Mid-Continent Releases Versatile Custom Function Display

The Flex MD23 is designed to fit into traditional 2-inch round aircraft instrument cutouts on the panel. Mid-Continent Instruments & Avionics

When you’re facing a major update to your legacy airplane’s instrument panel, it’s easy to get distracted by the big-ticket, high-visibility items such as integrated flight decks, navigators, and large-format multifunction displays. While the utility of such cool new avionics appeals, the unsung heroes in a new panel don’t get as much attention—and they should. Upgrades such as overhauled aircraft instruments, panel lighting, circuit breaker boards, and all of the electronics behind panel deserve serious attention as well—and that is the sandbox in which Mid-Continent Instruments & Avionics has played for decades for the average general aviation aircraft owner.

However, Mid-Continent has been expanding its reach and reputation over the past nine years, developing increased capabilities in avionics repair and overhaul—and its True Blue Power line of USB charging ports, inverters, converters, emergency power supplies, and advanced lithium-ion batteries. To this portfolio, the company recently added a unique new custom function display, the Flex MD23, which (as its name implies) has the flexibility built in to replace a wide range of analog aircraft instruments.

The two-inch digital instrument comes TSOed with a customizable configuration—for both inputs and outputs—supporting any number of user interfaces and graphics. A podcast presented by the Aircraft Electronics Association provides in-depth technical information on the Flex MD23. During the podcast, Brett Williams, vice president of engineering, summed up the instrument’s capability as “a replacement for mechanical gauges in a digital world.” If a customer needs to sub out just about any gauge—from engine parameters and cabin pressurization to airspeed and attitude indicators—the off-the-shelf hardware and software of the MD23 can be adapted quickly to display the desired information. “Our customization can happen in an extremely rapid fashion,” said Williams, noting turnaround times of 30 to 60 days possible.

The Flex MD23 is lightweight (0.4 lb), with a daylight-readable LCD display, high-definition graphics, and a simple-to-use push-and-turn control knob interface. The software is upgradeable in the field using a standard USB-A port. Pricing varies with customization; the unit comes with a two-year warranty.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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