Business & GA

20 New Avionics Technologies Introduced at AEA 2018

SmartSky Networks' air-to-ground connectivity tower. SmartSky unveiled SmartSky Lite for light jets and turboprops at AEA 2018. Photo courtesy of SmartSky


Avionics manufacturing innovation is booming for the business and general aviation industry, as demonstrated in the annual opening ceremony at the 2018 Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention.

The theme of the new product introductions at the event focuses around improving aircraft connectivity and data acquisition, such as simplifying pilot workload and providing new ADS-B upgrade options, among other new capabilities.

This list is in no ranking order, and does not feature every new product unveiled. You can watch the full new product ceremony that was live-streamed on Aero News Network Monday on its YouTube page.

SmartSky Networks used the opening ceremony at AEA 2018 to unveil its new SmartSky Lite connectivity technology, designed to bring 4G LTE air-to-ground cellular connections to light jets and turboprops with up to 19,000 pounds max takeoff weight. According to SmartSky, the introductory cost to operate SmartSky Lite is $75 per hour for unlimited data.

Latitude Technologies President Mark Insley introduced the Canadian manufacturer’s new Enode engine data acquisition unit. Insley described the Enode as enabling engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) and flight data monitoring (FDM). Latitude also notes that the Enode can be installed on its own to capture engine signals and convert to ARINC 429 or can be mechanically coupled with is IONode lightweight flight data recorder.

Honeywell Aerospace introduced its new GoDirect Router, which the company says reduces the size, weight and power of aircraft routers for business jets. According to Honeywell, on average, current aircraft routers use two MCU in the avionics bay, weigh around eight pounds and consume about 50 watts of power. Honeywell's new GoDirect Router is 8.2 by 5.6 by 1.75 inches, weighs less than 4.2 pounds and consumes 30 watts of power.

Applied Avionics announced the latest addition to its Nexsys product line — an ARINC 429 multi-bit converter with up to four discrete outputs and a multi-bit converter for digital-to-analog signal conversion. The company also announced its new ARINC 429 multi-bit decoder to help simplify WAAS/LPV installations.

Send Solutions announced new pilot functionality for its Iridium satellite communications text-messaging system, the Airtext+, which Send Solutions President David Gray said has morphed from being designated to passenger use to featuring more pilot functionality. The FAA has approved its servers for sending digital ATIS to airplanes, as well as ASOS, international METARS and TAFs. The company also added a new functionality called “FBOlink,” which allows pilots to directly exchange text messages with the CSRs at their FBO of choice.

Universal Avionics unveiled its new external configuration editor (ECE) for its InSight cockpit display system. The ECE is a cloud-based applications that allows installers to import configuration data and export configurations to be loaded into the aircraft through a serial bus.

Kuerzi Avionics announced its new Pico Close Loop Controller, which is a Bluetooth controller capable of controlling cabin light control, heating and entertainment systems. The PCLC can also consolidate remote controls, EMS and special mission systems on a single network.

Tel-Instrument Electronics Corp. is bringing a “all-in-one” avionics test set to the market. Its SDR Omni, capable of testing everything from low frequency automatic direction finders up to high frequency L-band GPS. Using modern cell phone technology, the tester can transmit or receive all complex avionics signal types as software. Avionics test functions for the SDR Omni can be purchased as applications, downloaded in a way similar to how modern smartphone applications add new functionality to smart phones. The first app release will be available for SDR Omni in September 2018 for ADS-B testing.

Helitrak has a new autopilot for the Robinson R44, featuring Level A design assurance and an integrated ADAHARS. Certification for the new autopilot is target for the first quarter of 2019.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies revealed several new products at AEA 2018, including its Octax-Solo connectors, which accommodate data throughput rates ranging from one to 10 Gbps. The manufacturer also introduced its EFB EZ Mount and universal cradle system that works with any smart tablet. The company is also awaiting an STC on a new cockpit power-charging port.

Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) announced ThrustSense, which the company describes as the first and only current turboprop autothrottle system that is certified for use in turboprop aircraft. It provides the pilot with automatic navigation and speed control from rotation to decision height. ThrustSense is currently certified for the PC-12. IS&S is also targeting STCs for the King Air, Piper Meridian and Cessna Caravan aircraft.

Rockwell Collins announced new tools designed to help business aviation operators manage the use of airborne connectivity with its ArincDirect Cabin Dashboard. The cabin dashboard analyzes usage and helps manage devices and sends alerts when limits reached, and it can also display usage by application type or device.

Aspen Avionics has a new electronic flight instrument, the Evolution E5, which can interface with most autopilots, and is available for just $4,995.

PS Engineering Inc. unveiled its new PAC 45 J, an upgraded version of its Multi-Talker processing audio panel designed for business jets. It features three transceivers, seven receivers and bluetooth capability as well.

Blue Avionics is currently awaiting certification of its BA-540 adaptable avionics unit, that can be configured to provided complex ARINC 429 functions and remapping, as well as dynamic filtering and high-order math functions. It was first used as a mach overspeed warning computer for a NASA special mission configured Boeing 747. The BA-540 will soon be certified for the Citation V. Blue Avionics also announced its new BA-110 ARINC to CSDB converter unit, capable of converting ARINC 429 to CSDB outputs.

Buller Enterprises unveiled its new LZ1 laser engraver, which the company describes as an accessory to aid in cockpit instrument panel markings alongside their Panel Pro 5925.

RDDS Avionics introduced a new mission computer, a new range of sense displays and a ruggedized mission keyboard. Its new RD3003 mission management unit has i7 processors, dual CPUs and up to 32 GB of RAM.

Esterline Power Systems unveiled its new modular power distribution system, a standardized box that allows customized configuration of universal programmable sensors, contactors and solid state power controllers, among other components.

Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing (AEM) has new audio amplifiers, its LSA150 and LSA300 Class D amps with a smart power supply and fault protection. The company also announced the AWGO8 audio warning generator, which it expects to receive certification on later this year.

BendixKing introduced its CNI 5000 ADS-B upgrade for the Cessna Citation 525, 525A and Bravo 500. The Honeywell subsidiary also announced the MST 70B, a slide in ADS-B upgrade for the MST 67A.


Note: A previous version of this article included a reference to Mid Continent Instruments. The article has been updated with Mid Continent replaced by a new product introduced by Buller Enterprises.

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