Two unnamed aircraft manufacturers are said to be close to announcing the selection of the SmartDeck integrated avionics system under development by Esterline CMC Electronics of Montreal.
The cockpit was originally a project begun by Goodrich in the 1990s and later transferred to L-3 Avionics Systems before being sold to CMC last year. Throughout its long gestation, the innovative SmartDeck avionics system attracted considerable interest from OEMs (including, at one point, a signed contract with Cirrus), but no solid deals ever materialized. Now, CMC says the two aircraft manufacturers are in final negotiations to bring the cockpit to their airplanes, one said to be a light piston single and the other a utility twin turboprop.
SmartDeck incorporates a long list of advanced features, which are accessed through a shallow menu structure and straightforward pilot interface that are designed to make the system easy to learn and use. The cockpit also includes a “center control unit” below the main flight displays that can be used for entering flight plan information, setting radio frequencies and transponder codes, selecting autopilot modes and other tasks. Following an industry-wide trend, CMC says that display will likely morph into a touchscreen.
The company said at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh that it hopes to be able to announce the SmartDeck customers at this October’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas.