Aspen Avionics introduced its patent-pending line of Connected Panel products this week at AirVenture, with officials saying the products “seamlessly integrate aviation application data from personal 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, officials said. The 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 hardware and software system, and will list for under $2,500. It will be available for installation via Aspen’s authorized dealer network by the end of the year, officials noted. Aspen’s Connected Pilot app, designed for the iPad, will be available via the iTunes store.
In addition to creating Connected Panel technology, Aspen is “fostering a robust community of partners — inside and outside of the aviation industry — to develop products for the Connected Panel platform,” officials said.
“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 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, according to company officials.
Connected Pilot, the initial product of the planned 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 the leading iPad flight planning application on the market, will release a new version of ForeFlight Mobile that will work with Connected Pilot, Aspen officials said. 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.
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 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.
“We are pleased to have ForeFlight and AvConnect as our premiere launch partners for Connected Pilot,” says John Uczekaj, President and CEO of Aspen Avionics. “The integrated functionality of these companies’ applications with Connected Panel demonstrates the increased capability and superior user experience this platform can provide. We look forward to our continuing partnership with ForeFlight and AvConnect as we explore new ways to revolutionize the general aviation cockpit.”
Aspen has been actively cultivating partnerships among top aviation hardware and application developers who will employ the open Connected Panel architecture to create new cockpit products in the future including Jeppesen, JP Instruments, Parrot, Pinnacle Aerospace, PS Engineering, Seattle Avionics, and Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
“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