Avidyne Snares Owners with Limited Time Offer of Extended Warranty

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.

 

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
RWilliams - June 14, 2013 7:50 PM

What stops Avidyne from requiring us to sign an indemnity agreement before performing out of warantee repairs?

Mike Danko - June 14, 2013 7:55 PM

Nothing.

And when that happens, we'll be seeing lots of aircraft with broken Avidyne equipment for sale very cheap.

CirrusPilot - June 14, 2013 8:11 PM

If the owner has adequate insurance, then he's covered and the indemnity agreement shouldn't be a problem.

mdanko@dankolaw.com - June 14, 2013 8:17 PM

@CirrusPilot: Your insurance won't protect you. An aviation policy doesn't cover obligations you assume as a matter of contract and most policies expressly exclude coverage for liabilities arising from indemnity agreements.

Chris Morey - June 15, 2013 4:52 PM

To be this desperate, Avidyne must be in its death throes. It's unfortunate, because the Garmin/Avidyne competition is a good thing for aviation consumers. But it seems Garmin has won and Avidyne can't hang without this rather extraordinary and disturbing maneuver. Things will only get worse. Avidyne is going down. Too bad. But glad to learn of this before I installed an R9.

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