Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Avidyne Entegra Release 9 Integrated Flight Deck
The next-gen glass cockpit arrives
The top half of the pilot’s IFD always displays the PFD view, showing power setting, airspeed, attitude, altitude and vertical speed, and also helpful information like speed and direction of headwinds and tailwinds. The PFD currently presents a generic exterior for the widescreen attitude indicator (AI); after initial certification, however, Avidyne plans to certify the system for both synthetic- and enhanced-vision capability in this mode. Any other mode can be viewed simultaneously on the IFD. So, for example, a map of the approach can be viewed on the same screen with the PFD.
Six line select keys (LSKs) on each side of the bezel serve as action keys to control data input and select functions within each mode, depending on the mode and tab being viewed. LSKs select radios, turn the weather overlay on or off, or arm an approach. Though individual LSKs are dormant in many mode views, they illuminate whenever active, making it easy for pilots to direct their eyes where they’re needed. The data and function fields appear adjacent to the controlling LSK and are very clearly labeled. There are no hidden layers beyond this depth.
At the bottom corners of the bezel, two dual-concentric push-button knobs (DCKs) control inputs, dialing in identifiers and frequencies. But not much knob-turning time will likely be spent here for two reasons, as a recent flight in the company’s Entegra Release 9–equipped Cirrus SR22 demonstrated.
First is the aforementioned optional FDC—aka the ACD215 control/display unit (CDU)—with full QWERTY keyboard. A map pointer on the FDC moves a cursor so you can, for example, quickly see the weather ahead and change the map scale by rotating the pointer knob.
The second reason very little knob turning or keyboard inputs are required is the FMS900w FMS. The “context-sensitive” system knows where you are, and nominates frequencies, waypoints and routes when flight planning or flying. Therefore, often all that’s required to input data is a click to confirm a selection the system has suggested. Selecting from a list of approaches is about as complex as it gets.
This is most evident when creating a flight plan in FMS mode. The GeoFill feature predicts and nominates upcoming waypoints on your flight plan based on proximity and route of flight as you type in identifiers or airways.
The system architecture includes a dual-redundant peer-to-peer data bus, ensuring that a single-point failure can’t create a daisy chain of failures that affects other functions.
Avidyne, based in Lincoln, Mass., is introducing Release 9 as an aftermarket upgrade for Cirrus and Piper aircraft equipped with Entegra panels. Certification for Cirrus aftermarket installations is expected in the first half of 2009; in the second half of 2009 for Pipers. Contact Avidyne for exact pricing and availability. For more information, visit www.release9.com.
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