With Trade Shows Canceled, Universal Avionics Hits Demo Road

Robert Randall, Universal Avionics director of strategic business development, was in Wichita demonstrating products inside its mobile unit.
Credit: Molly McMillin

WICHITA—When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and trade shows began canceling—such as the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention and exhibition (NBAA-BACE)—Universal Avionics began asking what it could do to showcase its products to customers.

Enter the Immersive Mobile Demonstration Unit. The company constructed a portable mobile unit to host one-on-one demos of its avionics products and hit the road. So far, the company has met with customers in Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma before landing in Wichita and heading to other Midwest destinations. 

The demonstrations are by appointment and on a recent afternoon included temperature checks, face masks, social distancing and the cleaning and disinfection of equipment.

The mobile unit features Universal Avionics’ InSight Display, its ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System, Interactive Synthetic Vision System and other products.

The InSight Display System, which began deliveries following last year’s NBAA-BACE, is an integrated flight deck that includes larger, 10.4-in. displays—larger than the previous 8.9 in.—with embedded synthetic vision and features advanced mapping, electronic charts and radio control. It includes an aircraft symbol overlay on approach and airport charts for situational awareness during flight and while taxiing, company officials say. 

Designers removed many of the controllers found in earlier systems. One of the features is a touch electronic control display unit for making selections on the multifunctional display. Pilots may also select and customize the display for certain features and functions for each stage of flight. 

“Basically every one of these buttons allows me to turn a feature on or off, depending on how I as the pilot want to see, (and) what I want to display while I’m flying,” Robert Randall, Universal Avionics director of business development, said during a demonstration. “Because certain pilots come from different aircraft, they’re used to seeing certain things.”

Pilots have three ways to make selections: through an alpha numerical keyboard, a knob on the EFIS control display unit or on the course heading panel. Pilots can save their settings in the system for the next flight. 

“So if the next pilot gets in and he has it all set, all he has to do is go back in there and hit ‘My Layout’ and it will give him his layout like he liked having it,” Randall said. 

Universal Avionics is working on a number of Supplemental Type Certificates to get the product in as many aircraft as possible. 

The company also demonstrated the SkyLens Head-Wearable Display, which can be worn snugly on the head and is part of the company's ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision suite.  

Editor's Note: This story has been updated. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.