I’ve been following the glass panel discussion. I had a demo flight in the Cirrus recently and found the Arnav display to be quite adequate, though the blue SUA boundaries were very difficult to see on a bright day wearing sunglasses. But I am being seduced by the various ads for the display in the Lancair, the Avidine display mentioned in an earlier post (http://www.avidyne.com/440.htm), and even the Apollo MX20 (http://www.upsat.com/mx20des.html).
The chief selling points of the Cirrus is that it is a thoroughly modern aircraft which takes full advantage of cutting edge technology.
The chief feature of the Cirrus panel is the main display, currently supplied by Arnav. Bruce Gunter from Cirrus told me that the Arnav was a better display than most people think, and that many advancements are in the works. He also said that Arnav did not advertise as aggressively as other maunfacturers and that has led to a perception that they’re losing their edge. Maybe so, but doesn’t perception count for a lot? (Especially since we high-number position holders spend a lot of time drooling over glossy ads while we wait for delivery).
And I have many questions about the “in the works” improvements Arnav supposedly has up its sleeve. For example: Will the Arnav ever be able to display digitized charts or vector images (like the MX20)? How “improvable” is it? (In other words, what are the inherent display limitations?) Etc.
I think Cirrus should insist that Arnav be more forthcoming about its display. I also think it would be a very serious mistake for Cirrus to abandon it’s “cutting edge” image by sticking with an outdated display (if that’s what the Arnav proves to be).
Now, I recognize that it doesn’t take very long for avionics to get “outdated” these days. I also recognize that Cirrus must be concerned about a manufacturer’s ability to deliver in volume, etc. But let me propose a solution: Allow the buyer to specify the type of display to be installed, or whether to have any installed at all (so an after-market product can be added later).
The advantages of such a scheme would be to allow buyers to get the latest product they can afford and which suits their tastes.
The disadvantages would be increased production time (unless no display is specified). (I don’t thing certification would be an issue since the Arnav display is clearly labled as a non-navigational device, to be used for general reference only.)
However, I’m sure that this is not as simple as it seems and perhaps a “single size fits all” approach is essential to production economy and efficiency. But let’s just make sure that we get the very best “single size” available.