Avionics Report

March 2015 Issue

IFD540 Flight Trial: Data-Rich, Configurable

Avidyneís IFD540 navigator offers sizable utility and an easy installation. ItĎs powerful for complex IFR missions, but questionable for basic ones.

After long certification delays, Avidyne is now shipping its IFD540 navigator, a unit billed as a while-you-wait slide-in replacement for Garminís GNS530W. Since Garmin has not offered a slide-in version of its flagship GTN750 navigator, the 540 is appealing to buyers looking for better flight planning capability, improved graphics and a hybrid touchscreen display, all without having to deal with a time-consuming and pricey installation. With a list price just shy of $17,000, the 540 is a sizable investment that has many readers asking if the unit offers enough real-world functionality to ditch a functional and reliable GNS530W. Further, how tough is the learning curve, especially for those not intimately familiar with a GNS530? In this article, Iíll attempt to answer this, based on months of flying with the IFD540 during a variety of IFR and VFR missions. We covered the IFD540 feature set in previous articles, so Iíll jump right into advanced system operation here.

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