Lakeland, Florida, April 21, 2009: Aspen Avionics Inc., maker of the award-winning Evolution Flight Display system, announced today several upgrade options to its product line, in direct response to feedback from its more than 1,500 customers worldwide. These options are designed to meet the needs of several customer segments, and reflect the company’s customer-driven development focus.
Flush Mount Solution
A Flush Mount Kit will enable customers to mount Evolution Flight Displays (EFDs) flush with their instrument panels. While many customers prefer the lower cost and easier installation of the EFD’s standard surface mounting, others have wanted to mount the EFD from behind the panel. The flush mounting system is expandable, and is available in 1-, 2- and 3-tube versions.
The Flush Mount Kits will be available as options from June 15th of this year, starting at $390 MSRP for a single-tube PFD installation.
Expanded Support for Additional Analog Interfaces
A new Analog Converter Unit (ACU) will add expanded capabilities frequently requested by Aspen customers. The ACU is used by the EFD system to integrate legacy analog systems, such as autopilots and VHF radios, with the all-digital Evolution system. The new ACU will be available in several configurations, depending on the customer’s needs.
The first version will add analog XYZ heading synchro outputs to support legacy traffic, weather, and other systems requiring analog heading inputs.
The new ACU will be available by the end of 2009 at a list price under $2,000. Another version, expected in 1Q2010, will add support for dual analog ADF and DME receivers, capabilities in higher demand from Aspen’s international customers, and from U.S. customers operating Class III airplanes.
Autopilot Attitude Reference Source Replacement
The upgrade perhaps most requested by customers is a means to completely eliminate all mechanical flight instruments. Pilots accustomed to flying glass cockpits increasingly want their backup instruments to look like their primary EFIS, making them easier to fly in an emergency, instead of having to revert to an old-style “steam gauge” instrument scan. Moreover, the avionics industry is struggling with shortages of parts and people skills to overhaul these obsolescent mechanical instruments, driving up overhaul costs.
A multi-tube, dual AHRS EFD1000 system is designed to eliminate the need to keep mechanical backup instruments in the pilot’s primary field of view. But since most GA autopilots still depend on a mechanical gyro for their attitude reference source, until the electronic AHRS can serve as that reference the mechanical gyro must remain in the airplane. To date, no GA glass cockpit AHRS has been certified to serve as the attitude reference source for legacy analog GA autopilots.
Aspen is developing an optional upgrade to enable the EFD1000 AHRS to serve as the autopilot attitude reference source, and to replace the mechanical gyros driving popular GA autopilot systems.
The first version of this product is designed to replace the KI-256 attitude indicator, used in the Bendix-King family of GA autopilots, and is expected to be available in the first half of 2010 at a list price under $5,000 (about the cost of an overhaul/exchange of a KI-256). Subsequent versions of this product are designed to do the same for other popular GA autopilot systems.
Continuing To Invest in the Future
The EA100 provides a digital-to-analog data conversion between the EFD1000 and an aircraft’s attitude-based autopilot system.
They are working to develop an interface between the Aspen Evolution displays and the Avidyne DFC90 Digital Autopilot.
Two of the products, the EFD1000C3 Pro PFD for Class III aircraft, and the EA100 Autopilot Attitude Interface will be available by July 2010.