Big Plans For Small Glass Panels
Homebuilt and LSA 'glass cockpit' provider Dynon Avionics
provided an early glimpse of its next generation glass-cockpit EFIS
technology at AirVenture 2008 this week. This new system is slated
to be released in phases starting next year, and will offer the
complete, full-panel integration that has formerly only been found
in the most expensive glass cockpit solutions.
"From the start, our vision has been to provide an integrated
avionics solution that can do it all. There are high-end solutions
that exist today, but they are simply out of reach for most
homebuilders and Light Sport Aircraft customers. This new product
line will make fully-integrated glass cockpit technology
affordable," said John Torode, President of Dynon Avionics.
Dynon says its next generation platform leverages the avionics
design expertise Dynon has gained through its current EFIS and EMS
systems. From there, Dynon took a fresh look at what today's
homebuilders and sport pilots are looking for and is building a
next generation platform that is powerful, comprehensive,
expandable, and affordable.
In contrast to its current line of self-contained products,
Dynon's next generation system will be modular in design.
Separating the displays from the other components of the system
will allow customers to start with the number of screens of their
choosing. From there, they can build a custom system by adding the
modules that are right for their aircraft and budget.
For example, different sized screens can be mixed and matched.
Other possibilities include using multiple ADAHRS (Air Data,
Attitude, and Heading Reference System) modules for flight
instrument redundancy. Similarly, multiple engine monitoring
modules will eventually be supported for use in twin-engine
Configurations similar to Dynon Avionics' current product line
will continue to be possible. Stand-alone primary flight displays,
engine monitors, and moving maps are all products which can be
configured with this modular system. Additionally, this distributed
architecture should improve field-serviceability of Dynon products,
by allowing modules to be replaced and serviced individually.
Another advantage of a modular design is the ability for Dynon
to offer screens that will be less than 3" deep (final dimensions
to be determined). This will improve installation options for
customers with tandem-seat aircraft, as well as for customers that
have minimal space behind their instrument panels.
LED-backlit screens will be available in both 7" and 10"
versions. They will be the brightest screens that Dynon has ever
offered, improving on the current screens now available.
Dynon says it has always sought to offer a GPS-based moving map,
but realized that a viable product needed to compete with the
graphics and usability of the various -- and impressive -- portable
handheld GPS units on the market. In the next generation system, a
dedicated 3D graphics processor built into each screen will provide
the horsepower needed to draw a large map smoothly at a high frame
rate. Dual joystick knobs will let pilots pan and zoom the map, a
key feature which is cumbersome or missing in many other
The map will initially feature terrain, aviation, and
obstruction data. Further down the road, the moving map will be
expanded to include other data sources such as traffic and weather.
The dedicated 3D graphics processor will also enable
forward-looking synthetic vision at a high frame rate. This will
allow pilots to see the terrain and obstructions in front of them.
When using the Dynon moving map to navigate, a "highway-in-the-sky"
depiction of the desired path will guide pilots visually through
Dynon says the next generation system will also include an
autopilot, and an engine monitoring module that can be mounted in
an area that is most convenient for the aircraft builder. Radios
and transponders will also be included down the line.
The displays being shown at AirVenture are early prototypes, so
some details are subject to change. Starting in 2009, different
elements of the system will come to market progressively.
Initially, Dynon expects to have both the 7" and 10" screens
available, along with the ADAHRS module that provides all of the
primary flight instruments. This will enable a system that has a
complete PFD with synthetic vision and moving map.
Engine monitor, autopilot, radio, and transponder integration
will follow after the initial release.