Recently the ARNAV issue has been getting the lion’s share of space on this board and doubtless off-line chat among owners and position holders as well.
I rather think it likely that Cirrus is the most frustrated party in all of this, even more than the owners. ARNAV has let them down as a supplier by not developing their product’s capabilities at any pace at all, let alone a pace comparable to the competition. It has been clear for the past 10 years or more that avionics capabilities would evolve at a far more rapid rate than the surrounding airframe. At some point Cirrus needed to more or less “freeze the design” and devote their attention to production. Constant revision of the panel design and tooling would have been an unacceptable obstacle to producing planes.
However to be honest I understand Cirrus’ not being very vocal (publicly) on this issue. I’m sure Cirrus realized–like all of us here who give it any thought–that avionics obsolescence would be a recurring theme throughout the production lifetime of the SR2X design. Early position holders will recall that the original SR20 was equipped with Trimble avionics and the ARNAV screen. It was in retrospect a blessing for Cirrus and its customers when Trimble abandoned GA avionics and Cirrus had the opportunity to turn to Garmin. However ARNAV has not (yet) expired or abandoned GA avionics–even though the competitiveness of their products seems to be waning–and it may be that there are still contractual obligations between Cirrus and ARNAV for a certain number of remaining display units. The contract may have been written in such a way that ARNAV can still claim not to be in “default” on its commitments to develop certain capabilities by certain dates. Not much Cirrus could do about this now except have alternatives ready when the contract is done.
What would be reasonable alternatives? Perhaps they are even now planning a huge leap forward, such as an all glass cockpit design that shares little with the current panel layout and components. I’m no expert but let me suggest that alternatively it might not be sensible for Cirrus to remain in the avionics installation business, as it changes so rapidly. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cirrus decides to offer an even more limited choice of factory-installed avionics, perhaps just one configuration which in their assessment would be a good compromise for attracting new pilots as well as current enthusiasts. It might even include one other option of a “ferry package” (340 audio panel/GNS430/327 transponder for example) which can get new owners to the avionics shop of their choice for the creation of their dream panel. Or they could contract out most of this chore–to established shops or to a new spin-off shop whose creation they might nurture on the field in Duluth. This would also get planes out the door faster and to some extent solve their delivery logistics problems at the Duluth site–they have little space to hold airplanes awaiting customers to arrive (and depart) during the bad weather portions of the year!