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uAvionix climbs into cockpit

Firm buys innovative AeroVonics product line

uAvionix Corp. announced October 8 that it has acquired Albuquerque-based startup avionics manufacturer AeroVonics LLC, and will incorporate AeroVonics’ AV-20S Multifunction Display (MFD) and the AV-30 Primary Flight Display (PFD) into its line of low-cost, easily installed products. The purchase marks uAvionix’s first step into advanced digital cockpit displays for the general aviation market.

AeroVonics displayed its AV-30, a digital dual-mode attitude and direction indicator, at EAA AirVenture 2018. This one is shown in a vintage attitude indicator theme, designed for visual compatibility with classic aircraft where it could replace legacy gyro instruments. Photo by Mike Collins.

“I just can’t tell you how ecstatic we are to bring the expertly executed AeroVonics technology into this new era of uAvionix,” said Paul Beard, uAvionix CEO. “These products are truly best in class, and as standalone products they are exciting. Paired with uAvionix capabilities, we create a product roadmap that is a home run.” The acquisition shows the company’s commitment to the GA marketplace, he added.

The move allows uAvionix to expand into GA cockpits—and also supports its aspirations in the drone world, where the company has its roots, explained Christian Ramsey, president. “We’ve wanted to be front and center in your cockpit for a while, but we wanted to do it right,” he said. The company plans to add new functionality to the AV-30, which already includes an attitude indicator, altitude, airspeed, angle of attack, and directional gyro—among other functions. “We have plans that range from autopilot integration, transponder control, and a cockpit display of traffic information to give you visual and aural ADS-B traffic alerts.”

And uAvionix intends to use those capabilities in unmanned aircraft as well. “The AV-30 without the display screen is fully self-contained and to-be-certified air data attitude and heading reference system [ADAHRS]. That is something we think is going to be a key component of large and medium- to high-altitude UAS and urban air mobility systems in the future, not to mention the displays on the ground control stations for such systems,” Ramsey said.

AeroVonics' AV-20S, a two-inch-diameter, self-contained multifunction display with integral angle of attack and other capabilities. Photo by Mike Collins.

The AV-20S series MFD was approved in March under the FAA’s Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment (NORSEE) process and can be installed as a minor alteration in many GA aircraft. The AV-20S can be used as a standby attitude indicator, derived angle of attack display, G-meter, clock/timer, and outside air temperature or density altitude display. It includes a 30-minute internal battery backup and fits into a standard two-inch round instrument hole.

The AV-30 series PFD, introduced along with the AV-20S at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018, is available now for experimental aircraft; supplemental type certificate approval, for use in certified aircraft, is underway. The AV-30 includes a highly customizable user interface displaying primary attitude, slip, and direction of flight. Pilots can also add a wide variety of supplemental flight parameters, similar to those available in the AV-20S. uAvionix said autopilot integration will begin in 2020, after the initial STC approval. The AV-30 fits into a standard three-inch round instrument hole.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to bring innovative GA display products to a much wider market, far more quickly than we could have achieved on our own,” said Jeff Bethel, who founded AeroVonics in 2018. He was a co-founder of Aspen Avionics, led project engineering at Bendix/King, and worked as an avionics engineer at Eclipse Aviation, Trimble Navigation, and UPS Aviation Technologies.

“We believe the streamlined, easy-installation nature of our flight instrument suite is a perfect fit with the similarly designed uAvionix product line.” Bethel continues to lead the AV-30 certification effort; uAvionix anticipates completion at the end of 2019, with deliveries beginning in the first quarter of 2020.

Manufacturing of the AV-20S and AV-30 will transition to uAvionix’s MIDO-approved facility in Columbia Falls, Montana. The company said all AV-30 preorder positions will be honored and transferred to uAvionix.

“The AV-20S and AV-30 are perfect for our Qualified Installer network, now over 700 strong across the United States,” Ramsey said. “Our QIs will soon have access to training on installation and configuration of these products, which—while not as simple as a tailBeacon installation—will be possible in several hours. And best of all, they can come to you, rather than you trying to book time in an avionics shop.”

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: Avionics, ADS-B

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