Avidyne on Monday launched a family of panel-mount avionics that is aimed squarely at owners of Garmin equipment, and in particular the popular GNS 530 GPS navcom. The flagship of the Avidyne product line is the touchscreen IFD540 WAAS navigator, a “plug-and-play” replacement for the Garmin GNS 530 that has a claimed installation time of as little as one to two hours and is positioned as a direct competitor to Garmin’s new GTN 750 touchscreen unit.
Most impressive about the Avidyne product is its use of the databus, operating system and rocker-style keys from Avidyne’s Entegra R9 integrated avionics system. The IFD540, in fact, is a “miniature R9 system scaled to the exact size and weight of a GNS 530, so you don’t even have to change the weight and balance in your airplane,” said Avidyne founder Dan Schwinn.
Equally as surprising is the price of the IFD540. The unit will list for $16,995 when it hits the market next year, but Avidyne is offering special AirVenture pricing through the end of this week of $8,500 to current Garmin GNS 530W owners. That includes the installation cost, and “you get to keep your old Garmin unit and sell it on the used avionics market,” Schwinn said.
With preowned Garmin GNS 530W’s currently selling for around $8,500, it’s an intriguing proposition.
Avidyne is also offering the IFD540 to non-GNS 530 owners at a special price of $9,000 through the end of the show, but that does not include a WAAS-capable antenna or the cost of installation.
Schwinn said buyers of the IFD540 will enjoy many of the advanced features of the Entegra R9 cockpit, including Avidyne’s FMS Vectors and GeoFill functions, while also having the ability to enter flight-plan information by touching the unit’s screen and, a la the Apple iPad, calling up a virtual qwerty keyboard. The unit includes a 10-watt, 8.33-kHz VHF radio and two-channel NAV/LOC receiver with one-touch frequency list tuning. The unit will support Avidyne’s CMax electronic approach charts and includes a terrain awareness system or, for an extra $1,000, can be upgraded to TAWS-B functionality.
As part of the new panel-mount product line, Avidyne also introduced the AMX240 audio panel ($5,995 list price) as a slide-in replacement for the Garmin GMA340 and the AXP340 ADS-B OUT-capable mode-S transponder ($2,395 list). The final piece of the package is the previously announced DFC90 autopilot, which Avidyne has recently expanded to the Cessna 182 and Beechcraft Bonanza and Baron.