As avionics makers compete to roll out more capability at a lower price, Garmin’s GDL 52/51 portable receivers arrive to capture traffic, weather and music, and feed data and entertainment to a range of displays and devices.
The GDL 52 is the flagship satellite data receiver of Garmin's new line. Priced at $1,199 on the Garmin website on July 18, with the company listing in a news release an "expected street price" of $1,149, the GDL 52 models (portable and remote-mount) can receive SiriusXM weather and music, as well as subscription-free traffic and weather via Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) In.
Both the GDL 51 and GDL 52 can feed data by wireless or wired connections, and each is compatible with the Garmin G3X touchscreen display, along with aera 660, and aera 795/796 portables. The GDL 51/52 models can connect wirelessly to mobile devices running the Garmin Pilot app, according to a company press release.
“With the introduction of the new GDL series, we are reaffirming our leadership position and commitment to providing pilots with the most comprehensive in-flight traffic and weather solutions available on the market,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing, in the news release. “With the GDL 52, we’re excited to be the first to bring the most economical and all-inclusive portable receiver to pilots who want to access the benefits of ADS-B In weather and traffic without compromising the advantages of SiriusXM Aviation weather and audio entertainment.”
A Garmin Pilot app update expected to arrive within days of the July 18 announcement will add support for the GDL 52/51 receivers, as well as adding new features such as synthetic vision for Android devices and helicopter-specific weight-and-balance functionality and search-and-rescue flight planning for Apple iOS users. Both platforms now support controlling the Garmin Virb camera.
The GDL 52 has an advertised battery life of five hours receiving ADS-B In and SiriusXM data, while the GDL 51 can receive SiriusXM data without the ADS-B connectivity for seven hours. The remote-mount versions of each can be connected to external power sources. Both the GDL 52 and GDL 51 models also receive GPS position and back-up attitude information for display on some devices, and support up to four devices simultaneously—two via wired connection and two wireless. GDL-series units also can connect directly to aviation headsets via Bluetooth, and several audio panel models can make the same wireless connection for audio entertainment.
The GDL-series receivers include a free Garmin Pilot trial, and both are eligible for a SiriusXM rebate of $200 with initial purchase of an aviation weather subscription. Purchase of a GLD 52/52R also comes with three free months of the SiriusXM Pilot Preferred aviation weather package, and SiriusXM All Access audio programming.