October 11, 2012
By Benét J. Wilson
Esterline CMC Electronics’ SmartDeck integrated avionics suite has been chosen as the standard for Cobalt Aircraft’s new Co50 Valkyrie single-engine aircraft.
The Co50 is a five-seat, all-composite aircraft that features a canard and split vertical stabilizers, along with a pusher engine configuration. “We have been working to develop an aircraft that will give personal pilots better speed, comfort, safety and overall travel capabilities than any other current single-engine aircraft,” said David Loury, founder and CEO of Cobalt. “The reason we chose SmartDeck can be summed up in one word—simplicity.”
Loury lauded the simple design philosophy of the SmartDeck, which he said mirrors that of the Co50. “We took into account that our customers are not professional pilots. They don’t fly frequently, but they need a travel tool that they can use easily, with no safety concerns,” he explained. “The aircraft has to be very forgiving and so do the avionics.”
Esterline Marketing Director Greg Plant said the company was pleased with Cobalt’s selection of SmartDeck, adding that it was part of a growth plan to offer the suite to aircraft in the OEM and retrofit markets.
The Co50’s SmartDeck system will include two 12-inch primary flight and multifunction displays with dual air data, attitude and heading reference systems (ADAHRS) and WAAS GPS, a third 6.5-inch dedicated display for flight planning and radio management, as well as an integrated digital autopilot and audio controller. Terrain awareness and warning system B (TAWS-B), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS)/traffic advisory system (TAS), satellite weather, lightning detection, and synthetic vision are also included in SmartDeck.
“These features are really a great help when flying IFR or in high-traffic or unfamiliar areas,” added David Loury. “You want these systems to do much of the work for you and not the contrary. The Co50 is designed to be easy to use for even low-time pilots. The same can be said for SmartDeck.”
The 350-hp Co50 has gone through high-speed taxi testing and is beginning the initial phases of its development flight test program.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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