It's all about money. The industry has known how to make solid-state non-moving gyros and electronic flight instrument displays for well over 20 years. But those systems cost more than the new selling price of a high-performance piston single. What was missing was the same primary flight display (PFD) with an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) capability at a price that made sense in little airplanes. Avidyne is the first to solve the problem with its FlightMax Entegra, slated for first delivery in the Cirrus SR22 in March.
The development challenge for Avidyne and the rest of the avionics industry was two-fold: create both a suitable display and an electronic gyro replacement. Developing a sunlight readable display with sufficient resolution to replace all of the primary flight instruments in the cockpit wasn't easy, but the necessary display technology at a suitable price has existed for a few years. The big issue for all avionics companies has been the AHRS gyro replacement at a price piston airplane owners can rationalize. Many companies are working on a low-cost AHRS, and Avidyne got there first.
How low is low cost? In the Cirrus SR22 the Entegra PFD system adds $24,500 to the price. Off the shelf from Avidyne the Entegra system costs $46,000 as a complete package.
While that may not sound cheap, consider what you get. The Entegra display measures eight by ten inches and can be configured either in the portrait or landscape positions. Cirrus has chosen the horizontal landscape format. On the display will be everything you need to fly IFR, including attitude, slaved heading, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, rate of turn, slip-skid indication, lateral and vertical nav guidance from multiple sensors, continuous display of wind direction and velocity, true airspeed, altitude reminder bug, trend indicators for altitude and airspeed and multiple formats of moving maps.
A well-equipped piston airplane will have much of that information somewhere on its panel, but none yet has it all on one display. And the Entegra will be the first to eliminate spinning gyros and moving pressure bellows for air data. Toss out the moving parts and reliability goes way up. The vacuum pump is gone in the SR22 and will be needed in other Entegra-equipped airplanes in the future only to inflate deice boots. And nobody will miss the pump.