Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Visit With Aspen Avionics


Revolutionary avionics in a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and industry collaboration


Connected doesn't use anything as artless as Bluetooth. Instead it relies on the "Cloud," encrypted Ethernet and a large dose of proprietary "secret sauce" technology to make the whole thing work. "The FAA was very nervous about non-certified portable devices connecting to certified avionics," says Gray. "So we had to prove to them this technology was secure and absolutely bullet-proof before they would certify it."

The power of seamlessly integrating the whole flying experience seems limitless. Imagine tuning your radios, loading and modifying flight plans, retrieving and analyzing performance data, recording flight profiles and more, all at the touch of a screen on a smart device outside of the cockpit. Until now, it has never been done, and Aspen is at the forefront of the technology.

Culture Of Collaboration
Marketing Manager, Angela Anderson, is my guide and host at Aspen Avionics, and she's the face of Aspen for many pilots who frequent Oshkosh or other aviation shows throughout the year. An experienced pilot from an aviation family, Anderson's genuine enthusiasm is further evidence of Aspen's entrepreneurial culture. "We operate very much like a small company," she says, "and we listen very closely to our customers."
The power of seamlessly integrating the whole flying experience seems limitless…until now, it has never been done, and Aspen is at the forefront of the technology
Earlier, Gray had told me how many of the modifications being tested in the Lance are a direct result of customer comments at the various aviation shows. Anderson and her team spend most of their Oshkosh time at the "North 40" listening to suggestions from all different types of pilots, then bringing them back to Albuquerque to become possible system enhancements.

Aspen's entrepreneurial culture extends throughout the company. They've become one of the first avionics companies to truly collaborate with competitors to give pilots a better and safer cockpit. Their work with Avidyne on the DFC90 digital autopilot has yielded tremendous technology gains and more features in the cockpit. Aspen is now working directly with Bendix/King on the KSN 770 project to provide deep integration with it. Bendix is but one of nearly 20 companies Aspen is collaborating with to create a better product. "Building integrated products is baked into our DNA," explains Brad Hayden, Aspen's VP of Marketing. "It is the key to general aviation's future, and we openly promote integration with other companies."



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