the DFC90 and DFC100 in the Cirrus and DFC90/100 in the Matrix/Mirage is nearing validation.

Release 9.3 is the release that contains the much awaited Synthetic Vision update. That product is still months away from certification. While there haven’t been any updates to the SynVis function or the underlaying software architecture in months, the overall magnitude of the code changes in the system were of enough size that the laborious task of re-certifying all that software is taking a lot of time.

The AXP340 transponder was announced at Oshkosh 2011 and it remains on track to be certified and shipping later this year. As you may recall, this transponder has the Avidyne look-and-feel user interface and is a ADS-B Out, Mode S transponder that is a plug-and-play replacement for the KT76A/KT78A panel mount transponder. The AMX240 audio panel was also announced at Oshkosh 2011 and it remains on track to be certified and shipping at the end of this year.

FMI: www.avidyne.com

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