I really like the Avidyne PFD, MFD, and autopilot in my Cirrus.
In a nutshell, the Avidyne PFD and MFD tell the pilot flying in instrument conditions which way is up and how to steer a course that keeps you from hitting a mountain. The Avidyne autopilot is loaded with great safety features that can save your bacon if for some reason stuff hits the fan in the cockpit.
A few days ago, Avidyne offered me its new “AeroPlan” extended warranty for my equipment: pay $2000 per year and any repairs are free. If that sounds like a lot of money, keep in mind that without a warranty Avidyne charges a flat rate of $5900 to fix anything that might go on the fritz. (Ouch!)
Offer expires July 1.
All in all, it seemed like a deal that I couldn’t refuse.
Then I read the fine print.
Avidyne won’t sell owners the warranty unless they sign a “Waiver, Release and Indemnification.” At first blush, that document seemed like just another boilerplate form designed to protect Avidyne fromt frivolous suits. But when I read the form closely, I realized that by signing it, an owner puts his entire net worth on the line should Avidyne screw up and hurt someone that the owner may have never even met.
By signing, the owner agrees that he won’t sue Avidyne if he crashes, regardless of whether the crash was Avidyne’s fault. Hmmm. You’d think that if I could prove that I crashed solely because Avidyne’s product was defective, Avidyne would agree to at least pay my medical expenses
But it gets worse. By signing the agreement, the owner agrees that if one of his passengers is injured in a crash, and his passenger sues Avidyne, the owner will pay Avidyne’s attorneys fees in defending the case in court. Same goes for suits brought against Avidyne by anyone who is injured on the ground.
Furthermore, by signing the owner agrees to pay any court judgment that is awarded against Avidyne -- even though the accident turns out to be entirely Avidyne’s fault and not the owner's.
And there is no end date to the owner's obligation. So even after I sell the aircraft, I’m still on the hook. If the new owner crashes, and then sues Avidyne, I agree to pay for Avidyne’s attorneys and for any judgment that the new owner (or his passengers) obtain against it.
In short, anyone who signs this agreement becomes Avidyne’s insurance company. Forever. All to save a few bucks on repair work.
Who would agree to that? My understanding is that owners are rushing to beat the July 1 deadline. But I don’t think those folks know what they are getting themselves into.