March 12, 2014
By Thomas B Haines
Aspen Avionics is taking a cue from the electronic flight bag companies that have been offering 30-day free trials for their products. In Aspen’s case the deal comes in the form of 10 free flight hours of synthetic vision for those who buy an Evolution 1000 Pro Primary Flight Display. Company President and CEO John Uczekaj believes synthetic vision must be tried to be appreciated. Most Evolution 1000 Pro customers don’t buy synthetic vision, a $2,995 upgrade, because they don’t understand the increased level of situational awareness and safety it provides, he said.
Many customers a year or more after the initial installation buy the software upgrade. His goal is to show customers soon after installation that the upgrade is of value.
The Evolution software tracks flight hours and after 10 hours shuts down the synthetic vision presentation unless the customer chooses to upgrade. However, so as to not be a safety hazard, the system will not shut off in flight. Only after the pilot has touched down after the 10-hour period will the syn viz stop.
The database-driven synthetic vision system shows terrain and obstacles on the primary flight display. It also includes an energy vector that shows the trajectory of the aircraft, changing from green to red if the pilot is not going to clear a mountain ridge, for example.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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