Technology’s lag time in reaching Europe is shrinking steadily, and Avidyne has just announced a new weather and text-messaging system that will be promoted through the company’s new Avidyne-Europe office.

“Leveraging the global coverage of the Iridium network, Avidyne is excited about bringing datalink capability to the European market at a much lower price point than previously available,” says Avidyne president Dan Schwinn.

The new MLX770 will be available in the third quarter of 2008, when it will rely on the 66-satellite Iridium constellation to connect instant weather to Entegra- and EX500-equipped aircraft. Director of Marketing Tom Harper says Avidyne is negotiating for coverage in Spain and more Eastern European countries, and will soon be expanding these capabilities around the world, including Australia, South America, and other areas of the world “where there’s a high concentration of airplanes and they don’t have any weather datalinks right now”, he says.

Avidyne MLX 770

Since the FlightMax Entegra line was introduced in 2003 it’s become a key tool in 1,200 aircraft in Europe, including 600 Cirrus SR20s and SR22s. “Cirrus is very pleased to endorse the MLX770 as a dealer-installed upgrade for the hundreds of Cirrus airplanes currently operating in Europe,” says John Bingham, vice president of international sales for Cirrus.

The service includes graphical and textual meteorological activity reports (METARS), Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF), winds and temperatures aloft, and in-flight weather advisories (NOTAMs). Beyond weather, the MLX770 offers two-way SMS text messaging to any ground-based SMS-capable mobile phone or e-mail address.

Not all general aviation customers have had that sort of access, says Harper. “Now some of our European customers can have the benefits we’ve been flying here in the US with for a couple of years, with broadcast and XM.”

Each MLX770 datalink transceiver weighs 3.6lb (1.64kg) and is contained in a 152mm x 203mm x 76mm box.

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Source: Flight Daily News