For years, Cirrus owners who have the Avidyne Entegra PFD and MFD have been clamoring for Avidyne to come up with some sort of upgrade. The Entegra, or EX 5000 system, is late ’90s technology and, though it still works, there will be a certain point in the future when it gives up the ghost. Avidyne still supports the Entegra system, but it’s hard for a Cirrus owner to see all this new technology coming on the market while not being able to upgrade the original Avidyne screens.
Avidyne gave it a go in the late 2000s with a panel upgrade known as the R9. The R9 was a good system, but Avidyne was very slow on the release (rumors were the company wanted it to be absolutely perfect before releasing it, which frustrated Cirrus, who then switched to the Garmin Perspective panel, leaving Avidyne behind) which led to the R9 only being available as a very expensive retrofit to the Entegra system ($80,000-$90,000 for the system and install). Needless to say, there weren’t that many takers.
Late in 2020, Garmin announced it had received certification to retrofit Avidyne Entegra equipped Cirrus Aircraft with the company’s G500 TXi displays, which gave new hope to G1, G2, and G3 Cirrus owners. The price tag wasn’t outrageous, coming in at $16,000 apiece for each display. The G500 TXi works with any possible GPS that can be installed in a Cirrus (GNS 430Ws, GTN 650s, GTN750, or the Avidyne IFD 540/440) and with the DFC 90 Autopilot (if the Cirrus is still equipped with an STEC 55x, the Autopilot would need to be changed to either a DFC 90 or a Garmin GFC 500).
Fast forward to June of 2021 and Avidyne re-enters the game with the Avidyne Vantage. After the R9 debacle, Avidyne has opted this time to go for a more simple approach. The Avidyne Vantage system changes out the Entegra PFD and MFD with bigger screens (12″; Garmin’s TXi units are only 10.6″) with high quality pixelation, synthetic vision, engine gauges, checklists, charts, a hybrid touch interface, and all the other information that was offered on the Entegra system, just all more modern and updated. The best news is that the system provides redundant reversionary mode, which was one of the biggest complaints about the Entegra system.
The price tag comes in lower than Garmin, with each screen being priced at $12,500. The units will work seamlessly with the Avidyne IFD Series GPS units, though, as of this writing, it isn’t clear if the Avidyne Vantage will work with Garmin GTN 430Ws or the GTN 750/650. I would assume that the integration would be there, but I haven’t found any documentation stating that yet. DFC 90 Autopilot integration would be seamless, but not sure the integration with the STEC 55x or Garmin GFC 500.
Avidyne says the Vantage will be fully certified in early 2022, but the company is taking orders now. Visit the Avidyne Website for more information.