So you’re gonna dump that old steam gauge six pack and go glass? Can I interest you in installing the avionics from the F-16 fighter jet in your favorite airplane?
You can. Well, nearly so, because some of the very same engineers that made the F-16’s cockpit look more spaceship than airplane are on the team that developed the revolutionary new BendixKing AeroVue™ Touch primary flight display, which is now available for certified GA aircraft.
What’s so revolutionary about it? Read on.
You only need to look at the AeroVue Touch to know it’s something special. It features a mind-numbing near-4K resolution, head and shoulders above anything else in GA glass. In fact, it’s the highest res screen available for our planes.
On the display is everything you’d expect from a cutting-edge glass cockpit. AeroVue Touch uses Honeywell’s SmartView Synthetic Vision—previously found only on commercial and business jets—for astounding situational awareness. The terrain ahead is depicted in 3-D, overlaid by heads-up-style graphical flight instruments. The glass attitude indicator is flanked by speed and altitude ribbons. Below is a GPS directional “gyro” and other key flight data. The Touch displays 2-D and 3-D moving maps, sectional charts, IFR low and high charts, terrain data, traffic, and more. It features both full-screen and split-screen modes to allow pilots to customize their view of the AeroVue Touch.
But the key feature of the AeroVue Touch is its touch screen. “It doesn’t have a million knobs like a traditional system does,” says Karan Shrivastava, a senior product manager for BendixKing, “from a pilot work load reduction point of view, it’s pretty amazing.” He says that the Touch responds to all the typical finger navigation we’ve become accustomed to on our consumer devices. “It reminds me of using my iPad in my living room” he says, “it responds the way I’m used to.”
Plus, there’s a hidden gem: When developing the touch screen, BendixKing engineers went in a different direction from many of today’s touch screens, which use capacity touch. Instead, the AeroVue Touch uses an infrared system, allowing for seamless operation when wearing gloves, even on the most artic of days. As an added bonus, the onscreen “buttons” are large, to reduce missed touches.
Speaking of touches, BendixKing engineers went beyond the hardware, putting themselves in the cockpit when they created the system. All critical flight functions can be reached in one or two touches, and even the most “buried” feature can be reached in four.
But what about using that touch screen in turbulence? The folks at BendixKing have ridden out some serious turbulence in their time, too. The hardware is designed with an ergonomic turbulence grip, a ridge around the perimeter of the display that helps with hand stability in bumpy weather. There’s also a conventional four-knob remote control, which can be installed in any location in the cockpit, for pilots to fall back on. It features a dial for each of the critical flight functions of heading, altitude, course, and barometric pressure, providing an extra level of safety in the worst of conditions.
Thinking forward, the Touch is engineered for future software updates. Shrivastava says the team is working on brining engine data, radios, autopilot controls and more to the display in the future; and speaking of updates, all databases can be uploaded on the ground from the internet using cell phone, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth.
I don’t hear anything… That’s right ladies and gentlemen, you can’t hear the Touch, because the touch is virtually silent. Unlike many computerized systems, it has no cooling fans. Instead, it uses a passive convection cooling system. According to Shrivastava, the back of the unit has fins that guide heat away from the Touch, much, he says, like a chimney whisks heat up and away. As an added benefit, the lack of cooling fans reduces maintenance, as there are no moving parts to break, and dust can’t work its way into the innards of the system.
While packed with features, the Touch isn’t a weighty option. At only 11 pounds for the entire system, you’re going to come out ahead on your useful load when you pull all those old gyros out.
And it’s designed for quick install to minimize downtime. The unit, with its 10.1-inch screen, is designed to fit into the same geographical space as the six-pack it replaces, minimizing panel cut outs. That means a faster, cheaper install.
The AeroVue Touch is FAA approved for 353 types of certified aircraft, including yours.