Avionics News January 2016 - 40
AVIDYNE PLUG-AND-PLAY AVIONICS
Continued from page 39
zooming in or out.
"We also kept all the familiar buttons and knobs to
give pilots more options for data entry and selection
depending on the phase of flight and pilot preference.
We even made data entry easier by including our
GeoFill capability that was first introduced in the
"Avidyne pioneered this innovative concept of
waypoint entry/database search using geography and
context, as opposed to simple alphabetic lookup. GeoFill
populates all drop-down menus with only the relevant
choices for that entry based on airway connectivity and
distance filtering. The pilot is presented with only the
logical choices based upon the action required. The
FMS will auto fill the remaining characters in the entry
based upon distance from the current position, avoiding
the cumbersome need to go through obviously 'bad'
choices (too far away) to get to the desired entry.
"We've done measured lab studies with pilots
loading typical IFR clearances, and we found that
GeoFill reduces data entry by up to 75 percent for both
keystrokes and the amount of time it takes to enter
the information compared to legacy navigators. As a
complementary capability to GeoFill, when pilots have
dual IFD units installed, they can designate one of
the units to show a QWERTY keyboard on the touchscreen display. Like a smartphone or iPad, it's easy and
intuitive to use."
Speaking of keyboards, Harper said the IFD-series is
currently the only certified panel-mounted units that come
with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity built in.
"With our 10.1 software update, we've activated the
Bluetooth capabilities in the 440 and 540 so pilots can
use a portable wireless keyboard to enter information
into the stack," he said. "It's great for device-to-device
connectivity in the cockpit."
Harper also stated that the software upgrade that
activates the Wi-Fi capability is scheduled for release in
WAAS YOU WAITIN' FOR?
While the list of differentiators that the IFD440/540
offer pilots is impressive, those upgrades alone are
probably not enough to get the typical 430/530 owner to
make the switch.
"Research tells us there are still a lot of current
430/530 owners who have not made the upgrade to
WAAS capabilities," Harper said. "For most pilots in the
U.S., that upgrade will be mandatory soon. So from an
economic sense, that makes the IFD plug-and-play option
even more attractive now. Instead of paying to upgrade to
a 430W or 530W, you can put that money toward a new
IFD. Plus, since there's still an active market for the older
Garmins in areas where there is no WAAS or ADS-B
mandates, the owner can make back a significant amount
of the upgrade cost by selling his old units."
While the economics for aircraft owners are good,
they can be even better for avionics shops.
"Dealers need to remember that a true plug-and-play
upgrade truly does exist and is available today," Harper
said. "There are a couple of caveats depending on
the configuration of the airplane. But with the typical
430/530 installation, the customer could literally drop
off his airplane at the shop at 10 a.m. and pick it up at
the end of the day."
Harper explained that the process they advise for
avionics shops is straightforward. The first thing the
technician should do is a complete functionality test
of the existing 430/530, as well as other associated
avionics to make sure everything works as it should.
After determining it's a good box, just pull out the old
unit and slide in the new Avidyne IFD.
Of course, that is in the most ideal circumstance.