Bendix King Drops myWingMan Tablet App, Refunding Money
Citing a crowded aviation tablet app market, Bendix King said it will drop its myWingMan navigation app, effective immediately. The company said that customers with existing paid subscriptions will be issued a full refund and that the decision to pull its myWingMan navigation app from the Apple store was difficult, but is the “right thing to do for customers.” In an exclusive interview with AvWeb, Bendix King’s Paul Hathaway acknowledged the fierce competition from other app makers.
“It really comes down to the question of how do you displace the tens of thousands of existing ForeFlight users? Quite frankly, it’s a crowded space,” said Hathaway. The ForeFlight platform is just one successful full-featured navigation app among many others that have made a run at the market (some with varying degrees of success).
The myWingMan app was born from a partnership between Bendix King and app developer Seattle Avionics, a partnership that remains in place, says Hathoway, since Seattle provides navigational data to some existing Bendix King products. “It seems to be a race to the bottom in terms of 'free'. If you look at the cost of developing an EFB app and maintaining it, it’s critical that the program is strategically aligned with your other products and can stand on its own two feet. Removing the app from the market and refunding the money of all paying subscribers will allow us to ultimately focus on providing a better EFB product at a future date,” Hathaway noted. Standing on its own two feet could mean keeping app development in-house.
Parent company Honeywell seems more than capable of developing future apps for the Bendix King division. Honeywell’s Mobile Center of Excellence division develops apps for higher-end avionics applications, including EFB programs for the Apex in the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop and the Epic platform for business jets.Bendix King is expected to announce a major new product at the Aircraft Electronics Association’s national convention later this month in Nashville, Tenn. “There are things that we are doing to complement that new product and the myWingMan app just wasn’t the right platform to do that,” said Hathoway. As Hathaway put it, the new product and other announcements that are planned for this year will be "eye-openers".
On the heels of Bendix King withdrawing from the app market, the FAA issued installation approval for the KLR10 angle of attack system. Priced at $1600, the KLR10 uses a color-coded visual indicator for angle of attack and airspeed management. The system uses a dedicated sensor probe that requires little if any structural modification to the wing, since it's designed to fit into an existing inspection plate on the underside of the wing. Bendix King still waits for the FAA to approve the KSN770 GPS navigator—a product that’s been in development for several years. Bendix King says it will contact myWingMan subscribers in the coming week and begin refunding the subscriptions. VFR subscriptions for myWingMan were priced at $99 for one year, while the IFR subscription was $149 for one year. It's unknown how many subscribers there are since the app was introduced nearly two years ago.