Mid-Continent Instruments Launches Customizable Flex MD23

Flex MD23
Credit: Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics

WICHITA—Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics, based here, has launched a new custom function display called the Flex MD23, a “build-you-own instrument” product with “virtually limitless” applications. 

The Flex MD23 is a 2-in., digital panel-mounted instrument with a custom display, controller and data converter, all in one. The product was more than three years in development. 

“I think it will be very popular,” said Todd Winter, Mid-Continent president and CEO. “It could be one of the most popular pieces of instruments that we’ve ever built. It has that potential.”

The company has patents pending for the Flex product, which has received FAA certification for the hardware and software inside the instrument. 

“This is next-level glass technology for creative avionics solutions,” said Matthew Harrah, Mid-Continent Instruments vice president of technology and products. “We set out to improve systems integration and effectively eliminated the complex and costly product development process for aircraft manufacturers and fleet upgrades.”

The goal was to design a product with the ability to receive, manipulate and display a variety of incoming data with customizable graphics and outputs without the need for additional certification. Mid-Continent engineers wanted the product to fit in tight panel spaces to complement an aircraft’s primary avionics suite and allow customization with minimal certification burden, it says.

Flex is a two-part product. The base hardware and software are fixed, while the configuration and digital display are flexible, said Brett Williams, Mid-Continent Instrument vice president of engineering. “Each unit is customized through a unique code, specific to the application.”

Deliveries have begun. One customer was first in line with an important need. The customer had a piece of equipment to replace but could not get it. The Flex product solved the problem.

Certification for the hardware includes Technical Standard Order (TSO) C113b, C2d, C10c, C106 with an environmental qualification of RTCA/DO-160G, according to company product information. The software is certified to DO-178C, Design Assurance Level A.

Customers can choose a Flex instrument to perform one function or a combination of functions. It features a daylight readable LCD display with a push-and-turn control knob. The product comes in two hardware platforms, one with pitot-static inputs and one without, according to Mid-Continent.  

When a customer selects the Flex equipment, it is up to he or she to specify its functions. 

The Flex MD23 offers a replacement for legacy units, including pitot-static applications, such as airspeed, altimeter, vertical speed and cabin pressure; tachometer, controllers, such as autopilot, auto-throttle, radar altimeter and user input functions; annunciator-indicator, such as battery status, engine parameters; data conversion and other functions. 

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.