Here is the Aviation Consumer quote on the Windows operating system (they were reviewing the FlightMax 440 and 740 in January 2000):
'Like the previous models, the FlightMax units use Windows NT as an operating system. Before you cross your fingers and gag, however, worth pointing out is that this is a highly customized and apparently stable version of NT, not remotely related to the bug-invested consumer versions of Windows 95/98.
Although we have in the past expressed serious reservations about having anything from Microsoft near an airplane, the Avidyne proved stable and relatively trouble free. (Other owners have told us as much.) Shortly after it was installed, our FlightMax test unit failed to boot. It was returned to the factory and repaired the following day. The problem appeared to be a Â“dirtyÂ” shutdown that corrupted the hard drive.
Although it was repaired right away, this does highlight one beef we have with this system: It runs like a computer, meaning the boot-up process is tedious and you canÂ’t merely switch it off. You have to follow a specific Â“safeÂ” shutdown procedure or risk crumping the drive or file structure. If we had our druthers, it would be like any other box in the panel in terms of shutdown and start up."
I think that it is altogether too easy to extrapolate from your experience with Windows 9x to say anything that runs on Windows doesn’t belong in a cockpit. I can’t see buying otherwise state of the art avionics with a MFD still running DOS.
Here is the latest from Avidyne regarding delivery dates and capabilities:
"Thank you for your email. We currently haven’t outlined the datalink services yet including the features offered such as ceiling/visibility, wind vectors etc. We expect to announce the service packages closer to product launch which is scheduled for mid 2002. Cirrus will dictate when datalink will be available on the Cirrus version of the EX5000, but we expect it to be around the same time as product launch. As with all FlightMax products, the EX5000 will be upgradeable so datalink and other enhancements can be added as new technology arises.
Cirrus has indicated to us that they will begin Avidyne installations in production aircraft in January, 2002. We will have the portable loader and subscription services available at that time for Nav Data updates. We haven’t finalized the subscription services yet, and the loader may or may not be included with the subscription. The services will only offer Nav Data, no charts or sectionals (they are not available on the EX5000). The NavData includes updates on all airspace, waypoint, airway, airport etc. information. It will also include obstacle and curved flight path information.
We haven’t looked into interfacing with the Garmin GTX 330 yet. Cirrus is dictating to us the interfaces they want to see. If they request us to research interfacing with the Garmin GTX 330, we will do so. You may want to discuss this with Cirrus Representatives. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Thanks and have a great weekend.
From: Stephen M. Shirley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 7:09 PM
To: Jamie Luster
Subject: Re: EX5000
Thanks for your reply. I spoke with a Avidyne representative Monday and they are sending a CD with the demo programs. If I should by chance get two of the CD’s I’ll send one to my CFII. I appreciate your sending a brochure in the mail. Some of the “airport” and “nearest” and “flight plan” pages are too small to read on the .pdf version.
On the weather display on the EX5000, in addition to NEXRAD, what other weather options are there: e.g… ceiling/visability, wind vectors, temperature/dew point, etc. Do you have any subscription information?
More importantly, when will Avidyne begin deliveries to Cirrus. My SR22 is scheduled for completion on 2-5-02, and I would like to have one available at that time. When will the weather receiver option be available?
What about the portable data loader. I noted on the brochure for the EX5000C a mention of a front panel port for portable data loader. How much is that unit, and when will it be available?
There is mention on your web site of the “Jeppesen North America Database”. Does this include all sectionals, or just the airport and runway and frequency information? What is included in the Jeppesen North America Database? How much are the Sectionals, WACs, TACs, and NOAA Low Altitude Enroute charts? Are these all sold separately, or are they part of the North America Database?
Do you have any information on whether the Avidyne EX5000C will interface with the new Garmin GTX 330 Mode S transponder and the Traffic Information Service? Apparently, the GTX 330 interfaces with the Garmin GNS 430, and the GNS 430 interfaces with the Avidyne EX5000C. Is the data format compatible for the Traffic Information Service display on the Avidyne? Is this standard ARINC 429 data in the same format that the Skywatch data is? What will the screen display look like on the Avidyne of the Traffic Information Service. According to some early information I got from Garmin, the Traffic Information Service display will include vectors showing groundspeed and track of the displayed traffic. Will this display on the Avidyne?
I’m sure there will be other questions in the future. I appreciate your information.
Stephen M. Shirley
Jamie Luster wrote:
Thank you for your email. We are sending you the requested information, and I wanted to take a few minutes to answer your question not discussed in the brochure.
Future capabilities for the EX5000C will be driven by Cirrus’ requests, and their intent is to offer engine monitoring and datalink on the EX5000. Please check with Cirrus regarding availability. If it is not available by the time you take delivery of your aircraft, you can rest assured that the EX5000, like all FlightMax products, will be upgradeable as new capabilities are developed.The service provider for the datalink service is not the same as Garmin. While their service is adequate, we found our customer base needed additional capabilities and therefore are offering a customized service direct from Avidyne. It will be all-altitude, no gaps, on demand communication. This will allow our customers the ultimate in datalink service. I hope I’ve answered all your questions, and feel free to contact us anytime.