Garmin unleashes blizzard of products

July 27, 2009

At a time when much of the aviation industry is hunkered down waiting for the economic storm to pass, Garmin is launching a swarm of new products directed at everything from light sport aircraft to high-end jets.

“These are things we’ve been working on for some time,” said Jim Alpiser of Garmin. “We think the time is right to introduce now.”

LSAs and experimentals

The G3X is a panel-mount derivative of the tablet-size, portable GPSMAP 695/696 but with attitude information. The G3X can be a one-screen primary flight display with an engine monitor and airspeed, altitude, heading, and attitude information on the top portion of the seven-inch screen, and a moving map GPS with XM Weather on the bottom.

In a two-screen configuration, a pair of G3Xs can act as a PFD/MFD combination with a larger, more detailed engine monitor and IFR approach capability.

A Garmin magnetometer, air data computer, and temperature probe enable the G3X to serve as a PFD and link to an external GPS and autopilot.

The retail price for a single-screen G3X with AHRS-based flight information is $9,995. Adding XM Weather raises the price to $10,695. A two-screen system is $14,115.

Garmin expects to begin delivering G3X units in the fourth quarter, and the company has agreements with LSA manufacturers Flight Design, Gobosh, StingSport, and Tecnam, as well as experimental avionics firms Avionics Systems LLC and Steinair.

G600 enhancement

garminGarmin plans a major enhancement of its year-old, dual-screen G600 glass panels for FAA-certified general aviation aircraft—Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT).

SVT was a sensation when Garmin first offered it on its G1000 integrated avionics suite last year, and now the GPS-derived, three-dimensional view of the world is available for the first time on the G600. SVT on the G600’s smaller screen won’t carry the same intuitive, fly-through, “highway-in-the-sky” boxes (Garmin calls them “pathways”) as the G1000. (The GNS 430/530s that serve as the G600’s brains won’t allow it.) But representations of the surrounding mountains, roads, lakes, and airports will show up on a crisp, vibrant display screen.

Garmin is offering its GWX 68 weather radar interface for the G600 and Class B TAWS ($7,995) and a series of new data fields.

Garmin also is offering an autopilot adapter (known as the GAD 43) that bypasses aircraft gyros and uses more reliable, digital AHRS instead. The move allows aircraft owners to get rid of their old gyros and replace standby attitude indicators with smaller, more reliable, and lighter new instruments.

The G600 has always had a retail price of $29,995 (not including installation) and, until June, Garmin had offered G600 rebates up to $5,000. The company’s rebate program is over, but it is offering free SVT upgrades (a $4,995 option) for existing G600 customers as well as an option to buy GAD 43 autopilot adaptors for $1,495 (a $1,500 discount) until the end of this year.

G500 nears FAA certification

Garmin is offering its G500, a stripped-down version of the G600, for FAA-certified GA aircraft that weigh less than 6,000 pounds.

The G500 is made from many of the components as its higher-end cousin (same AHRS, air data computer, magnetometer, and temperature probe), and they’re externally identical. But the G500 isn’t approved for airplanes more than 6,000 pounds and doesn’t have internal TAWS-B alerting. SVT is a $4,995 option on the G500, and autopilot interfaces and radar interfaces cost extra, too.

Garmin’s retail price for the G500 is $15,995, and Garmin anticipates FAA certification this month.

Aviat, Diamond, Found, Maule, Piper, Tecnam, True Flight, and Waco Classic are among the aircraft manufacturers that plan to offer the G500 in new airframes.

Garmin ready for satellite-based ATC system

Three new Garmin Traffic Systems (GTS) are meant to fit seamlessly into the future satellite-based air traffic control system.

The GTS 800 (40 watts) has an interrogation range of 12 nm; the GTS 820 (250 watts) reaches 40 nm, and the GTS 850 (also 250 watts) meets the FAA’s TCAS certification criteria.

The GTS series includes a 1090 MHz receiver for ADS-B “in” signals and a Garmin GTX 330/33 “extended squitter” for “out” signals.

Garmin also is offering a wide array of antennae designed to avoid blind spots in coverage.

The GTS 800 has a retail price of $9,995; the GTS 820 will sell for $19,995, and the GTS 850 will cost $23,445. The GTS units are expected to be available later this year.

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman | AOPA Pilot Senior Editor, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.