New And Updated Avionics Deliver Modern Capabilities

Credit: Garmin International

Avionics manufacturers have recently announced new and updated products that deliver new capabilities to aircraft, including those summarized here. 

3D Volumetric Scanning Weather Radar
Garmin introduced the GWXTM 8000 StormOptix weather radar for turbine-powered Part 25 to high-performance Part 23 aircraft.

Garmin GFC500
Credit: Garmin International

The StormOptix system merges 3D volumetric scanning with advanced ground clutter suppression and automatically adjusts the tilt of the radar to simplify operation and create the most representative depiction of flight hazards near or along the flight path of the aircraft. The radar supports hail and lightning prediction and optional predictive wind shear detection.

Garmin said its development process for the system involved complex research and flight-test programs, including five years of development to optimize StormOptix autoscan technology and enable simplified operation. The company flight-tested the radar in operational conditions including stratiform precipitation, mild rain, severe thunderstorms, hail, lightning and windshear conditions to verify performance.

The GWX 8000 comes in 10-, 12-, 14-, and 18-in. antenna array sizes and is among the lightest weather radars in its class Garmin says, weighing 12.9 lb. for the 14-in. version. The radar is available on select Garmin G5000 platforms, with compatibility for other Garmin avionics systems expected to follow later this year.

“We are excited and proud to offer owners and operators an advanced weather radar solution that provides a comprehensive and clear depiction of weather with virtually no effort from the pilot,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin v-p of aviation sales and marketing. “The StormOptix weather radar can go beyond many popular weather radar systems by leveraging its autoscan technology to display severe storm cells in unparalleled detail in addition to depicting storms that may contain wind shear and turbulence, as well as providing lightning and hail prediction.”


Piper Comanche Autopilot

Garmin announced May 19 that it has received FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for the GFC 500 autopilot in select Piper PA-24 Comanche aircraft. 

The GFC 500 is designed for light piston aircraft and delivers superior inflight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance needs when compared to older-generation autopilot systems, the manufacturer says. The autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for easy adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed, and a Level Mode (LVL) that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight with the push of a dedicated button.

The autopilot integrates with the GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments; a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument interfaced to a G500 TXi flight display; or a G3X Touch flight display to provide pilots with an economical and modern autopilot solution. 

The Garmin GFC 500 autopilot certification for PA-24 aircraft includes the following models: PA-24-180, PA-24-250, PA-24-260, PA-24-260B and PA-24-260C1.


Avionics Modernization Units

Shadin Avionics interface adaptor
Credit: Shadin Avionics

Shadin Avionics has released two new products in its AIS-360 product family: the AIS-360 Inertial Adapter and the AIS-360 LoHi Converter.

The AIS-360 Inertial Adapter, also called a Magnetic Variance Adapter or MagVar Adapter, applies a correction to the magnetic heading label in ARINC 429 data stream. The adapter can be configured to combine true heading with magnetic variation data referenced from an updatable table residing in the adapter or alternatively, combine data from another source such as a flight management system that has an updated magnetic variation table.

The AIS-360 LoHi Converter is an ARINC 429 data buffer that receives a low-speed stream and transmits it at a high-speed rate while maintaining data integrity and the same update rate. The converter enables fully capable existing low-speed line replaceable units to be preserved. The AIS-360 has two inputs and two outputs.

The commercial off-the-shelf products are configurable, certified up to DO-178 Design Assurance Level A software standard and qualified to DO-160 airborne equipment standard. Both are currently available and will be displayed at the AEA Convention in Dallas in June 2021.


Panel Display Wi-Fi Bridge

uAvionix Wi-Fi bridge
Credit: uAvionix

Manufacturer uAvionix announced AV-Link, an in-line Wi-Fi bridge for the company’s 3-in. AV-30 panel display. Adding new features to the AV-30 platform, AV-Link provides live airborne traffic to the display from a supported automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receiver and the ability to wirelessly update the AV-30’s firmware. 

AV-Link also opens the AV-30 to future functionality and connectivity with other wireless-enabled avionics in the cockpit. AV-Link is currently available for experimental aircraft for $299 with the certified model expected to be available later in 2021, pending STC certification.