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Aspen unveils affordable electronic flight instrument

Evolution E5 utilizes STC approval

Aspen Avionics introduced its new Evolution E5 Dual Electronic Flight Instrument (EFI) at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas on March. 26. The supplemental type certificated (STCed) Evolution E5—it does not have technical standard order (TSO) approval—consolidates a digital attitude indicator and a directional gyro/course deviation indicator into a single display with a rechargeable backup battery. The unit, which also includes global positioning system steering (GPSS), an air data computer, and attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS), is priced at $4,995.

Aspen Avionics introduced the Evolution E5 Dual Electronic Flight Instrument at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas on Mar. 26. STCed instead of TSOed, the capable unit lists for $4,995 and is fully upgradable. Photo by Mike Collins.
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Aspen Avionics introduced the Evolution E5 Dual Electronic Flight Instrument at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas on Mar. 26. STCed instead of TSOed, the capable unit lists for $4,995 and is fully upgradable. Photo by Mike Collins.

Aspen’s new product represents an extension of efforts by AOPA, working with the FAA and industry, to more affordably modernize the legacy general aviation fleet. “For years now, AOPA has been working with the FAA and industry partners to reduce unnecessary and high-cost certification requirements to enable the development of these kinds of products,” said Justin Barkowski, AOPA director of regulatory affairs. “We’re proud that companies like Aspen have taken advantage of these new certification pathways to offer more affordable products for aircraft owners and operators. We’re especially pleased to see Aspen partnering with TruTrak, which helped pave the way for a new generation of non-TSOed autopilots.”

With redesigned electronics and new glass, the Evolution E5 offers a bolder and brighter display, higher reliability, more capability, and increased processing speed—all while retaining Aspen’s unique form factor design that keeps installation costs down, the company said. Designed as a drop-in, non-TSOed replacement for traditional mechanical vacuum instruments, the Evolution E5 interfaces with most legacy autopilots as well as the new TruTrak Vizion autopilot—itself an STCed, and not TSOed, product. Aircraft owners can affordably upgrade to the Evolution E5 glass display and a TruTrak Vizion autopilot for less than $10,000, Aspen noted.

“Like all Aspen displays, the Evolution E5 is configurable, upgradeable, and affordable. The E5 can also be upgraded to a full TSO Evolution Pro 1000 flight display,” said John Uczekaj, Aspen president and CEO. “Unlike other standalone systems, our versatile design and open architecture allow features to be easily configured to specific flight needs, with the opportunity to add additional options and capability without unit replacement. Simply, it’s a smart investment for now and for the future.”

Aspen E5 with glideslope and LOC. Photo courtesy of Aspen.

The Aspen Evolution E5 features a large, 6-inch-diagonal, 400-by-760-pixel TFT Active Matrix LCD screen with a bold, bright display; it works with existing avionics. Its single-unit installation provides a path for removal of vacuum systems; a backup attitude indicator is not required; and it will interface with—and provide GPSS roll steering to—most autopilots in the market. Aspen said the Evolution E5 will be available starting in the middle of 2018.

It’s no coincidence the Evolution E5 looks like the Evolution 1000 Pro primary flight display, Uczekaj said. “We want to have continuity for our customer base. And it provides a vehicle for us to bring innovation more quickly into our product line.”

If an Evolution E5 customer wants to upgrade to the Evolution 1000 Pro, it only requires a software upgrade—which can be accomplished by designated dealers. “No matter what we do, we’re going to provide a path for our customers to keep up,” he said, adding that owners shouldn’t have to worry about their avionics becoming obsolete. “People keep their airplanes. New safety technologies are going to come out. We want our customers to know they’re going to be able to benefit from it.”

For example, Uczekaj said that Aspen’s electronic angle of attack (AOA) indicator has made his flying better. “It’s an amazing change in the way I fly. I fly AOA on approaches now,” he said. While AOA is not available on the Evolution E5, an owner can upgrade to obtain that capability. “I believe that once people get glass in, they’re going to want synthetic vision; they’re going to want angle of attack; they’re going to want a full EFIS system.”

Aspen has learned from Dynon’s and Garmin’s experiences in working with the FAA on this new path to approval. “We’re taking it one step further with the upgrade path,” Uczekaj said. “The FAA has been wonderful to work with. They are facilitating this. I’ve been in this [industry] for 36 years, and what I see right now is as game changing as anything I’ve seen. I really think this is just the beginning.”

Aspen also said that it is lowering prices on its Evolution 1000 Pro PFD and Evolution Pro Plus PFD. The company is offering a $2,000 discount off list pricing for the Evolution 1000 Pro PFD—and $3,500 off list pricing for the Evolution 1000 Pro Plus PFD—through April 30.

The Evolution 1000 Pro Plus PFD is the company’s flagship product, and includes angle of attack and synthetic vision software. “Whether someone chooses to install the Evolution Pro 1000 or Pro Plus PFD, they can be confident that when new technology emerges, they will not need to replace their Aspen display to get the latest technology,” said Mark Ferrari, vice president of sales and customer service.

Aspen is now an authorized Part 23 reseller of L3 Aviation Products’ Lynx NGT-9000 ADS-B touchscreen transponder and multifunction display for traffic and weather, as well as the Stormscope Lightning Detection System and ESI-500 Electronic Standby Instrument System. The products are natural complements to Aspen’s family of Evolution flight display systems, Ferrari said. “With these products, we will be able to better help aircraft owners and dealers alike understand the safety and situational awareness benefits of the combination of these three product lines with other Aspen products.”

Mike Collins
Mike Collins
Technical Editor
Mike Collins, AOPA technical editor and director of business development, died at age 59 on February 25, 2021. He was an integral part of the AOPA Media team for nearly 30 years, and held many key editorial roles at AOPA Pilot, Flight Training, and AOPA Online. He was a gifted writer, editor, photographer, audio storyteller, and videographer, and was an instrument-rated pilot and drone pilot.
Topics: Aircraft Electronics Association, Aviation Industry, Avionics

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