Last spring when I visited the Cessna Plant in Independence Kansas, they told us that 2006 was the last year could order standard round instrument gauges (commonly referred in the Cessna world as Nav I and Nav II avionics packages); being replaced by the new Garmin G1000 system (called Nav III). I was a little surprised at this decision given the G1000 had only been out a short while, however, on the trip to KIDP, I got my first taste of a G1000 equipped aircraft and although a little bit overwhelmed at first — mostly because I was flying a Turbo 182 for the first time — it was a very fun system to fly — with some CFI guidance in the next seat. Find out all about my G1000 checkout after the jump.
Finally this summer I had the time and some extra flying budget to get formally checked out in the G1000. A local FBO has 3 G1000 Equipped planes to choose from. A C172, C182 and a C206. All of which are well maintained and database current — the 182 has a sometimes temperamental electrical system, however, what plane does not have its own slight “personality?!?” On that same note, electrical failures are not something you want in a G1000 equiped airplane.
The checkout process with this FBO is a ground course by King Schools, which is pretty well done, and a checkout with an instructor certified in the G1000. The local FBO here chooses to use the Cessna FITS (FAA Industry Training Standards) syllabus which is also well done!
The first lesson out was a refresher of the ground course and covered things like checklist procedures (there are some additional things to do), and general operating procedures you might encounter in a single pilot environment. The second lesson was emergency procedures, IFR approaches and again checklist procedures. It is very easy to get caught with your head down on the checklists (I did) so I would recommend being comfortable with them before you get in the air — especially if you are doing an IFR checkout as well. To help you out, ask the FBO to copy them for you — I’ve never had them turn me down when I ask for copies of the checklists.
For my IFR portion of the checkout I was in need of an IPC since my instrument currency had lapsed, so the additional portion of the second lesson was meeting parts of those requirements. I did okay, but was not happy with my proficiency at getting the G1000 setup for approaches so my CFI and I are going up one this Saturday to get the kinks out. I’d plan on about 5 hours average for a full VFR and IFR signoff. The insurance companies dictate a lot of this hour requirement.
I highly recommend you take a flight in the G1000 if you are given the opportunity. The resources available to a GA pilot flying a Cessna 172 are now equivalent or better to that of some corporate jets. Don’t forget your basics however it’s still the same plane you know and love now with just two big flat panel monitors.
Pilot Mike’s Impressions — so far:
Disclaimer: I have not flown any other “glass panel” aircraft like the Avdyne system so these are based only on the G1000 system.
+ Lots of good database info including AFD data (runway/taxi diagrams)
+ XM Weather: NEXRAD and text WX
+ Auto tuning of NAV/COM Frequencies and a COM playback feature
+ Great situational awareness
+ Improved user interface (vs. some other Garmin GPS units)
+ V Speeds marked on airspeed indicator
+ Everything can be done with your right hand — controls are duplicated on both displays
– It will take some time to get so you know where things are in the menus
– Software updates (not database updates) have to be done by an avionics tech. I’m sure this is an FAA certification issue.
– Added 07/14/2007 – Wish the inset map on the PFD could have a different orientation (ie: Track Up or North Up) than the MFD. I seem to like the North up on the MFD a little better for “big picture” view, however, for IFR approaches I like “Track Up”. If you could set them independently that would be awesome.
Pilot Mike’s G1000 Tips:
- V Speeds are indicated vertically on the tape, but if you are slower than, say Vy, remember you need to lower the nose to increase speed not “pull up” to the Vy indicator on the display. On your first climb out you will know what I mean.
- TIS takes some getting used to – don’t forget to keep your head outside looking for traffic. It’s easy to get stuck with your eyes on the MFD looking at the traffic map — which is delayed by several seconds.
- Added 07/14/2007 – Make sure your expected alerts and preferences are where you want them before you taxi. For example, if you are VFR, make sure the last IFR pilot did not disable the airspace alerts. Use the profile feature to store “your” settings. This won’t stop someone from potentially overwriting your profile but it is a lot less likely than someone changing the defaults.
- Added 07/14/2007 – Make sure you have paper charts and plates. The electronic databases in these rental G1000 planes don’t have all the info that the approach plates have. According to Garmin’s G1000 Instructor Reference: “As of June 2006, electronic charts cannot be used instead of paper charts.”
I’m sure I will have more as I get some additional time with the system. I’d welcome your G1000 comments.
Keep flying your best and be safe!