Mood Upbeat at Annual Avionics Convention

Few new products debut, but signs of a market turnaround abound.

Avionics Convention
Avionics Convention

The ** Aircraft Electronics Assocation**'s 55th annual convention opened its doors yesterday to avionics dealers and manufacturers who said they are finally seeing concrete signs of a turnaround after a rough few years punctuated by the global economic crisis. There were fewer new product introductions at this year's show compared with past years, but the buzz about the market's future direction was more positive than it has been since the economic downturn started.

Among the handful of new products making debuts at AEA was a new comm radio from Trig Avionics, a UK company that also produces transponders. Its new baseline radio for the piston market has a compact face with remote-mounted hardware, a built-in two-place intercom, a 6-watt transmitter output and can operate on 14 or 28 volts. List price is $2,000.

Guardian Avionics, a company that until now produced carbon monoxide detectors for aircraft, expanded its product portfolio with the Aero954, a remote unit that uses a Bluetooth link to beam flight plan information from a Garmin GNS430 or G1000 to as many as three iPads in the cockpit. The $995 unit currently integrates with Flight Guide's iPad app, with further integration for the ForeFlight and WingX Pro apps in the works. Unlike Aspen Avionics' Connected Panel product, the Guardian app can only receive flight plan data, and not send it from an iPad to the installed avionics.

On the show's opening day, many attendees were reacting to the news that Honeywell plans to reinvigorate the Bendix/King brand, which has suffered from years of neglect as Garmin, Avidyne, Aspen Avionics and others have taken over the general aviation avionics market. Several industry veterans Flying talked with at the show said it will be interesting to watch what products Bendix/King turns out in the coming months and years, but the consensus among many is that Bendix/King can hope to make a strong comeback only if innovates in ways its competitors have not. And as we all know, the competition has been nothing if not innovative over the years.

Also at the show, AEA announced the names of 25 individuals who were awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year through the AEA Educational Foundation. The AEA Convention runs April 4-6 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.