Vertical Power introduces next-generation backup EFIS

Vertical Power has debuted the VP-400 system, a back-up EFIS that flies the aircraft safely to the best runway in an emergency, according to officials.

As you fly, the VP-400 constantly searches for the best runway to land in an engine-out glide scenario, officials explained. In an emergency, the pilot presses a red button on the instrument panel and the system automatically flies the aircraft to the best runway for landing. On short final, the pilot disconnects the system and lands the plane manually.

The Vertical Power VP-400 is a next-generation backup EFIS that complements today’s primary EFIS products and incorporates its own independent solid-state gyros and WAAS GPS receiver. The VP-400 system includes a high-resolution color display with touchscreen capability and built-in backup battery, an integrated Electronic Circuit Breaker system, and a GADAHRS (GPS, air data, attitude, heading reference system). Features include synthetic vision, highway-in-the-sky and flight director guidance.

The VP-400 integrates several technologies that enable a new level of safety and peace-of-mind for pilots, said officials, including:

  • Runway Seeker that calculates, in real time, the best glide path to every runway within gliding range. It takes into account terrain, obstacles, winds aloft, surface winds (with optional ADS-B receiver), runway length, facilities at the airport, and a variety of other factors to determine the best place to land.
  • Electronic Circuit Breaker (ECB) system with integrated flap control. With this integration, the VP-400 can control the flaps to manage aircraft energy during an emergency gliding descent. By using a combination of pitch and roll control via the autopilot and deploying the flaps automatically via the electronic circuit breaker system, the Runway Seeker can ensure the aircraft arrives at the runway on heading, airspeed and altitude. The use of ECBs increases the reliability of the electrical system, reduces weight, and simplifies wiring.
  • WAAS GPS receiver. Through a series of pilot interviews and focus groups, Vertical Power determined that because the VP-400 is a backup instrument, it is likely that the pilot will not keep the baro altitude set accurately, or be unable to update it reliably to the local altimeter setting at the time of an emergency. Therefore, the best way to provide accurate altitude information under these conditions is with the built-in WAAS GPS receiver.

“The VP-400 substantially improves the safety equation without adding complex piloting procedures. I like to think of it as the ‘Nearest Airport’ button on steroids,” said Marc Ausman, president of Vertical Power. “The VP-300 and VP-400 give pilots new options when there is an emergency or they are in a pinch.”

The VP-400 was developed in partnership with Laminar Research, makers of the X-Plane engineering flight simulator.

The VP-400 system includes a display with built-in battery backup, GADAHRS, and a single Power Distribution Unit (PDU). The VP-400 Duo system adds an additional Power Distribution Unit (PDU) for increased ECB capacity.

The VP-400 R-Evolution system is an upgrade package for the Lancair Evolution. It upgrades the electrical system to an independent dual-bus architecture for enhanced fault tolerance and replaces the existing myriad of mechanical circuit breakers, relays, timers, black boxes, and solenoids with an integrated solid-state system that powers and controls the de-ice system, pressurization controller, landing gear, avionics, seat heaters, and climate control system. Three independent solid-state power distribution units provide reliable power and control while an upgraded instrument panel and climate control system provide improved ergonomics, comfort and appeal. The VP-400 R-Evolution package is available exclusively through RDD Enterprises in Redmond, Ore., and will be available starting in the third quarter of this year. A VP-300 version is available that is similar to the VP-400, except the VP-300 provides guidance only and the pilot must manually fly the aircraft once the Runway Seeker is engaged. The VP-300 does not include Electronic Circuit Breaker or autopilot steering capability.

The VP-300 is priced at $4,000, VP-400 is priced at $8,000 and the VP-400 Duo is priced at $11,000, plus wiring kits. Nav data for the United States is available from Seattle Avionics for $49 per year. International data is expected to be available later in the year. The VP-300 and VP-400 are for experimental and light sport aircraft only.

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