June 1, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Honeywell’s Bendix/King general aviation avionics division gave the press a first look at the company’s new primary flight display, the KFD 840. The $16,995, 8.4-inch diagonal active liquid crystal matrix flat screen lets customers do away with the conventional six-pack of flight instruments common in the vast majority of older GA airplanes.
Designed specifically for retrofit installation in FAR Part 23 piston-powered airplanes under 6,000 pounds, the KFD 840 has a number of attractive features. These include an integral air data and attitude heading reference system; vertical tapes for airspeed, altitude, and vertical velocity; simple, button-push activation of display functions; on-screen checklists and weight-and-balance buildups; airspeed and altitude bugs; and dual bearing pointers. The unit is compatible with most analog and digital navigation and autopilot systems, and will work with either 12- or 24-volt electrical systems. For extra safety in case of total electrical failure, an optional backup battery is available for $2,288.
The KFD 840 can be customized via an SD card that feeds into a slot in the unit’s bezel. That’s how your airplane’s checklists and weight and balance information is entered. The weight and balance function works only when on the ground, and by using the left rotary knob you can enter passenger, baggage, and fuel weights. The 840 crunches the numbers, and then plots your center of gravity location on-screen.
Flight director command bars can also be depicted on the attitude indicator, and when pitch excursions exceed 30 degrees nose-up or -down, the screen de-clutters, and red chevrons indicate corrective pitch inputs. Look for more information about the KFD 840 in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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