Tecnam has formally announced the first flight of its Astore, a low-wing metal LSA that comes standard with an iPad mini and an optional Levil AHRS G-mini, which the company plans to showcase together at AirVenture, this year. Levil’s product works with the iPad by delivering information from dedicated AHRS to the iPad’s display via WiFi. It uses the Apple tablet as a PFD to display digital information and EFIS-like functionality. Tecnam says the Astore’s technological integration goes beyond that to include some unconventional perks, like the ability to lock the aircraft by remote control. But some of those perks arrive above the aircraft’s $135,000 base price.
According to the company, the Astore’s first flight went well and demonstrated smooth handling with performance that will be further detailed through future testing. For its part, Levil says that having the G-mini listed on the avionics callout of the Astore marks the first time the unit has won such treatment from an LSA aircraft manufacturer. The Levil is part of a relatively new class of microeletromechanical systems (MEMS) that have been proving their uncertified functionality to pilots of experimental aircraft. Levil says that aside from its core functionality, the G-mini also integrates with many popular apps. For example, when working with WingX Pro7 and AirNav Pro, the company says its G-mini can provide 3D synthetic vision and terrain awareness. That may be more than many LSA pilots expect, and the market will soon show whether that added functionality (and its associated costs) is something the segment will embrace.