Bendix/King Looks to Reinvent Itself

Former avionics giant recommits to GA market.

The people behind one of the great names in aviation, Bendix/King, have been busy of late coming up with a plan to re-create the brand. Once the dominant force in GA avionics with a broad and brilliant lineup of panel-mount avionics for every segment of the market, the company lost its lead in the 1990s with a string of lackluster products and missed opportunities. Parent company Honeywell contends Bendix/King is, however, still the number two light GA avionics supplier, based on the strength of its huge installed base.

The new Bendix/King, which will still be a part of Honeywell, is led by Kevin Gould, former president of Piper Aircraft. Gould explained to Flying that Bendix/King will be run as a business enterprise under Honeywell, giving the brand a level of autonomy and control it had never previously enjoyed as a branded product line under the parent company. Gould explained that he and his team have been working for the past six-plus months to, first, find out if the brand was still a viable one -- the answer, Gould said, was an unequivocal "yes."

After that he and his team looked for where they could make the biggest impact in the marketplace. The analysis yielded, new Bendix/King VP of marketing Roger Jollis said, some interesting findings, including that there exist roughly 200,000 airplanes with hull values of less than $100,000, most of which are sub-6,000-pound airplanes. Jollis said he believes there’s a sweet spot there for Bendix/King to offer a range of affordable avionics that will add value to those owners’ airplanes.

Bendix/King plans to announce some of those new products by the end of the year, likely including ones that are in some way related to tablets and portables. Honeywell seems committed to the program. Gould told Flying that the company will soon be employing between 150 and 200 people at a site that is yet to be determined. While it's a long way from here to regaining its mantle as a premier supplier of light GA avionics, Gould says that he and his emerging team are committed to making just that happen.