Plane & Pilot recently visited with BendixKing at its Albuquerque, New Mexico-headquarters and got to fly with the new AeroVue flat-panel retrofit system in the company’s King Air 200. In a nutshell, the system is transformative.
The title of this piece is a play on words. BendixKing’s parent company, Honeywell, is famous for developing the avionics that have gone into some of the highest end Gulfstreams and Falcons for decades, the most current generation of which is known as Primus Epic. The names that Dassault and Gulfstream use are EASy and Planeview, respectively, as airplane makers at this rarified end of the market work with the avionics contractor to customize the electronics to their plane and brand their panels accordingly.
The AeroVue system has drawn on Primus Epic architecture in its development of AeroVue. And the results are terrific. As you might know, AeroVue isn’t all new, just new to the retrofit market. While there are differences, the system is based on the Primus Apex systems in the Pilatus PC12 and the Pilatus PC24.
AeroVue is a three-display system, with a trio of 10-inch screens arrayed across the panel. It includes a new cursor control device (CCD) that if not an exact replica of one used in Epic is at least a close match. It allows the pilot (or co-pilot) to move between screens to access a series of contextually clear drop down menus to do common tasks, such as pick a new landing runway and select the approach for it.
A new multifunction keyboard is also part of the system, as is a new flight guidance panel (autopilot controller), display control panels (two, one each between displays) and dual ADAHRS solid-state heading-attitude units.
In flight the system was great to fly with, which didn’t surprise me because I’ve flown it on the PC12 on several occasions. Still, it’s always weird to me to use the CCD in an airplane that isn’t cruising at 540 knots or greater. And while I was skeptical about its appropriateness for smaller airplanes, I’ve found that it’s not only the right hardware for the job but that’s its one of the very best pilot interface devices I’ve had the opportunity to fly with.
The menus are, likewise, easy to use. On our arrival into Farmington, NM, the controller called to advise us of a runway change. A quick visit using the CCD to the flight plan window on the MFD, a click on Farmington’s icon on the screen, two drop down menus clicks, and we hit “activate” and we were golden.
BendixKing will start shipping AeroVue systems to its dealers within the next few days. For a full flight report, check out a future issue of Plane & Pilot.
Learn more at BendixKing.