September 22, 2011
By Mike Collins
Avidyne unveiled at AOPA Aviation Summit the addition of Multi-Touch functionality to the new IFD540 touch-screen FMS/GPS/Nav/Com the company announced at EAA AirVenture in July. The IFD540 is designed to be a plug-and-play replacement for the Garmin GNS 530.
What is Multi-Touch? “It’s the ability to pinch zoom,” said Tom Harper, Avidyne marketing director. Touching the screen with one finger pulls up data; pilots also can touch the screen to scroll or pan. The functionality also works for maps and charts, he added. “It’s something that differentiates our product.” Avidyne showed a single-touch version at Oshkosh.
“We kept the knobs and buttons around the bezel. Pilots can choose between that and the touch screen,” Harper added. The touch screen has not been tested yet in flight, when it will be evaluated in turbulence. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to keep the buttons around the bezel.
“Avidyne will roll out a handful of other IFD540 features over the next couple of months. This is the first one of those.”
The IFD540 lists for $16,995. “We’ve found an incredible amount of interest in this product,” Harper said. The company is running a show special at AOPA Aviation Summit—GNS 530/W owners can buy the unit for $9,000; without a 530, the price is $500 more because of the brackets that will be required.
He said deliveries will begin during the second half of 2012, and all customers will receive the Multi-Touch capabilities, as well as the other functionality yet to be announced.
“We’re looking at plug-and-play as a real opportunity for us in the marketplace,” Harper noted, citing the DFC90 autopilot. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on installation to get new avionics.” Avidyne also offers panel-mount audio panels (compatible with the GMA 340 and PS Engineering products, the six-place intercom includes a marker beacon and Bluetooth capabilities) and a transponder, in addition to the autopilot.
Avidyne’s R9 is nearing certification for the Piper PA-32, he said, and DFC90 approval for the PA-32 also is expected soon.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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