Bright, feature-packed primary flight displays are the cat’s pajamas of the retrofit market, and on Monday at the Aircraft Electronics Association gathering in Las Vegas, Aspen Avionics President John Uczekaj told reporters about the company’s new E5 display, which slashes the price point for an approved primary flight display.
The thing that Uczekaj commented upon wasn’t all the cool things the E5 can do– Aspen displays have been doing all these things and more for a long time—but what Aspen customers were asking for: a PFD that was not certified. Certification, Uczekaj knows, is hard and it’s expensive. The reason that customers were asking for the non-TSO’ed version of the company’s Evolution display was easy. They wanted a less expensive option than Aspen’s already value-priced PFD lineup. And Aspen delivered. The E5 is approved under the FAA’s new policy of fast-tracking approvals for E2C (Experimental to Certified) products, like Garmin’s G5 and Dynon’s Skyview HDX.
Unlike its competitors’ products, Aspen’s new display is available for hundreds of airplanes under a multiple aircraft approval (AML).
And in two important ways, the E5 is better than Aspen’s more capable and costly displays. The E5, like other Aspen products, is a dual display unit, meaning it has both a primary attitude indicator (and more) and a primary nav reference, too. And like the Evolution displays, the E5 can hook up with a number of third party autopilots.
But the E5 boasts new brighter glass and its processing speed is a lot faster than the clock speeds the Evolution displays achieve. And like Aspen’s signature products, the E5 fits into an exiting round instrument hole in your plane’s panel. And like the Evolution display, it has airspeed, altitude and vertical speed tapes, skid indicator, localizer tracking, built-in ADAHRS and air data computers, not to mention a backup battery if ship’s power is lost.
The downside, and this is not surprising but not disappointing, either, is that the E5 isn’t as capable as the Evolution PFD. It lacks synthetic vision, hazard avoidance, ADS-B and HSI (the E5 has only a directional gyro and not an HSI) features, though E5 owners will be able to upgrade their existing displays at additional cost at a later date if they want to.
Aspen expects to be shipping the E5 within the next few months at a price of around $4,995.
Learn more at Aspen Avionics.