I just received a copy of the FlightMax Interactive Demo CD. It is available free on the www.avidyne.com web site. It was published by Avidyne in August 2001 and does not include the EX5000C, however all of the FlightMax apparently use a common operating system and there appears to be a great deal of uniformity across the line. The main differences between the other FlightMax units appears to be in whether capability of onboard weather radar display is included in the unit.
I thought the best section was a simulation of the controls and the “soft keys”. I got the impression that the display options were clear and not excessive in number. Most involved 3 or 4 options that cycled with each push of the “soft key”. The demo flight portion was a bit of a disappointment as it is too fast and too short to really get much of an impression of the unit in use. This is a criticism of the CD and not the MFD.
The functions that are presented by the “soft keys” on the EX5000C are also on the other units. These are “view” “declutter” “base map” “traffic” and “lightning”. On the EX5000C there is also a “soft key” for “Emerg. Checklist”. The “nearest” “soft key” brings up what appears to be a duplication of the “nearest airports” page of the GNS 430 with the information laid out in the same fashion as on the GNS 430. I believe in the EX5000C all of this data is coming directly from the GNS 430 as it is the same information that is available on the "nearest 1"page of the GNS 430.
The advantage of displaying this data on the EX5000C is that it seems to be easier to access than in the GNS 430 and that the display is much larger. Also, the set up of the GNS 430s is not disturbed in getting the data on the EX5000C. You are essentially getting double duty from Jeppesen data base that you are providing to the GNS430s every 28 days and if you need to navigate to the nearest airport on the GNS 430 it is just: large right knob clockwise (too many clicks won’t hurt) to the (last) page group, “nearest”, highlight the cursor with the center right knob, select the airport with the large right knob, hit “direct”, “enter” to load and “enter” again to activate the direct function and you are on your way.
There is also a detail page for any airport selected on the “nearest airport” page and the detail page shows a runway diagram and other data regarding the selected airport. This appears to be the same data that is on the “waypoint 2” page of the GNS 430.
There is certainly a need to “test drive” the display unit, and short of having an actual EX5000C in a real “CD” the CD (disk) definitely provides some means of doing that.
I thought I heard that Cirrus had one factory demonstrator that had the Avidyne in it. Has anybody flown that aircraft?