SmartDeck Integrated Cockpit Chosen for New Evektor Outback Turboprop

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Montreal-based Esterline CMC Electronics has announced a new turboprop application for their acquired SmartDeck integrated glass cockpit. CMC's Greg Plantz told AVweb in an exclusive interview that Czech Republic aircraft maker Evektor has chosen the SmartDeck for the new-generation EV-55 Outback twin turboprop, bringing the once seemingly abandoned yet capable SmartDeck suite to a higher market level.

SmartDeck, which is a fully integrated and multi-screen suite that includes several major third-party systems, including a Cobham S-TEC digital autopilot and PS Engineering audio control system, made its introduction a few years ago from industry veteran L-3 Avionics. L-3 hoped the SmartDeck STC would grow further than the single STC that remains in place for Cirrus applications, but it just never gained momentum. Retrofits and OEM equipage for Cirrus models never panned out.

But CMC, which now owns the SmartDeck manufacturing rights, gives the system a new lease on life, reworking the user-friendly and highly integrated big-screen system for the turboprop market. There's a long list of improvements that focus on big-airplane human factors plus growth potential to meet evolving ADS-B requirements and the versatile mission profile of the EV-55 aircraft.

The SmartDeck sports three screens: pilot and co-pilot PFD plus an MFD and a CCU (center console unit). This configuration, says CMC, places unique focus on aircraft that are crew-operated. Interestingly, SmartDeck uses all concentric knobs, and absent is the expected touchscreen feature set. SmartDeck does include advanced synthetic vision, electronic charting, PT-6-specific ICAS and will support weather radar interfaces.

CMC says the SmartDeck is focused on Class III aircraft primarily through OEM channels, although select retrofit applications (which could include King Air, Pilatus PC-12 and other popular turboprop platforms) are a definite possibility.

The Evektor Outback is a high-wing, non-pressurized, and PT-6-powered multi-mission aircraft with a 4,021-pound max payload that excels in short-field and unpaved runway capabilities. It will be available in multiple configurations, including passenger transport, cargo transport, and a combined version with space for cargo and passengers -- plus a configuration designed for search, rescue and surveillance ops geared toward military applications. It's expected to have a starting price of around $2.1 million.

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