Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Lease On Flying

Retrofit avionics can add a lot of capability for not a lot of money

Forward Vision, based in Russell, Pa., makes the thermal-imaging cameras and systems used in enhanced vision systems. The company is the exclusive distributor of the EVS-100 and EVS-600 product line. EVS integrates in several glass-cockpit systems, both fixed and portable.
The Fun Stuff
If your budget is flexible and you want to go for the big-ticket items, 3D synthetic vision and EVS systems are some of the coolest things to come along in GA in a long time. It’s comforting to watch the display on a pitch-black night and be totally confident in knowing what’s in front, over and under you. Retrofitting your aircraft with one of these advanced, vision-enhancing systems is an investment in your safety. Prices have come down as the technology has matured, so it will soon be within reach of more pilots.

Retrofit 101
By looking at avionics retrofits in small pieces, it makes the whole a bit easier to swallow. Sure, adding new components will cost money, but you would be surprised how valuable that added situational awareness is. The list in this article includes some of the best-known and popular avionics-retrofit manufacturers and service facilities. If you’re considering getting an upgrade, before your make your purchase, take a look at all of the options available for aftermarket products. I especially love my engine analyzer when I’m out over the Pacific Ocean, not within gliding distance of anything, and I can see my healthy engine purring away.




ACR Electronics
In business since 1959, ACR is one of the largest makers and suppliers of emergency equipment to the military, outdoor and aviation industries. • SARLink PLB • RapidDitch Bag
• Firefly lights • RapidFire strobe
• Vecta 3 direction finder
Aspen Avionics
Aspen specializes in full-featured avionics that can be fitted into existing aircraft . Aspen focuses on modular, affordable systems that slide into existing instrument panel holes. • EFD1000 PFD
• EFD 500 MFD
• Evolution 2500
• EWR50 weather receiver
Avidyne develops integrated flight-deck systems for light general aviation. Avidyne has a number of “firsts” to their credit, including the first TAS system for under $10,000 and the first datalink-capable MFD. • Entegra MFD and PFD • Entegra FMS9000W • EX5000 and EX600 MFD
• TAS 600 MLB 700 datalink receiver
• TWX670 Tactical Weather Detection
Cobham Avionics
Cobham specializes in the development of systems for aerospace and the defense industry. One of Cobham’s products is the Synthetic Vision EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System), as well as a multitude of GPS sensors, navigation, surveillance and terrain-awareness and warning systems. • Flexcomm radio systems
• FliteLine com and nav systems
• S-TEC autopilots
• GPS-WAAS receivers
• 3D Synthetic Vision EFIS systems, PFDs and MFDs
Electronics International
Electronics International has carved a niche in the engine analyzer and display market with a vast product line that includes everything from sensors and probes to complete glass-engine displays. • MVP-50 engine
• UBG-16 engine analyzers
• FL- and FP-series fuel monitor
Emerging Lifesaving
Technologies (ELT)
ELT produces the new 406 MhZ emergency locator transmitters. Their latest product is a 406 ELT with a built-in GPS for aviation use. The company also produces a complete line of antennas, mounting plates and more. • ELT406GPS locator
• ELT antennas
Forward Vision
Forward Vision makes the thermal-imaging cameras and systems used in EVS systems (enhanced vision). • EVS-100 camera
• EVS-600 camera
• EVS-1500 camera
What can you say about Garmin that hasn’t already been said? Major hits in the aviation industry include the G600 and G1000 glass cockpits, their line of portable GPS units starting with the Garmin GPS 196, the GFC700 autopilot and Garmin’s premiere, touch-screen G3000 integrated flight deck. • G3X PFD and MFD • G300 for the Cessna 162 • G900 • GTS traffic advisory
• GMX MFD • GMA audio panels
• GTX transponders • GNS navigators
• GFC 700 • G500-G600 PFD & MFD
• G1000 & G3000 glass cockpits


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