A mobile assistant for private pilots: Zurich company Avionix is developing hardware to increase the tracking capabilities and operational safety of tablets.
Digitization has reached private aviation, but it comes at a price: A so-called ‘glass cockpit’ for a private aircraft costs some 50,000 Swiss francs, which is too much for most amateur pilots. Instead, they prepare their flight paths using a tablet which serves as a flight assistant while they are in the air. Conventional tablets, however, have their drawbacks, according to the CEO of Avionix, Kenneth Staub: “Tablets can overheat in strong sunlight, and GPS tracking becomes inaccurate once the aircraft is airborne.” Since April 2015, Staub and five of his employees have been working on a hardware solution to address both problems. Their new device is due to be launched in the second quarter of 2016. The sales potential is considerable: “In the U.S. and Europe alone,” Staub states, “there are some 400,000 active private pilots.”