Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

Avidyne warranty indemnity clause

This has been hot news in the USA recently.

...has had a number of legal experts look this over and, without exception, each has responded with 'significant' concerns over what this agreement might mean to a warranty holder. More than just releasing Avidyne form liability and offering certain legal protections, the documents suggests that the aircraft owner/warranty holder who signs this agreement, could, under certain circumstances, wing up bearing up bearing the costs and liabilities for defending Avidyne.

While a number of the Avidyne customers who have spoken up on the matter seem deeply sympathetic to the damage done by 'out-of-control' legal costs and exposures, the fact that they could wind up paying the costs for defending Avidyne against a lawsuit and potentially holding the bag for any awards reached in such a matter seems too high a risk and too high a price to pay. Worse still; there are serious questions about the duration of indemnification involved... and several analysts suggest that there is no 'sunset' in this agreement... even for an owner that sells the plane to another that may become involved in an accident long after the transfer of ownership

More importantly perhaps to many pilots, there are reports that the above stunt has triggered a meltdown in the IFD programme, whereby many customers have paid advance deposits - in exchange for a reduced purchase price once the product becomes available - and are jumping out of the programme, with deposit refunds. The programme has been controversial because the product has been "coming soon" for several years now.

Avidyne run a constant stream of announcements on their blog which IMHO are just a bit too "corporate-smooth".

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter For this reason only I will never use any of their products.

Do I read it correctly that this is a program, into which operators CAN enrol but are not required to? As I understand it, it is a "budget" kind of extended warranty contract, offering 46% less cost for extension of the warranty under these rather unusual conditions.

In which case, people should stay away from this plan, clearly. Whether this means, they have to stay away from Avidyne as a company is another matter. Certainly, such stunts are near suicidal in the present climate.

Pity. I was hoping that finally a valid alternative to Garmins monopoly would emerge. One less for the time being or so it seems. Unless of course, they retract this, which they might. I reckon some overactive legal eagle has tried a stunt here and failed miserably.

LSZH, Switzerland

This has been a big topic in the Cirrus community.

Personally, I used to be a big Avidyne fan: I have their MFD, PFD, DFC90 autopilot and MLX / TWX weather systems. I really like the products and the people I have dealt with in Avidyne are great.

But I won't be buying another Avidyne product anytime soon. Two reasons:

They keep taking money for products they don't have. The IFD saga is only the latest in a sorry catalogue: just ask anyone who paid $100k for an R9 upgrade four years ago with the promise that they would get a free Syn Vis upgrade when it came out "early next year", they are still waiting.

Secondly this warranty scheme: you can either

  • pay through the nose for a one off repair (eg on the DFC 90 that I bought for under $10k it's over $4k)

  • or you can have an expensive ordinary warranty but have to pay extra if you want an exchange unit rather than an RTB repair

  • or you can have a reasonably priced warranty provided you indemnify them against all claims and costs arising from defects in their product. In other words, as I understand it, if it causes an accident and you and someone else get killed when you crash into the puppy farm, your estate gets to pay for their defence and any damages awarded against them.

As regards their being an alternative to Garmin's monopoly, I'm afraid that boat sailed when they lost the OEM contract with Cirrus. I suspect that led to the lack of resources that may well be the reason for their woeful record on product introductions and this new warranty nonsense.

Despite my comments above, it's a real pity because the products are excellent. Especially the R9 which would have been the alternative to the Garmin if Cirrus hadn't moved: everyone I know who has flown behind it loves it. But they still don't have the Syn Vis they paid for. :(

EGSC

I just had some of that:

My DFC90 autopilot in my SR22 (a great product!) seems to have a small problem, so i asked Avidyne to exchange the autopilot computer for a new one since it is only 3 months old and has flown only 50 hours.

Today I got the news they will exchange the unit but that I have to pay $ 400 "Advanced Exchange Fee" if I want them to send the new unit upfront. Otherwise my unit has to be sent in first ... which means GROUNDED for at least two weeks.

The autopilot is under warranty until August 2015, because i have bough extra warranty for 2 years.

No comment!

or you can have a reasonably priced warranty provided you indemnify them against all claims and costs arising from defects in their product. In other words, as I understand it, if it causes an accident and you and someone else get killed when you crash into the puppy farm, your estate gets to pay for their defence and any damages awarded against them.

On a slight tangent - is there any history of successful (i.e. expensive to the target) litigation over GA avionics failures?

Take my KFC225 autopilot. It says in the AFMS that it is not to be used below 1000ft AGL, or below 200ft on a coupled ILS. So, how can you possibly get killed with it? A failure above 1000ft will matter only if you are asleep at the time (or perhaps engaging in some more interesting activity...). A failure below 200ft on an ILS is such a tiny time window that unless you spend your whole life flying circuits on the ILS, it simply isn't going to happen. Especially as you are supposed to be visual at (Cat 1) ahem, wait for it... 200ft! And most proper crashes will either burn everything out (=no autopilot error log) or the cause will be so "obvious" that nobody is going to bother downloading the log (even if they can). Any way, no evidence will come out. Like in so many GA accidents where the final report is just so much conjecture...

A US pilot I know found the KMD550 terrain height colouring was severely defective - same reason as the Jepp data elsewhere. He did some digging and found a correlation between several night-flight CFITs (multiple-fatal obviously), the existence of the KMD550 in the accident aircraft, and the altitude of the crash site being "just right" in light of the errors. Now, you will correctly say, no pilot with a brain is going to use the colours on the MFD for selecting his cruise altitude, but if it was as easy to sue as we are led to believe, this sort of thing should be an obvious route for it.

Then there are fuel totalisers reading 20-30% off, etc, etc. I could list a lot of dodgy stuff myself...

So I wonder why Avidyne are risking so much customer goodwill, or perhaps even their whole company if they really do depend on the IFR and other deposits that much to stay afloat, just to get people to switch over to this strange warranty?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

A [autopilot] failure above 1000ft will matter only if you are asleep at the time

Fair comment although the STEC 55 that was originally fitted to my SR22 G2 before I upgraded it would cheerfully fly the aircraft into a stall if the airspeed decayed, for example when climbing.

I am not aware of a fatal accident caused by this but I could well imagine an inexperienced pilot in IMC getting caught out by this when combined with the resulting potential disorientation.

EGSC

On a slight tangent - is there any history of successful (i.e. expensive to the target) litigation over GA avionics failures?

Yes, there was a fatal Cirrus G1 accident in Talahassee on 13 November, 2008 when an inadequately trained pilot botched an approach.

The avionics manufacturer (Sandel) was sued. Total damages were $2.2M with the pilot held 35% liable.

It was widely discussed on COPA and Rick Beach, who is now Safety Director of COPA and who has done a huge amount to promote safety in the community, actually attended the whole of the trial.

His account and discussion of it was the subject of a very long thread on the COPA forum:

http://www.cirruspilots.org/forums/t/129585.aspx?PageIndex=1

I think it is available to non members

Note: edited to correct the avionics manufacturer. It was Sandel and NOT Aspen: my apologies!

EGSC

I tried my free login but it says

Not Found: Resource Not Found
The resource you requested does not exist.

I wonder which Sandel product it was? They don't make much stuff apart from the 3308, 3500 and some smaller bits, none of which I would expect to do "enough" to be safety critical unless you have a total loss of situational awareness anyway (e.g. flying the EHSI ILS bars blindly all the way to the ground).

Was the 2.2M the final outcome?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter

Sorry about that: obviously, you need to be a member to see the thread.

AFAIK the avionics configuration was: Sandel EHSI SN3308, dual Garmin GNS430, Garmin CDI, S-TEC 55X autopilot

The thread ran for well over 300 posts and I don't have time to trawl it this morning. I will try to get a summary or arrange for access to be made available if possible.

EGSC
46 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top