Avidyne IFD540 Flies: Worth the Wait?

Flying is first to fly cutting edge Avidyne MFD.

IFD540 Touchscreen

IFD540 Touchscreen

** IFD540 Touchscreen**

Avidyne's long-awaited multifunction navigator, the IFD540, is nearing the finish line, and Flying was first to fly the new box. I went up with Avidyne flight test engineer Steve "Jake" Jacobson at Sun 'n Fun 2014 to test out the new product.

The IFD540 — that's right, "540" is 10 more than 530, the number made famous by Garmin with its groundbreaking GNS530 — has been in development for a few years now. Avidyne says that it's approaching its final certification. Owners are already showing great interest. The IFD540 does everything the legacy Garmin product does, and then some. The big appeal, though, is the IFD540's plug-and-play design. To demonstrate this, Jake pulled out an allen wrench, pulled out the GNS530 in the panel of the 182 Experimental flight test platform, and installed the IFD540 in the panel. It took less than one minute. That's how long it will take the shop to do the install for customers making the change, assuming that the consumer doesn't need to go from straight GPS to a WAAS antenna. Otherwise, installation costs are impossibly low.

The other benefit of the IFD540, installation wise, is that it saves down time for the airplane. Shop time for some comparable installations can put the airplane in the avionics shop for an extended period.

In terms of capability, the IFD540 is very advanced, with touch screen control (the bezel mounted keys work great as an alternative too), smart navigation features (like database generated minimum altitudes when flying off airways), a lightning fast autocomplete feature when you type in identifiers, and ingenious interfacing with Avidyne's DFC90 autopilot. Look for a complete review in Flying soon.

The IFD540 sells for $16,995. Avidyne expects certification in time for the summer airshow season.

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