Avionics Report

January 2010 Issue

Aspen MFD: Cost- and Size-Effective

The big attraction is that you can shoehorn everything into the six-pack zone without much angst. It can also double as a PFD or split-screen display for backup.

Once upon a time in a galaxy not far away and not that long ago, there was no such thing as an EFIS. The aviation world was guided by spinning iron gyros on jeweled bearings. Then, overnight it seems, you could practically buy one of these things in the electronic department at Walmart. Okay, so that’s an absurd exaggeration, but there are still a bunch of aftermarket EFIS choices out there and Aspen, Garmin, Avidyne and, soon, Bendix/King continue to offer more. Most recent is an expansion of the Aspen line with new approvals for the EFD500 and EFD1000 in the multifunction role. As we’ve reported previously, Aspen has essentially invented its own niche market by engineering a compact, easy-to-install PFD that fits electronic gyros into the space normally occupied by the AI and DG/HSI. Even in an anemic market, Aspen has enjoyed brisk sales, evidently because the installation does less violence to the basic panel and because the price is right.

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