July 26, 2011
By Dave Hirschman
Aspen Avionics has created an electronic bridge that allows tablet computers to communicate with traditional avionics in ways that let pilots synchronize flight plans, tune radios, record flight and engine data, log flight time, and plan maintenance.
Aspen’s Connected Panel includes hardware, software, and applications that allow two-way, wireless communication between tablet computers and certified avionics. It is built to an open architecture standard that will accommodate future applications for Apple and Android products.
“The power of the tablet is that it can be a gateway to certified avionics and provide useful data before, during, and after every flight,” said John Uczekaj, Aspen Avionics president and CEO. “Pilots can create flight plans on their tablets, upload them into their GPS navigators, modify them during flight, and collect flight and engine performance data to evaluate later. Everything that used to be done manually will become automatic.”
The first Connected Panel hardware and software system, called Connected Pilot, has a list price of $2,500 and is enabled via Aspen’s Evolution flight displays. It will be available for installation by the end of this year.
Aspen announced Connected Panel with a list of partners that plan to use the open architecture to create their own applications. AvConnect, ForeFlight, Honeywell, Jeppesen, J.P. Instruments, Parrot, Pinnacle Aerospace, PS Engineering, Seattle Avionics, and Sporty’s all endorse the idea and are planning their own applications.
“It’s the partnerships that make this unique,” said Brad Hayden, Aspen vice president of marketing. “We’ve got an idea of what some of the initial applications might be, and we’re actively working on them. But our partners will be able to come up with apps that we haven’t even considered, and the open system will allow them to unleash their specialized knowledge and creativity in completely new ways.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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