Aspen Avionics introduced the latest generation of its Evolution flight displays, the Evolution MAX series, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23.
The new primary flight displays (PFD) and multi-function displays (MFD) feature redesigned electronics and new glass, providing a bolder and brighter display with higher reliability and several new, customer-requested capabilities such as text and window enlargement and increased processing speeds—while retaining Aspen’s unique form factor designed to keep installation costs down.
The Evolution Pro 1000 MAX PFD is priced at $9,995; the Evolution MFD500 MAX MFD is $5,495, and the Evolution MFD1000 MAX MFD is $8,995. Upgrades of existing displays will be available at an introductory price of $2,995. The Evolution MAX series will be available in the fourth quarter of 2018.
All of the new Evolution MAX displays can be configured for one-, two-, or three-unit installations, providing more glass display area and the ability to display more information than other products. Aspen said customers can continue to choose to upgrade all at once, or start with a single-unit display.
“From the beginning, Aspen has always been committed to developing an avionics platform that can grow with a pilot’s needs with access to new technology as it becomes available. Our unique approach to designing and engineering new products for the general aviation community gives our current customer base—approximately 14,000 worldwide—a path to cost effectively upgrade to the latest Aspen displays without investing in a new cockpit installation,” said John Uczekaj, Aspen president and CEO. “With the MAX series, we continue to maintain that long-standing commitment to our existing customers while pledging to provide our new customers affordable avionics and upgrade paths.
“In the world of avionics, historically a company puts out a platform, and the next product is a different platform,” Uczekaj told AOPA in a conversation about the new products in late June. Aspen is committed to an upgradable path forward, he added. “Our strategy has always been to allow people to upgrade without starting over. As an aircraft owner myself, it’s frustrating to think that if I put in a glass cockpit, five years later I will have to rip out my panel to stay up to date with the latest technology.”
“Aspen was founded on the fact that we would protect our customers’ investments,” Uczekaj said at EAA AirVenture on July 23. “We won’t force them to totally turn over their panel every time technology changes.”
He also noted that certification rules about backups are changing, and that Aspen’s philosophy historically has been not to rely on GPS—so it had to rely on the pitot-static system; if the pitot is lost, say because of icing, the directional gyro display will be covered with a red “X.”
“The new Pro MAX—and the E5, for that matter—will include a degraded backup mode that will allow you to get to the ground,” Uczekaj said.
The new displays’ glass—which is the same glass used on the Evolution E5—shows more colors, and provides better resolution. “That will allow us to do some other things,” he said. For example, selection and data entry will be made much easier by the ability for the system to temporarily enlarge the font when that’s beneficial; afterwards it will revert to the normal size. “We believe a lot of people with the E5 will want to upgrade to the Pro MAX in the future.”
“You’ll be amazed by the color scheme, resolution, and speed of the Pro MAX,” Uczekaj said.
Key features of the MAX series include GPS-aided attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) in the event of pitot static failure; new, vibrant colors with new glass displays; higher reliability and faster refresh rates with the latest processors; and audio panel interface. Chart and countdown timers are available on MFD500 and MFD1000 MAX MFDs. In addition, the MFD500 and MFD1000 MAX MFDs now offer 350-nautical-mile zoom levels and METAR flags on navigation maps, and can provide height above ground level on navigation and terrain maps.
Higher resolution of the 6-inch-diagonal, 400-by-760-pixel TFT Active Matrix LCD screens provides a bolder and brighter display. Fonts and windows automatically enlarge when entering information, and then return to their normal sizes when done. As with other Aspen products, the Evolution MAX series will work with existing avionics. Aspen has aircraft model list approvals for more than 600 aircraft types.
Aspen also announced that it is in the final stages of receiving FAA approval for the Evolution E5 Dual Electronic Flight Instrument (EFI). It was introduced in April 2018 at the Aircraft Electronics Association annual convention.
The STCed, non-TSO Evolution E5 consolidates the attitude indicator and directional gyro/course deviation indicator into a single display with a rechargeable backup battery. It also includes Global Positioning System Steering (GPSS), air data computer, and AHRS, and pricing starts at $4,995.
“The interest in the E5 has been overwhelming, and our order book is filling up quickly. We expect to be shipping the E5 in August,” said Mark Ferrari, Aspen vice president of sales and customer support.
Like all Aspen displays, the Evolution E5 EFI is configurable, upgradeable, and affordable. The E5 can also be upgraded to the new EFD1000 Pro MAX PFD through an affordable upgrade path that comes with a new, two-year warranty. Aspen said its versatile design and open architecture allow features to be easily configured to specific flight needs, and that additional options and capability can be added without unit replacement.
Upon FAA approval, Aspen said the Evolution E5 will be sold directly to consumers by Aspen’s authorized dealers and by aviation retailers. For more information, see the Aspen website.