Out with round gauges. Flat panels for older bizjets are here. Honeywell, which announced its Primus Epic CDS/R ("R" being for "retrofit") program a couple of years ago, should have certification for it by now. First approvals of the system will be in a Citation V and a Gulfstream II, with several other STCs planned to follow soon, including one for the Canadair Challenger 600-series jets. The retrofit avionics system is based on Honeywell's Primus 1000 and 2000 systems for new bizjets.
While Primus Epic CDS/R uses many of the same components, including the displays, as the full-up Primus Epic, it is designed to be easier, faster and cheaper to install in older panels. Most important, it makes use of the airplane's existing autopilot, which greatly simplifies installation while keeping costs down. Honeywell discovered that most jet autopilots, given accurate enough sensors, were capable of achieving the required performance for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM). And while Honeywell would be glad to provide new hardware, many airplanes will be able to keep their existing weather radar, TCAS and traffic systems, with which Primus Epic CDS/R can interface. Because of the great differences between airplanes and the needs of their operators, Honeywell says that the cost of the system can range from less than half-a-million dollars to well more than a million.
In addition to the large eight- by ten-inch LCDs, the system includes an integrated flight computer, which can interface with a large number of legacy systems for easier integration. A built-in flight management system is also available. We flew the system in Honeywell's Citation V and were duly impressed by the cutting edge capabilities of the displays, as well as their ease of use.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the system is its ability to grow to meet upcoming avionics requirements, like wide area augmentation system (WAAS), RVSM or automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), all proposed components of free flight, part of the future national (and international) airspace system now being phased in.