Pilatus was the first manufacturer to start giving airplane buyers a free Apple iPad loaded with owner’s manuals and apps. Now the Swiss company is adding in-cockpit Wi-Fi capability by offering an option to incorporate Aspen Avionics’ Connected Panel technology with the PC-12 NG’s Honeywell Primus Apex avionics system.
The upgrade will enable pilots to upload flight plans created on the iPad directly into the certified avionics with a couple of button presses. Other Connected apps being designed for use with Apex include wireless upload of chart, navigation and terrain databases to the cockpit and download of maintenance data. Passengers can sync their iPads as well by downloading an app that shows a moving map updated with current location and ETA. Jeppesen, Honeywell, Pilatus and Aspen are each developing apps for Connected Panel in the PC-12.
Because the hardware installation of Aspen’s Connected Gateway box is covered under the PC-12 NG type certificate, the upgrade doesn’t require an Aspen display. In fact, according to Aspen, the only difference pilots and passengers will notice is that the technology just works.
“[Connected Panel] for Pilatus creates a better flight experience for pilots and owners by streamlining maintenance logging and data loading activities,” said Aspen Vice President of Marketing Brad Hayden. “Aspen’s leading-edge Connected technology offers new opportunities for data management that were unimagined only a few years ago. We are pleased that our technology is improving the customer experience for Pilatus pilots and operators.”
The Aspen hardware can be installed for about $16,500 in new and in-service NG airplanes. Initial deliveries of the Connected Enabled PC-12 and apps are planned for this summer.