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BendixKing Traces Long History of Aviation Innovation

BendixKing Traces Long History of Aviation Innovation

It’s been almost four decades since two legendary companies – Bendix Aviation and King Radio – came together to create the avionics innovator we now know as BendixKing. BendixKing was born in 1983 when Allied Corporation (later to become Honeywell legacy company AlliedSignal) acquired the two companies and set its sights on becoming a leading force in the rapidly growing general aviation industry.

BendixKing’s current strengths include integrated cockpits, connected aircraft technologies, communications and navigation systems, autopilots and indicators, and much more. But back in the mid-1980s, BendixKing was mostly focused on communications and navigation radios, which also were strong suits for its two legacy companies.


Bendix Aviation: From Wheels to Wings

Visionary inventor Vincent Bendix got his start in the 1920s manufacturing brakes for bicycles. He soon added cars and trucks to the mix, but even as the brake business expanded, Bendix was ready to branch out into aeronautics. In 1929 he changed the company’s name to Bendix Aviation.

Avionics quickly became a primary focus for the restructured company and the Bendix Radio division was formed in 1937 to manufacture transmitter/receivers and other electronic equipment for aircraft. The new division grew quickly, eventually positioning itself to be the leading supplier of flight instruments for military aircraft during World War II. In fact, Bendix provided 75% of the electronic equipment on every U.S. aircraft flying during the war.

Following the war, Bendix Radio continued to develop innovations in radar, autopilots and other avionics and safety systems. In 1956, the company created a special unit to focus on general aviation. The years to come brought many advancements including introduction of the RDR-100 weather radar (1964), the CS-230 panel-mounted VHF com/nav radio (1965) and the BX-2000 VHF com/nav system (1976), which was the first digital system for general aviation. 


King Radio: A Legacy of Innovation

After starting and selling a successful radio components company, Ed King, Jr. founded King Radio in 1959. That same year he designed and hand-built the game-changing KY 90, a 90-channnel crystal-controlled VHF transceiver for light aircraft. The appeal of the KY 90 was its low price and crystal-clear reception. He sold five units the first year and never looked back.  

King quickly built a reputation for innovation in the succeeding years, with exciting new products like the KDF 800 automatic direction finder (1969), which was the first digital ADF for general aviation, and the KX 155 com nav radio (1969). Many of the King Radio products produced in the 1960s and 1970s are still flying on general aviation aircraft.

In 1970, King Radio introduced the KX 175 solid-state VHF navigation and communications unit, which was the first low-cost unit to receive technical standard order design approval from the FAA. The KX 175 and its derivatives are widely considered to be the most reliable general aviation radios of the era.


Honeywell and BendixKing: Committed to General Aviation

Today, the BendixKing brand is an essential part of Honeywell’s extensive portfolio of general aviation products, services and software solutions.

BendixKing is focused on the specific needs of aircraft owners and pilots of general aviation, small business aviation and experimental aircraft, and helicopters. Honeywell and BendixKing engineers collaborate to develop leading-edge technologies that make flying in a general aviation aircraft safer, more efficient and a lot more fun.

The new Honeywell Anthem always-connected flight deck is the perfect example of a breakthrough avionics solution that crosses all lines, with potential applications in general aviation, business aviation, urban air mobility, regional and air transport aircraft. Honeywell Anthem features the aviation industry’s most intuitive design, with user interfaces that will remind pilots of their smartphones and tablets. 

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