Sandel is attacking the King Air retrofit market with a retrofit cockpit called Avilon that is unusual for a few reasons, most notably its “guaranteed” installed price of $175,000, well below the price of cockpits from Garmin, Rockwell Collins and BendixKing.
The Avilon avionics system includes four large LCD flight displays, two smaller data-entry touchscreens, radios, flight management computers, dual AHRS, audio panel, ADS-B-compliant Mode S transponder, and flight director/autopilot (minus the autopilot servos, which are retained).
That’s a lot of features for not a lot of dough. The price is piquing the interest of King Air 200 owners who have been quoted prices of close to $100,000 just for the labor to install competing systems.
Sandel Avionics president and CEO Gerry Block explains that the installation cost is predicted to be so low because the entire Avilon instrument panel is shipped to dealers as essentially one piece.
“It takes only about five days to install our system, with 80 percent of the work being removal of the old equipment,” he says.
The system is currently flying in a company King Air 200 certification test bed, with certification expected by this fall. Sandel says it has partnered with three dealers in the United States (Stevens Aviation, Cutter Aviation and Landmark Aviation) and one in Canada (Rocky Mountain Aircraft), which have all agreed to honor the guaranteed $175,000 fly-away price.
“There are a lot of King Air cockpit retrofit choices, but very few people have been buying them because they are just too expensive to justify,” Block says. “We think this price and the capability our cockpit offers will get a lot of King Air operators off the fence.”