Letters From Readers: November 2018

Avidyne Customer Support

9 IFD550 approach ADJUSTED

Congratulations on a great field report article on the Avidyne IFD550 in the September 2018 Aviation Consumer. As I’m sure you know, the IFD navigators have gone through many software changes since their introduction and continually get better, plus they have more functionality based partly on suggestions from their users.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned in your coverage is the commendable customer support that Avidyne provides to its customers. On a recent flight to the Bahamas from the Northeast area my IFD550 died completely while I was flying 60 miles off the coast of Florida. I was unable to navigate with it or even transmit with its comm radio.

When I landed, I sent an email to Avidyne’s technical support wondering how I would get home if my second IFD navigator had a similar issue on my trip, and how soon I could have it replaced once I did get home. I got an email back from Avidyne asking what airport in Florida I would be using to clear customs on my return. When I told them I would be using Treasure Coast Airport in Fort Pierce, Florida, they told me a replacement IFD550 would be waiting for me, along with an installer to put it in.

That type of customer service is totally off the charts and your readers should know about it.

Larry Levin
Lincoln, Rhode Island

Thank you for the thorough article on Avidyne’s IFD550 navigator. I was an early adopter and have the IFD540. Your article didn’t mention if there is an upgrade program to step up from the IFD540 to the flagship IFD550. Is there?

Steve Herrington
via email

Avidyne offers a trade-up exchange program. You send your existing IFD540 to the factory and for $5000, Avidyne sends a new IFD550. The trade-in unit is subject to review by Avidyne for operation and cosmetic condition.

Roll Your Own Flight Tote

I know you’ve evaluated compact aviation flight totes, but I found something that might be of interest to your readers. I was looking for a top-loading compact flight bag that would hold two headsets, a Garmin aera 795 portable GPS, a Zuluworks kneeboard and an iPad, along with a pocket or two for extra batteries, flashlight and pilot’s manuals. I checked the bags available at the usual vendors at AirVenture this year and didn’t find what I was looking for.

Since then I found that a $50 Canon 200DG camera bag worked beautifully. If you fold the earcups of Lightspeed Zulu headsets flat you can fit two headsets, the kneeboard with logbook and an iPad in the top loading main compartment, plus the Garmin aera 795 in its storage case will fit in the large front pocket. The pocket inside the top flap will hold the Garmin and POH manuals and there are end pockets for miscellaneous items. The top flap is secured by Velcro strips on the ends and two straps with quick-clip-type buckles. There are two straps at the front of the bottom for lashing a tripod to the bag. They are not obtrusive, could be used for an umbrella or just cut off.

Mark Burns
via email

FAA’S Norsee Policy

I’m confused about the FAA NORSEE (non required safety enhancing equipment) policy and I’m trying to replace an RC Allen electric standby attitude gyro with a digital attitude indicator.

Why can a Dynon D3 be installed, but a Garmin G5 can’t be installed as a backup?

Rolf Scholz

Columbus, Indiana

The Dynon is a portable unit and an apples to oranges comparison to Garmin’s permanently installed G5. Still, we asked Garmin’s Bill Stone for comment.

“FAA NORSEE guidance (FAA Policy number PS-AIR-21.8-1602) is a vehicle to obtain design and production approval; it is not a method to achieve an installation approval. NORSEE provides guidance and procedures for issuing a design and production approval to a U.S. manufacturer pursuant to 14 CFR 21.8(d) for equipment designated as NORSEE that is determined to be a minor change to type design and whose failure condition is minor. NORSEE approval under this policy does not convey an approval for installation in a type-certificated aircraft, it is only a method of approval for manufacturing and marketing/distribution. Installation and approval of NORSEE equipment is separate from the design/production approval, and often may require costly field approvals.

With the G5, we chose to obtain design and production approval via more traditional PMA methods, in conjunction with installation approval via an extensive AML STC. This simplifies and lowers costs of installation, and the PMA/STC is recognized internationally,” Stone told us.