April 21, 2009
By Ian J. Twombly
Avidyne, which just recently unveiled Release 9, won TSO certification for the integrated cockpit upgrade just minutes after the company’s press conference ended April 21 at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.
Release 9 is Avidyne’s first foray into integrated GPS through its flight management system keypad. The system is a substantial upgrade that will be available for Cirrus and Piper PA-42 owners. At more than $70,000 for the equipment alone, it’s a major investment for owners looking to offer advanced capability and complete integration into their cockpit. According to Avidyne President Dan Schwinn, there are more than 4,000 Avidyne-equipped Cirrus aircraft in the fleet, and the Piper PA-42 line, “are terrific airplanes with a lot of life left in them,” he said.
Also at the show, Schwinn announced an upgrade for Avidyne’s Iridium network datalink in the form of voice capability. The MLX 780, as its being called, will be available sometime this year for $14,990. Owners can interface with the system in a number of ways, including through a headset.
Finally, CMax, Avidyne’s electronic chart service on its EX500 multifunction display, is now standard. In a deal with Jeppesen, Avidyne is offering a year’s worth of airport diagrams for only $195, a considerable savings over the full chart service.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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