Avidyne's popular FlightMax EX500 multifunction display is now shipping with built-in satellite datalink capability. The non-radar enabled EX500 starts at $8,995. Radar-capable units begin at $9,995.
The key innovation to the system is the company's "narrowcast" technology. Unlike VHF systems, which are broadcast, and traditional satellite datalink systems, which require the pilot to request specific information before it's sent, the Avidyne approach is to make the unit "smart" enough to know when and where to ask for weather data. This is accomplished by automatically linking the airplane's flight plan (as the pilot has entered it in the navigator) to the satellite. On engine startup, the system automatically requests weather for the route of flight, so that when the pilot looks for it, it's already there. Nexrad is integrated with the moving map display on the EX500, along with a graphical display of TFRs. Metars and TAFs are shown on the trip page and in plain English. The system also automatically gets weather updates at regular intervals.
An optional antenna coupler allows the EX500 to be used with a multimode antenna (such as GPS/satellite), to save on installation expense and to reduce the number of antennas on the airframe. For more information, including subscription and access costs, visit www.avidyne.com.