Weather data "is the big thing" in avionics, according to Garmin representative Dave Brown. Weather was clearly a main selling point among the roomful of pilots who watched Brown put a Garmin GPSMAP 396 through its paces at a product demonstration Friday at AOPA Expo. He showed how the unit's pages can be configured in dozens of ways to display the weather and obstructions that could lie in your flight path.
The 396, which lists for $2,695, is not "just a handheld GPS - it does everything that happens on the G1000 [multifunction display]," Brown said. The unit has a topographical color moving map, datalink weather from XM WX Satellite Weather that can be overlaid on the moving map, and terrain avoidance with audio warnings, among other features. The satellite weather and/or music requires additional monthly subscriptions from XM Satellite; weather packages range from about $30 to $50, and music is $6.95.
The 396 can integrate with a panel-mount Garmin GPS and transponder; flight plans and traffic from the panel will transfer to the 396, Brown said. A power data cable is required, and you must purchase two subscriptions to XM WX Satellite Weather if you want weather on both receivers, he added.
The unit also has auto and marine modes. From now until December 31, new purchasers can get a free automotive conversion kit that includes a cigarette-lighter adapter with speaker, car dash mount, and a 128-megabyte memory card. See the Garmin Web site for more details.
November 5, 2005