Aspen Avionics Introduces Connected Panel

Did you ever wish your iPad could interface with your radio stack, or, better yet, the Primary Flight Display (PFD) in your aircraft instrument panel? The engineers at Aspen Avionics know how you feel. Better yet, they're making it happen. With launch partners ForeFlight, Honeywell, Jeppesen, PS Engineering, Sporty's Pilot Shops, Seattle Avionics and a host of others, Aspen Avionics introduced the Connected Panel concept of connectivity technology at AirVenture 2011.

"It's hardware, yes, but software, too," explained Brad Hayden, vice president of marketing for the company. "You can plan your flight easily on your iPad, and then, when you get to the airplane and fire up, the iPad, through our Connected app system, wirelessly transmits your flight plan to the Aspen PFD/MFD system. During the flight you can use your iPad or iPhone or other portable device to program radio frequencies and see them instantly tune on your panel, or drag and drop your flightpath to avoid an area of weather and the change is noted immediately on the Aspen and your GPS."

The technology can record inflight data for further analysis, help you automatically fill out pilot and aircraft flight logs, and more possibilities, all afforded through the open architecture of the software and the imagination of the app designers. Connected Panel includes hardware, software and application components that provide two-way wireless communications between panel avionics and personal smart devices to streamline flight-related activities. This technology is enabled via Aspen’s Evolution Flight Displays. Initial applications are in development for Apple iOS and Android platforms.The first Connected Panel hardware and software system will list for under $2500. It will be available for installation from Aspen’s authorized dealer network by the end of 2011. Aspen’s Connected Pilot app, designed for the iPad, will be available at the iTunes store.

Aspen Avionics Goes Horizontal

Brad Hayden, the new Vice President of Marketing for Aspen Avionics, introduced the company's newest orientation: horizontal. The Aspen Avionics backup display is actually seven instruments in one: attitude, altitude, airspeed, heading, vertical speed, GPS flight plan and GPS steering. The buttons and knobs have been reoriented for the horizontal configuration, and an emergency 30-minute battery completes the unit. It is a TSO'd product that the company expects to begin delivering in December of this year for just under $10,000.

Aspen Avionics EFD 1000 Pro: Installation and Flight

Aspen Avionics, the little EFIS company that has taken aviation by storm with its modular PFD/MFD designed for a low cost retrofit in aircraft with traditional analog instruments, announced the availability of a NEXRAD weather enhancement for its products.

The EFD 1000 Pro is currently shipping and has been installed in Experimental aircraft as large as a P-51 Mustang, to date. Pascal Gosselin, of Aero Teknic, in St. Cyhu, Quebec, an aircraft maintenance and installation shop, was the first to receive and install an EFD 1000 Pro in Canada, and handled the installation himself.

"We did encounter a few challenges in the beginning. We could not get it to calibrate," he says. A change-out of some washers from ordinary to stainless steel resolved the problem, and the unit worked fine. "We also did a burn in of the unit on the bench before putting it in the airplane, and we discovered that it required a supplementary avionics fan to keep the unit adequately cooled," he says. "Also, currently the interface between the Garmin 430/530 and the Aspen products is being reverse engineered, so the Aspen does not talk well to the Garmin, even though the Garmin information does flow fine to the Aspen EFD."

Gosselin says that should not be a big problem, however, because the Aspen EFD 1000 Pro is primarily a software driven unit, which is what makes it so affordable. That software is constantly being upgraded and refined, and the company has been good about sending these revisions to the shop, which can install them into the units for the customer.

KITPLANES flew the EFD 1000 Pro that Gosselin installed in a Cessna 182RG during the EAA AirVenture 2008 show. The unit boots up in 20 seconds, with all of its functions available within 40 seconds. The screen is brilliant and easily sunlight readable, even from the co-pilot's seat, and even with morning sun pouring through the windscreen. Its "knobology" is simple, and one button-push brings up the soft keys, which allow the pilot to select from numerous map or PFD presentations. The unit slaved effortlessly to the Garmin 530 in the panel and picked up its flight plan and displayed it.

Inflight the EFD 1000 Pro updated smoothly, giving the pilot a realistic depiction during even steep turns. It coupled with the autopilot/GPS, even though this airplane does not yet have the software update installed to facilitate this. All in all, it was a strong performer from one of the first 25 customer installations in the field.

For more information, visit Aspen Avionics.

Aspen Avionics' Retrofittable Evolution PFD

Are you a person flying a round-dial airplane in a flat-panel world? Did you start your kit airplane with traditional gyros, only to find yourself, a few years down the road yearning for a digital beauty to simplify your scan? And are you interested only in avionics that require no additional wire-pulling from the front to the back of your aircraft?

There are solutions out there for Experimental aircraft, but until recently there was little that was affordable in a TSO’d retrofit. The TSO essentially is the FAA’s stamp of approval on avionics that can go into Part 23 certified aircraft. Certified avionics shops work on these units, and they need a “yellow tag” and paperwork to follow them and document any work done for them to be “legal.” You don’t have to fly with TSO’d equipment in an Experimental aircraft, but a lot of us do. The new Aspen Avionics Evolution Primary Flight Display is the first truly affordable “all-in-one” replacement unit for the ADI and DH/moving maps in light aircraft.

The Evolution’s modular footprint slides into a standard 3-inch round instrument hole, and is only 4.15 inches deep. The 7-inch long screen can display an ADI (with flight director v-bars on the ATP version), airspeed and altitude tapes with trends and bugs (and altitude alerts), as well as moving map (built-in GPS steering), terrain, traffic, weather and a traditional horizontal situation indicator/RMI display, built-in battery and emergency GPS. The flexibility of the unit is a function of its software. You can buy the lowest cost version, the MFD 500 (which has no ADAHRS) for $5000, and then upgrade it with software and a minor add-on piece of hardware as your needs change. You can even plug it in a different instrument hole and purchase a full-fledged EFD 1000, with ADAHRS. The two screens together are an eye-catching package, and cost less than several of the non-certified boxes that are available for Experimental aircraft today.

How attractive and functional are these boxes? Good enough to attract some light aircraft OEM attention. At Sun 'n Fun, Aspen Avionics and Liberty Aircraft announced that the Evolutions will go into the Liberty XL-2 aircraft, and AOPA has the first certified unit in its Sweepstakes Piper Archer.