Garmin Unveils iPad-esque Aviation Navigation Devices

 - September 15, 2011, 11:06 AM
Garmin introduced two new seven-inch touchscreen aviation navigation haldheld devices, the aera 795 and 796. Both can function as Class I or II electronic flight bags, but only the 796 can also display XM Weather information. (Photo: Garmin)

Garmin unveiled its aera 795 and 796 portable aviation navigation devices yesterday. Both units incorporate features of the company’s GPSMap 696 and add capabilities such as a touchscreen user interface, pilot-selectable screen orientation, 3-D Vision and electronic en route and approach charts. Both devices have seven-inch capacitive touchscreens and almost identical features, the exception being the 796’s ability to display XM Weather data and charts. The 795 retails for $2,199 and the 796 is $2,499. Thanks to its preloaded IFR en route charts, VFR sectional charts and Garmin FliteCharts, the aera 795 and 796 can qualify as Class I or Class II electronic flight bags (EFB). A Jeppesen ChartView “enablement option” is also available for those who prefer to use Jeppesen e-charts. “Pilots continue to embrace touchscreen in the cockpit because they see how much faster and easier it is to access information while in flight,” said Garmin vice president of marketing Gary Kelley. To distinguish the new aera units from the touchscreen Apple iPad, which has become increasingly popular among pilots as an under-$1,000 EFB solution, Kelley emphasized that the Garmin EFBs are “so robust with features and capabilities that only a dedicated aviation device can offer.” One of these “unique” features is 3-D Vision, which provides a behind-the-aircraft perspective view of terrain to enhance pilot situational awareness.