During a visit to the Aircraft Electronics Association’s annual convention in Washington yesterday, there was a lot of buzz about Aspen’s “Evolution” PFD and Garmin’s “Synthetic Vision Technology.” AOPA Pilot, and this blog, have had a lot to say about both products recently, and their popularity at Sun’n Fun has been well documented.
But the final nail in the coffin of steam gauges appears to be coming from the steam gauge manufacturers themselves. RC Allen Instruments, for example, was showing off a digital artificial horizon meant to replace traditional vacuum attitude indicators. RC Allen’s “RCA 2600″ doesn’t require a separate air data computer or additional instrumentation. It just drops into the 3 1/8″ hole left by the departing attitude indicator and plugs into the electrical system. It’s got a battery backup, and at around $2,000, will cost the same or less than the instrument it replaces. A test model also contained heading information, so it could replace the directional gyro, too. The company is also building a 2″ model, and it expects to begin selling experimental versions this summer while it pursues certification . . .
Also overheard at the show:
* Bendix/King is planning a hand-held GPS “Aviator” to challenge Garmin’s dominance in the portable GPS market. Expect to see an announcement this summer.
* Synthetic vision won’t be limited to G1000s. The technology will migrate to hand-held GPSs — but it will take a couple of years to make the jump. Garmin’s high-end 496 doesn’t have enough processing power to handle the demand of so much graphics. But Garmin, and others, are working on it.
Tags: Dave Hirschman