Awash in Avionics at Sun 'n Fun
By Dave Higdon, EAA 465009
Adventure Pilot iFly 700 EFB
Aspen display with Evolution Synthetic Vision
Aspen Stand- ByAvionics
Aspen’s Evolution Backup Display
IMS Company’s SkyTab EFB
TCW Technologies’ back-up battery
April 15, 2010 — If you need it or just want it – and “it” is related to avionics or electronics for your antique, homebuilt or every-day factory flyer – you’ll likely find it somewhere on the grounds of Sun ‘n Fun 2010.
Electronic Flight Bag options, new autopilot and glass-panel choices, systems for adding electrical-power redundancy to any panel.
From Aspen Avionics came a wealth of product updates and enhancements and word on future advances. Among the updates: new software that brings charts to the Aspen MFD; a new solution to making the Aspen PFD work with attitude-based autopilots; engine monitoring; and a new stand-alone, stand-by instrument solution for glass-panel pilots that lets them eliminate the three old analog solutions many feel stuck with.
From TCW Technologies, a lightweight, high-power, stand-alone stand-by battery system, as well as a voltage-stabilizing system to insulate glass and GPS systems from the low-voltage issues of engine starts – or to extend main-battery usefulness in the event of an alternator failure.
And in the electronic flight bag realm, the $499 iFly 700 EFB from Adventure Pilot EFB with integral GPS, and three EFB solutions from The IMS Company’s SkyTab series, priced from $1,495 to $3,995.
The Delightful Details
You can’t walk far at Sun ‘n Fun without bumping into something electronic or electric for pilots, from EFBs to stand-by power to expanded glass-stack functionality.
We examine a few of those on display this week at Lakeland.
Aspen’s Panel Power Play
Aspen Avionics unveiled a wealth of updates and advances for its increasingly popular Evolution series of cockpit displays – among them new functions, a new autopilot module, geo-referenced charts and plates, and new engine-monitoring capabilities available for the company’s PFD and MFD displays.
The company also detailed plans for future advances, among them an all-in-one electronic solution to the need for stand-by attitude, airspeed, and altitude information to back-up glass panels.
Among the upgrades Aspen announced is a free update to Version 2.2 Evolution Software for the 1000 Pro PFD and 1000 MFD, which includes a full set of AeroNav charts and geo-referenced airport diagrams, new Nav Map panning functionality, and an improved information section. The update is free to existing owners and loaded into new units being shipped. Annual subscription cost for the Aero Nav products comes in just under $300, while a single update goes for $99.
Aspen also introduced the EFD1000CR Pro PFD for Class III Aircraft at a list price of $12,995, the EA100 autopilot attitude interface priced at $2,495, and the Evolution Backup Display for less than $10,000 – all of which will start shipping before year’s end, according to the company.
The Evolution Backup Display gives pilots of glass-panel aircraft an electronic option for replacing the three-instrument pack required for back-up use – attitude indication, altitude, and airspeed – and can be mounted horizontally as well as vertically.
The autopilot module allows replacement of the attitude gyro required by many popular attitude-based autopilots.
Designed for aircraft weighing 6,000-12,500 lbs, the EFD1000CR Pro PFD provides a new solution for adding glass capabilities to a host of twin piston and turboprop aircraft.
Aspen also is adding a new Engine Monitoring Module designed to put powerplant data on its Evolution Series 1000 and 500 MFDs. For aircraft using a graphic-engine monitoring system with an RS232 input, the Aspen Engine Monitoring Module accepts that input for display on the MFD – allowing the removal of another item from the panel. The module is priced at $495.
For any on-the-fence shoppers in the glass-cockpit market, Aspen unveiled new product bundles with commensurate pricing breaks, the Evolution 1500, 2000 and 2500.
The 1500 combines the Evolution 1000 Pro PFD and Evolution 500 MFD, list-priced at $14,990 – minus a $1,000 cash rebate; the 2000 combines the same PFD with the 1000 MFD at a price of $17,990 – with a $2,000 rebate in effect; the 2500 package combines the same two units as the 2000 grouping and adds the 500 MFD, priced at $22,895 – minus a $3,000 rebate.
Looking ahead to 2011, Aspen is developing Evolution Synthetic Vision using Jeppeson’s high-resolution terrain data. Due in the first quarter of next year, Aspen plans a price of $2,995, laying claim in the process to the lowest-cost SVS option available today.
Learn more about these products at www.aspenavionics.com.
Power to the Panel
Another interesting product intro came from TCW Technologies – the Integrated Back-Up Battery, an alternative-power solution for keeping critical panel equipment alive after an electrical-system failure.
Designed with Garmin’s G3X system in mind, TCW Technologies’ IBBS stand-by power solution can be employed to back up a variety of communication, navigation, and instrument items in the panel.
Capable of providing 4 amps at 12 volts for 55 minutes or more, this compact system features a powerful nickel-metal hydride battery pack, integral charger, and automatic switching. Weight comes in at 2.5 pounds – light enough to be used in almost any installation. Price is $375, plus $85 for a custom wiring harness.
TCW Technologies also offers what the company calls an “Intelligent Power Stabilizer” box that transforms power inputs as low as 5 volts into stable, uninterruptible 12 volts – allowing a pilot to keep power to a glass panel and navigators during engine start without fear that the voltage drop of engine start will trip off these devices.
And in the event of an alternator loss, this power-stabilizer system will maintain 12 volts of output even as battery voltage drops while the pilot diverts. Prices start at $295 for a stabilizer rated at 4 amps of output and $395 for a unit rated for 8 amps.
Information on these TCW Technologies power products and its other offerings for experimental aircraft is available at www.tcwtech.com.
EFBs: new solutions to the paper chase
Lastly for this update, electronic flight bag solutions continue to proliferate, with several new, interesting and cost-effective offerings found among the hundreds of vendors exhibiting at Lakeland this week.
Two of those chart-replacement solutions include the SkyTab series from The IMS Company and the iFly 700 from Adventure Pilot.
All designed with robust cases and touch-screen technologies, the SkyTab series of EFBs vary in screen size from the $1,495 SkyTab 1250, the larger $3,495 SkyTab 1350 and its larger cousin, the $3,995 SkyTab 2350.
All can employ a $250 BlueTooth GPS module to add navigation capability to their charting functions.
From Adventure Pilot comes the iFly 700 with a 7-inch diagonal touch screen, integral GPS, and annual charting updates for as little as $69 – $89 if you want IFR Low-En Route charts, as well.
A full set of charts, approach plates, sectionals, airport diagrams, and AFD databases is pre-loaded in the units; mounts and power cords also come with the unit and packed into a durable travel case – for $499.
More information on the iFly 700 is available at www.adventurepilot.com.