July 5, 2012
By Dave Hirschman
Avidyne’s new IFD440, an all-in-one GPS/NAV/COM/FMS, expands on the Massachusetts company’s strategy of competing with rival Garmin for GNS430/530 replacements.
Garmin’s GNS430/530s have dominated the GPS/COM market for the last decade with more than 115,000 units sold, and the Kansas firm is ending 430/530 production and replacing the popular units with touch-screen GTN650s and 750s. Avidyne’s new products are the same physical dimensions as the 430/530 and are designed as direct replacements that can often use the same wiring, pins, and antennae.
“Our ‘plug-and-play’ strategy has really struck a positive chord with aircraft owners, many of whom want to upgrade their avionics for touch screen, WAAS, or ADS-B but are concerned with the high cost of installation,” said Dan Schwinn, Avidyne president and CEO. “The addition of the IFD440 adds significant improvements in functionality and ease of use while providing huge cost and time savings for the large number of aircraft owners looking to upgrade.”
The IFD440 gives pilots the option of using a touch screen, or dedicated buttons. The unit can provide an approved WAAS GPS source for ADS-B Out which will be required in the United States by 2020, as well as built-in navigation and communication radios, and an FMS. The IFD440 has a retail price of $14,995, and the larger IFD540 sells for $16,995.
The IFD440 is scheduled for initial deliveries in late 2013, and the IFD540 will be available early next year.
The management team running Chelton Flight Systems and S-Tec Corp. in Mineral Wells, Texas, for parent Cobham Avionics saw an opportunity and bought in.
Italian twin-engine airplane manufacturer Vulcanair stepped into the single-engine certified aircraft market April 9 with the announcement of a 180-horsepower, four-seat single.
General aviation’s future depends on dealing with higher costs and on making do with less, says industry analyst Richard Aboulafia.
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