At Oshkosh today, Aspen Avionics unveiled its patent-pending line of Connected Panel products that integrate data from handheld devices with certified avionics installed in an aircraft’s panel.
Connected Panel includes hardware, software, and application components that provide two-way wireless communications between panel avionics and personal smart devices to streamline flight-related activities. This technology is enabled via Aspen’s Evolution Flight Displays. Initial applications are in development for Apple iOS and Android platforms.
Connected Pilot is the first Connected Panel hardware and software system, and will list for under $2,500, according to company officials. It will be available for installation via Aspen’s authorized dealer network by the end of 2011, officials said. Aspen’s Connected Pilot app, designed for the iPad, will be available via the iTunes store.
“Mobile devices have revolutionized how pilots use flight data, but until now these smart devices have been unable to communicate with onboard systems in real time,” says Brad Hayden, Vice President of Marketing for Aspen Avionics. “The Evolution Flight Display products are interoperable with a variety of new and legacy avionics products from multiple manufacturers, making Evolution a natural networker of flight data. Aspen’s Connected Panel creates a wireless bridge between smart devices and the aircraft’s certified avionics, increasing the pilot’s access to data and enhancing the utility of their mobile devices.”
The Connected Panel hardware is enclosed in a small box called the CG100 (patent-pending) that is blind-mounted behind the aircraft’s panel. The feature-rich CG100 contains wireless, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity options — as well as flash memory storage. Leveraging commercially available technology, the CG100 includes standard protocol ports and communications slots that will allow Connected Panel developers to add peripheral hardware as needed to enhance the utility of their own applications.
Connected Pilot, the initial product of the planned Connected Panel line, includes the ability to tune radios and cross-fill flight plans from an iPad to the Bendix/King by Honeywell KSN 770 Nav/Com/GPS (currently being developed by Honeywell and Aspen Avionics).
ForeFlight, developer of an iPad flight planning application, will release a new version of ForeFlight Mobile that will work with Connected Pilot. ForeFlight Mobile users who install Connected Pilot will be able to create flight plans on their iPads and wirelessly load them into the KSN 770 using ForeFlight’s interface. Modifications to flight plans, made using either the installed GPS or iPad, can be synchronized wirelessly on both the portable and panel-mounted equipment.
Radio tuning from ForeFlight Mobile into the KSN 770 will also be intuitive, company officials said. The ForeFlight Mobile app will allow the pilot, by a touch on the iPad’s display, to push radio frequencies that appear in airport diagrams and charts into the “standby” window of the radio’s Nav/Com. All the pilot will need to do is toggle the frequency on the radio from “standby” to “active” to accept the tuning from the iPad.
Pilot hours and aircraft performance data logging will be able to be automated through Connected Pilot, thanks to its integration with AvConnect — an aircraft and pilot management application available for general aviation. The AvConnect iPad app will automatically record pilot and aircraft data from installed systems and will then seamlessly create entries in the cloud-based portion of its application — simplifying aircraft and pilot record keeping requirements.
In addition to the KSN 770 integration, all or part of Connected Panel functionality will be available for other legacy GPS navigators, depending upon that GPS’s ability to transmit and receive data.
Aspen has been actively cultivating partnerships among aviation hardware and application developers who will employ the open Connected Panel architecture to create new cockpit products in the future. In addition to AvConnect and ForeFlight, Jeppesen, JP Instruments, Parrot, Pinnacle Aerospace, PS Engineering, Seattle Avionics, and Sporty’s Pilot Shop have all committed to building products and applications that will be Connected Panel Enabled, company officials said.
“Connected Panel is an open platform, and its power comes from the development partners who build applications that use it. The more partners building products that are Connected Panel Enabled, the more integrated options we can provide to the GA market,” says Uczekaj. “We encourage and invite all hardware and application developers to push the boundaries of what’s possible in aircraft electronics to make flying safer, easier, more affordable, and more enjoyable.”
For more information: AspenAvionics.com