By Paul J. Richfield
Garmin has ceased production of its GNS 480 GPS navigation system—the former UPS Aviation Technologies CNX80—but has pledged to support both units for the foreseeable future.
In a December letter to its dealers, the Olathe, Kansas-based avionics manufacturer said declining sales prompted a move that many GA watchers had anticipated for some time. While the GNS 480 was the first panel-mounted GPS approved for WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) operations, it never achieved the market success of Garmin’s own GNS 430 and 530 units. Garmin recently offered WAAS as an upgrade to the 430/530, an action that appears to have sealed the 480’s fate.
“Spending $1,500 for a WAAS upgrade made a lot more sense to the vast numbers of 430/530 owners than a switch to an entirely different box,” a Garmin spokesperson said.
Garmin obtained the rights to the CNX80 in July 2003, when it acquired UPS-AT for $38 million in cash. Based in Salem, Oregon, UPS-AT was renamed Garmin AT.
In addition to the CNX80, the acquisition provided Garmin with the II Morrow line of GPS and loran products, and ADS-B hardware demonstrated aboard the UPS Airlines freighter fleet. This ADS-B technology was also a key element of the FAA’s Capstone project, which sought to reduce Alaska’s GA accident rate.
According to Garmin, its AT subsidiary is growing despite the 480’s demise. New facilities for the business unit are under construction, and it is producing the Garmin G600 avionics suite—an electronic retrofit for the “six-pack” instruments standard on most light aircraft.
January 3, 2008