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A trackball for Honeywell’s ApexA trackball for Honeywell’s Apex

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Honeywell’s exhibit hall display at AOPA Expo shows off a new development for the company’s Apex avionics suite. As previously reported in AOPA Pilot, Pilatus’ new PC-12NG is the launch customer for the Apex. The Apex replaces the airplane’s previous panel setup, which was built around Bendix/ King’s EFIS 40/50 EADI and EHSI.

Some find the Apex’s joystick control an ergonomic challenge. The joystick, which is used to control the inputs to the Apex’s multifunction display and flight management system, can be sensitive—especially in turbulence. With practice, you become proficient, but for those wanting an alternative means of navigating the Apex, Honeywell has come up with a cursor control device (CCD). The CCD consists of a handrest, a trackball and a mouse-type click-to-enter control on the side of the handrest.

In turbulence, the handrest should permit more consistent movements of the MFD and FMS cursors. Pilots may find that the trackball allows quicker and more accurate cursor control than the rather diminutive joystick. Honeywell officials said that the CCD has not yet been offered on the Apex but that customers may soon be given the choice between the joystick and the CCD.

Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.

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