Avionics Report

September 2009 Issue

EFIS Report Card Overall Grade: B+

Owners like EFIS and wouldn’t go back to steam gauges. But weak training, high cost of data revisions and complexity are persistent complaints.

Not so long ago—about six years to be precise—we were reporting on electronic flight displays as the next big thing. And to be honest, we weren’t sure if the idea would stick. It did. Now that we’re into the third—or is it fourth?—generation of this technology, it’s fair to examine what users think of it. Glass is now standard equipment on virtually every new airplane sold by a major manufacturer. Garmin is by far the dominant provider, but Avidyne sells plenty of systems, too. Lately, Aspen Avionics has made a dent in the aftermarket with its well-regarded Evolution system and a couple of OEMs have picked it up for new airplanes. With all that glass out there, the obvious question is has this technology delivered on its promise? Are buyers and users happy with it? What do they like about it? What don’t they like? Is the stuff just a nightmare to maintain? To find the answers, we published an in-depth set of questions on our electronic news service site, avweb.com. The questions covered a range of topics and 330 owners and pilots replied. In this article, we’ll analyze the responses to our survey.

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