Recently I flew around northern California with a friend who has a Pilatus PC-12. This is obviously a whole different genus of airplane from the SR20 – pressurized, turboprop, huge cargo zone and so on. (On the other hand, front-row seats are nowhere near as comfortable as in the Cirrus, and have much worse visibility because of the high instrument panel and window sills. Also, this plane, loaded with extras, cost at least ten times as much as a SR20.)
Here’s the reason I mention it. This guy had a TCAS-like system on his Avidyne moving-map display, and it was GREAT!! Little diamonds or blips on the screen showing traffic in the vicinity, how far above or below you each one was, and whether it was climbing or descending relative to you. Having once seen that, I’m going to be vaguely disgruntled from now on about systems that don’t have it. I’m sure that mid-airs will still exist after all planes get systems like this, but not many of them.
Two other points:
This guy, even with his mighty plane, approved of the basic logic of the Cirrus as a way of democraticizing flying. As he put it: You make the system as simple as possible for people to handle, and you let them know that if there’s a disaster, they have one more option, which is to pull the chute.
Avidyne is a very hotshot compnay, and I hope Cirrus ends up doing business with them. But, contrary to all prevailing sentiment, I have an increasing, sneaking respect and fondness for the ARNAV screen. It is better than any others I’ve seen at one specific purpose – letting you get through complicated Class B/C airspace with very, very clear understanding at all times of where you are and where the floors and ceilings are. The 430s are not as good at that, and neither is Avidyne. This is obvioulsy not to say that Arnav is unimprovable. But I’ve come to respect this feature more as I compare it to others.