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Avidyne sets sights on Wi-FiAvidyne sets sights on Wi-Fi

Announces data network agreementsAnnounces data network agreements

Avidyne said it was committed to providing affordable in-flight voice and data communications for general aviation during a media briefing at EAA AirVenture July 24. “Our next big initiative is in-flight connectivity for light aircraft,” said Avidyne President and CEO Dan Schwinn. “My airplane is the only place I go where I don’t have internet,” he noted.

Avidyne's new Release 10.2 software adds synthetic vision to all IFD-series hardware, including the newly certified IFD550 shown here. Photo by Mike Collins.

Schwinn said Avidyne has entered into agreements with two in-flight data providers, and one of these, Globalstar, will provide satellite connectivity. “It gets you coverage everywhere,” but it’s relatively expensive and has limited bandwidth, he said.

Schwinn said SmartSky Networks will provide in-flight Wi-Fi through a network of ground stations that it’s building. “The beauty of a ground solution is very low latency, and very high bandwidth,” Schwinn explained. Avidyne has developed products to fulfill this objective, but the company did not offer details. “These products are just getting into flight testing,” Schwinn said, adding that Avidyne hopes to have products to market next year.

The company has been having a great year, due in part to the success it’s experiencing with its new IFD550 touch-screen flight management system with synthetic vision, Schwinn said. “It really outperformed our forecast by 5X,” he said, adding that he installed one in a Cessna 206 he recently purchased.

Because existing Avidyne integrated flight deck customers have expressed so much interest in the IFD550, the company has established a trade-in program—refurbishing traded-in avionics and selling them, with a warranty, at a reduced price. As a result of the unexpected demand, “we were supply limited, and we are supply limited,” Schwinn said. Production has been increased and he said that by August, supply will catch up and the company will be shipping orders from stock.

Software upgrades are in the works that will provide Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out and In upgrade paths for all of the company’s legacy products. “There will be complete ADS-B support,” Schwinn said. “We are not in the thick of this ADS-B thing yet.”

The company has been looking with interest at the emerging certification options. “There’s a good possibility we’ll be participating in that next year,” he said.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Aircraft Accessories

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