With the lines in the panels of light aircraft blurring between off-the-shelf products like tablets, traditional FAA-certificated panel-mount hardware and Experimental-to-Certificated products like Garmin’s newly announced G5 attitude indicator, Avidyne has blurred them even more with the introduction of its IFD app for iOS, which replicates the display of the company’s IFD550 hybrid multifunction display.
At AirVenture’s opening day, Avidyne founder and CEO Dan Schwinn showed images of an iPad mounted on the panel of a certified airplane covering the standard “six-pack” instruments. The tablet, Schwinn explained, could be popped back out of its clips to allow viewing of the installed instruments. The FAA, Schwinn said, when asked about the approach, merely shrugged and said the iPad was just a portable device with which pilots of light planes were free to use as they saw fit.
Somewhat lost in this bit of showbiz hype was Avidyne’s emerging product, the IFD550, which, while a traditional multifunction display, will also feature an attitude reference system and synthetic vision, both functions never before (to our knowledge) certified by the FAA on any non-primary flight display instruments. Going even beyond that fact is the addition in the IFD550 of a non-pilot-centric, synthetic-vision-generated view of the airplane in its environment, again, a display approach we haven’t seen before in certified avionics.
Retail cost of the IFD550 is $21,999, though Avidyne has a trade-in program, essentially giving you a $5,000 credit for your IFD540 MFD ($16,999 retail)—turn in your IFD540 and Avidyne will give you a new IFD550 with a two-year warranty. And there’s no installation or wiring charges to make the switch.
Avidyne expects certification for the IFD550 later this year.