In 2003 Cirrus Aircraft, the leading single-engine aircraft manufacturer, delivered the first integrated flight deck, the Avidyne Entegra, on its SR20 and SR22 platforms. It was a historic moment for Avidyne and Cirrus; sales soared, delivering more than 4,000 aircraft. While you may not have been the first of thousands to purchase a new plane, you may currently own one of these impressive birds.
Well, it's been 20 years since the first Entegra-equipped Cirrus came off the factory line, and that’s a significant amount of time for new technology development to occur. How many cell phones have you upgraded to in the past two decades, not to mention TVs? With the rate at which consumer electronics change and software upgrades rolled out, aviation moves at a much slower pace. FAA Certification efforts and quantity buys play a part in the significant differences in consumer electronics versus the glass cockpits in our aircraft. It takes extraordinary measures by engineers, documentation, bench testing, flight testing, and analysis. The certification standards are high-and for a good reason. Environmental, software levels, human factors, and more play a part in the time it takes to design, develop, certify and deliver avionics. Could you imagine if Apple had to adhere to the same standards as avionics? We certainly wouldn't have the business tools we count on to get through our day.
When your phone breaks, unless it's the glass, you typically upgrade to the latest technology. It's not so easy when you're talking about avionics. The OEMs will execute a bulk purchase based on their best guess for the number of units sold, including serviceable parts, over some time. When avionics parts become depleted, end-of-life mitigation takes over. Entegra has been out of production for ten years; it's only a matter of time before Avidyne experiences obsolescent issues. As a Cirrus owner with an Entegra system, where does that leave you?
What is Vantage?
Avidyne has been a leader in producing NextGen technology, and they didn't disappoint with the new Vantage Flight Display System. The next-generation fully integrated flight deck system will meet upcoming airspace requirements and delivers critical safety features for the pilot, with large dual 12-inch diagonal displays featuring synthetic vision, hybrid touch user interface, dual AHRS reversion, and more. At a recent tradeshow, I was able to demo the Vantage. It was incredibly intuitive, and if you don't like the touchscreen, you can still push and turn knobs. Incorporating dual ARS (attitude reference system) to provide reversionary mode is invaluable. If the PFD fails, you have the MFD as a backup without losing any capabilities. The DFC90 integration was spot on. Easy access through the Vantage was straightforward, with complete autopilot mode control and annunciations.
What Will Vantage Do for My Cirrus?
The Entegra system has served the Cirrus fleet well for the past twenty years. But like all good things, it will come to an end where Avidyne can no longer source parts, and the software upgrades and certifications will be impossible to maintain. Keeping your Cirrus up to date with technology and advancements is similar to maintaining your home to maintain its value. No one likes to install new roofs, siding, or even windows, but after two decades, it's necessary to keep your house from declining. The same can be said for your Cirrus. It's a valued asset. It takes you from point A to point B in style, safety, and speed. Investing in your Cirrus now will pay huge dividends down the road. Avoid AOG situations; fly with the market's most advanced integrated large display flight deck. The system is remarkable, and the investment is worth it.
Learn more about Avidyne's Vantage display here