LABACE Convention News

Garmin Avionics Add New Capabilities

 - August 9, 2018, 7:06 PM
A Beechcraft Bonanza with a full complement of Garmin avionics, including a GFC 600 autopilot, touchscreen TXi displays, GTN 750 touchscreen navigators, and a G5 as a standby instrument.

Garmin (Booth 2008) has made a number of improvements to various avionics products, from its displays and autopilots to navigators and radars, plus a new watch in the D2 aviator family.

TXi, GTN, GFC, G5 Updates

Garmin’s G5 electronic flight instrument will soon be approved to act as a standby instrument when paired with Garmin’s G500 TXi touchscreen or G500 flight displays. Garmin also announced new VNAV profiles for the GTN 650/750 touchscreen navigators as well as upcoming GFC 500 autopilot pairing with the G500 TXi or G500 flight displays and other new enhancements to these avionics products. The software updates that enable these new features will be available in August, according to Garmin.

When paired with the G500 TXi or G500, the G5 standby instrument receives automatically synced heading bug, altitude select, airspeed bug, and baro setting information from the G500 TXi or G500. These displays all share flight director and autopilot mode annunciations from the GFC 500 autopilot. Garmin expects more than 600 aircraft will be approved to use the G5 as a standby instrument when installed along with the G500 TXi or G500 displays.

The new VNAV profiles are available when the GTN 650/750 navigator is paired with the G500/G600 TXi, G500/G600, or G5, allowing pilots to create a vertical descent profile by setting altitude constraints in the flight plan on the GTN. Features include automatic population of step-down altitudes or altitude restrictions when loading and activating an arrival or approach; manual setting of unpublished altitude restrictions; and top- and bottom-of-descent display on the moving map. When paired with these displays, pilots get improved situational awareness with a vertical deviation indication, which provides vertical guidance for the descent, according to Garmin. A VNAV softkey on the autopilot mode controller enables flying a fully-coupled VNAV approach when the GTN 650/750 is paired to a GFC 500 or 600 autopilot.

The new CDI preview “allows pilots to view course and vertical deviation information prior to an instrument approach,” similar to the preview feature available on many business jets. This works when the GTN 650/750 is paired with the G500/G600 TXi, G500/G600, or G5. The preview is shown on the HSI or lateral deviation indicator.

For aircraft equipped with a TXi display that is also engine instrument system (EIS)-capable or a G1000 NXi flight deck, pilots can use the Garmin Pilot app (iOS version) to view real-time engine information delivered via the Flight Stream 510 wireless gateway.

Garmin also announced new capabilities for the touchscreen TXi displays, including: 10-inch TXi can be configured to 40 percent PFD and 60 percent MFD split-screen; 7-inch portrait or landscape G500 TXi or G600 TXi can show moving-map and single-engine information simultaneously; 7-inch landscape TXi can work as a PFD; multiple video inputs can be displayed on a TXi’s MFD; and EIS-capable TXi displays can show individual CHT values.

The GTN 650/750 navigators are gaining new features. New audible and visual terrain proximity alerts warn pilots of “terrain ahead, pull up”, “obstacle ahead, pull up,” and “wire ahead.” On final approach at 500 feet, an aural “five-hundred” annunciation is provided. For landings at airports that are not in the aviation database, user-defined waypoints can be set at an airport to minimize unnecessary terrain alerts. Pilots can now access a QWERTY keyboard on the GTN 650/750 and G500/G600 TXi for a more familiar interface. Additional coordinate systems have been added to make entering GPS coordinates in various formats simpler, and these include latitude/longitude, degrees/minutes/seconds, and decimal degrees. And the GTN navigators and G500/G600 TXi displays now support the new GWX 75 weather radar.

D2 Aviator Delta Watches

Garmin has released three new versions of its D2 aviator watch series, the D2 Delta PX, D2 Delta S, and D2 Delta, which are the fourth generation in the D2 series. The watches range from bezel sizes of 42 mm (Delta S) to 47 mm (Delta) and 51 mm (Delta PX), and the latter also includes a pulse oximeter-like function that helps pilots monitor their oxygen saturation levels.

“This is not a medical device,” said Jim Alpiser, Garmin director of aviation aftermarket sales, “but it lets you see the pulse oxygen trend.” He added that the PX watch is not designed to replace the finger-type pulse oximeter, but it’s another tool to help provide pilots with valuable information.

All three D2 Delta watches show a colorful moving-map with Nexrad weather overlay, airports, navaids, bodies of water, roads, cities, and other details. Airport information includes frequencies and runway information, Metars, and TAFs. The watches have a GPS sensor, and this drives an HSI display that pilots can use to navigate in case of a failure of panel-mounted avionics.

Pilots can transfer flight plans to the D2 Delta watches using the Garmin pilot app and the Flight Stream 510 wireless gateway that is available with many Garmin flight decks. “You don’t have to do a lot of data entry on the watch,” Alpiser said. Free lifetime database updates are included with the watches, and the database includes worldwide airports.

Other features for pilots include configurable pressure altitude notifications. The watch vibrates to notify the pilot when reaching the selected altitude. Pilots can set a fuel tank timer, which vibrates when it’s time to switch tanks. When flying on a flight plan, a cross-track error notification vibrates to let the pilot know that the flight is deviating from the flight-planned route.

Garmin’s watches also provide notifications and can be used to send and receive text messages, email, etc.

Each watch can store 500 songs and play music by connecting via Bluetooth to a speaker or headset. The watches can control Garmin’s Virb action cameras and are multisport-capable, with features for running, bicycling, snowboarding, skiing, golfing, and other activities. QuickFit bands are easily changeable, for example, switching from a dressy band to a sporty silicone band.

The D2 Deltas will be available in August. The regular Delta retails for $899; the Delta S for $949; and the Delta PX titanium edition for $1249.

The Delta PX (center) shows the wearer’s oxygen saturation level.
The Delta PX (center) shows the wearer’s oxygen saturation level.

Engine Data Now on Garmin Pilot App

Garmin’s Pilot iOS mobile app can now display and record real-time engine instrument information when paired with the G1000 NXi flight deck or TXi flight display with engine information system (EIS) capability.

EIS data is delivered to Garmin Pilot via Garmin’s Flight Stream 510 wireless gateway, then stored in the app and after landing, uploaded to the flyGarmin website.

Pilots can use the EIS and flight data by downloading data logs and also set exceedance parameters on the website. When an exceedance occurs, the pilot will be notified via email.

Another new and long-requested feature in Garmin Pilot is a document viewer so users can view Garmin’s library of pilot and cockpit reference guides, regulations, and other material. Subscribers to the premium version of Garmin Pilot can use cloud storage sites to add documents in PDF, JPG, and PNG formats.

Garmin has added other features to the iOS version of the Pilot app, including display of Pireps on the flight profile view; area forecast discussion and model output statistics forecasts; base reflectivity radar in the U.S. and Europe; display of D2 Delta PX aviator watch pulse oximeter and heart rate data; and users can create custom map shape files that can be uploaded to the app.

The Android version of Garmin Pilot now offers “weight-and-balance calculations incorporated into a flight plan or saved trip, taking into account fuel burn and more,” according to Garmin. The company is adding to the Android app other features such as storm cell movement, area forecast discussion, and display of D2 Delta PX aviator watch pulse oximeter and heart rate data.

Autopilots Approved for More Aircraft

Garmin’s GFC 500 and 600 autopilots will soon add new installation approvals, bringing the STCs for the system to 10 popular airplane models. The latest to be added will be the Bonanza/Debonair (C33, E33, F33, G33), Cessna 210, and Grumman AA-5 series for the GFC 500, and the Beechcraft Baron (58P, 58TC) and Cessna 208B for the GFC 600.

The GFC 500 and 600 can be installed as a standalone autopilot or integrated with third-party displays and Garmin’s G500/G600 TXi and G500/G600 displays, Garmin navigators, and other instruments and navigation sources.

Key features of the GFC autopilots include Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection, underspeed and overspeed protection, level mode, flight director. These are added to “traditional autopilot capabilities,” according to Garmin, “such as altitude hold, vertical speed, and heading modes, as well as the capability to fly fully-coupled GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC, and back-course approaches.” The autopilots can also fly indicated airspeed climbs/descents, and offer control wheel steering and built-in roll steering.

Garmin has also added new features to the GFC 500 and 600, including a VNAV softkey for flying fully coupled VNAV profiles, although the autopilot must be paired to the GTN 650/750 navigators and the G5, G500/G600 TXi, or G500/G600 displays. Pilots can set altitude constraints for a vertical descent profile, and use automatically populated step-down altitudes.

The GFC 500 starts at $6,995 for a two-axis system and the GFC 600 $19,995 (with electric trim).

GWX 75 Brings Doppler to More Aircraft

Garmin’s new GWX 75 solid-state weather radar is the latest addition to the company’s family of Doppler radars, and it shares the same footprint as the GWX 70 and is thus available for a large variety of airplanes. The new radar is also available in a helicopter version, the GWX 75H.

With no magnetron to wear out and lower power consumption, the GWX 75 offers an enhanced color palette with more color contouring and 16 colors instead of the four on earlier radars. “You will see a much higher gradient,” said Alpiser.

The GWX series radars also provide 3D volumetric scanning and altitude-compensated tilt. Turbulence detection and ground-clutter suppression are optional.

Range of the GWX 75 is 320 nm, and it can scan horizontally up to 120 degrees, or the pilot can choose adjustable sector scanning. Vertical scanning allows the pilot to view storm tops, gradients, and storm cell build-up at various altitudes, according to Garmin.

To help mitigate shadowing from short-range cell activity, Garmin’s Weather Attenuated Color Highlight feature “highlights areas where radar returns are weakened or attenuated by intense precipitation to allow for more precise weather interpretation.”

The GWX 75 and 75H should be available in August and retail for $21,995 and $31,995 respectively. The new radars are compatible with certain Garmin flight decks, GTN 650/750 navigators, and TXi and G500/G600 displays. The GWX 75 is a direct replacement for the GWX 70, and the GWX 75 can also be upgraded to the GWX 80.