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Aspen Evolution no longer requires mechanical backup

Aircraft equipped with Aspen Evolution primary flight displays will no longer be required to carry mechanical gyros, the company announced at EAA AirVenture.

Shown are, from left, the Aspen Evolution 1000 Pro MAX primary flight display, Evolution MFD500 MAX multifunction display, and Evolution MFD1000 MAX MFD. Photo courtesy Aspen Avionics.

Aspen Avionics CEO John Uczekaj said July 26 that the FAA allowed the change after years of data showed the digital equipment is far more reliable than mechanical attitude indicators and turn coordinators that have long been required as backup instruments.

“This change allows our customers to get rid of the least reliable and most failure-prone instrument in their panels,” said Uczekaj said. “They love it for the weight savings and the clean look of the [all-digital] panels they’ll have.”

Aspen also announced a software upgrade that will allow its PFDs to interface with Garmin GFC 600 autopilots. Garmin and Aspen are working together to obtain regulatory approval to make the change.

About 14,000 Aspen PFDs are installed in the general aviation aircraft fleet. Aspen already works with Avidyne and Genesys digital autopilots.

Aspen helped start the glass-panel avionics revolution in GA 15 years ago with FAA certification of its one-, two-, or three-screen displays. Since then, other firms have surged ahead with larger, higher-resolution displays and integrated avionics suites.

About 90 percent of Aspen customers have upgraded or replaced their avionics with newer Aspen units, but the company hasn’t kept pace with the GA industry's shift towards larger screens.

Uczekaj said a merger with the AIRO Group, an international amalgamation of six aerospace firms, will give Aspen the capital it needs to bring ambitious new avionics products to market. Uczekaj is chief operating officer of AIRO, a firm based in Washington, D.C.

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Avionics

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