After talking with Avidyne and others informally at AOPA last weekend, I’ve got a couple of additional things you may want to think about.
First, let me make my current situation clear - in case you think that might color my thinking (which, of course, it does). I picked up my SR22 with factory Stormscope in July and promptly had the EngineView installed. And I like it.
Second, if I were having an SR2x delivered in 3Q2002, I’d clearly go with the Avidyne (or whatever was the state of the art then). Stormscope and SkyWatch are less clear. In ny case, Cirrus made it quite clear that they would continue to upgrade the avionics suite as the technology changed - which it surely will. The new Avidyne will also be obsolete - only a question of time.
Third, I wouldn’t be very optimistic about prompt delivery of engine monitoring on the Avidyne. From those I spoke with, it isn’t entirely clear that they have a very good handle on how / when they will get this done. And my experience with these vendors has typically been - take their initial estimates and double them. Then, you are not too disappointed. They weren’t even promising a date at all. I really like the fuel flow computation and the alerting functions of EngineView. Would be very reluctant to give them up.
Fourth, while the Avidyne has better resolution etc, that increased resolution and detail doesn’t yet actually add all that much for an IFR pilot. Take a look at an IFR vs VFR chart. In fact, some of the data you really need in VFR is harder to find on the Avidyne (like obstacles at/below your current altitude for instance). So, it looks higher tech, but don’t think that YET translates to useful information in flight. Long term, Avidyne certainly sounds committed to providing a number of additional functions and they look to be a longer term player in the market.
Fifith, there was a lot of discussion about Garmin delivering a ModeS transponder soon. That would provide a much cheaper (and possibly more accurate) traffic avoidance alternative than SkyWatch (at least in those ~125 high traffic density areas covered by ModeS position broadcasts today). While the response time of a ground radar based ModeS option is somewhat slower, we’re not flying heavy metal. Personally, I doubt that SkyWatch-type technologies will be the leading edge answer in traffic avoidane for much longer. So, that complicates the SkyWatch option - and makes the low cost TPAS option something to think about for the near term. Finally, accident statistics and Aviation Consumer, among others, argue that collision avoidance is a low priority investment for GA pilots in any case.
Sixth, Nexrad and other weather downloads for the Garmin look to be delivered about mid-2002. Much cheaper than Stormscope and will give a broader range of weather information. From my perspective, I’d take weather downloads over Stormscope any day. I’ll probably add it to my SR2x despite already having the Stormscope. So, even the Stormscope is a question mark in my mind today. Especially during the upcoming winter!
Bottom line: I’m sort of glad you guys have to make this decision and not me. Keep us posted. Pun intended.