Two atoms are walking together when one says
"I've lost one of my electrons!"
The other atom asks "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm positive ..."
Pilots flying technically advanced aircraft (those with glass panel instrument displays and other electrically-dependent things like FADEC) need to make sure all their electrons are in order. The G1000 database update problem I discussed previously was resolved and the sticking point turned out to be an improperly formatted SD card. Still, the experience points out an operating scenario (PFD and MFD databases out of synch and cross-fill disabled) that I suspect Garmin did not fully explore during their quality assurance process. If I ever again experience a situation where cross-fill is disabled in a G1000, the first thing I will do is cut the corpus callosum (enter reversionary mode), which seems to prevent much of the weird behavior I reported earlier.
With both the PFD and MFD databases updated and the G1000 in this new plane functioning properly, my next question was how could this 172 have a WAAS-enabled G1000 when there appear to be no manuals available on the Garmin web site for such a setup on a Cessna? It turns out that these manuals are available, they're just hard to find - go to Garmin's web site, pull-down the Support menu, select Manuals, then select Aviation, Integrated Avionics Systems , G1000: Cessna Nav III. The PDF manuals that refer to the WAAS G1000 all contain "System Software Version 0563.00 or later" in their titles.
Perusing these manuals showed that there were many new features. Some of the features involve the Garmin the GFC 700 AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System - an autopilot and flight director) which is not available on the C172, but is available on the C182, C206 and the Cessna Mustang. There are still a bunch of new features on the C172 WAAS G1000 like SafeTaxi™ and FliteCharts™. I'll cover those in another post.
Loading an RNAV approach with LPV minima looks like this. Note that the available RNAV minima appear next to the name of the approach. Sorry these photos are blurry and poorly framed, but I was flying so all of these were "Hail Mary" shots.
Here's the RNAV approach I loaded, which has LPV (Localizer Precision with Vertical guidance) minima:
When you have loaded and activated an RNAV approach, several indicators will appear that are new for the WAAS G1000. The Vertical Deviation indicator (a magenta V) appears at the top of the glideslope window to the left of the altitude tape. At the top of the altitude tape, the next RNAV altitude is displayed in magenta. On the vertical speed tape, to the right of the altitude tape, a Required Vertical Speed Indicator will appear. A Glidepath Indicator (a magenta V, turned on its side) will appear on the altitude tape.
On the WAAS G1000, the turn anticipation messages are prominently displayed on the top of the PFD - right in the pilot's primary field of view where they are hard to miss. Sweet!
Once you reach the FAF, the display changes to a conventional G1000 glideslope indication (note G at the top of the glideslope window and the regular magenta diamond-shaped glideslope indicator).
My first assumption was that the KAP 140 would capture and fly the RNAV glideslope if I intercepted the glideslope from below at VODSY (the FAF), just like you would for a regular ILS. The G1000 begins providing a Vertical Deviation indicator at JUPAP, well before the FAF. I had the KAP 140 in NAV and ALTitude hold mode, so I reasoned that pressing the APR (approach) button would capture the glideslope. Nope! I tried the same strategy just before VODSY when the "normal" glideslope indications appeared. Nada!
Perhaps there's some incompatibility between the WAAS G1000 and the KAP 140, but since they are two separate products from two separate companies with two separate manuals, it will take more research to find out why. Even if the KAP 140 can't fly an LPV approach with glideslope, you can fudge it by putting the autopilot in NAV mode and manually adjusting the VS (vertical speed) descent rate to stay on the glideslope.
I had the opportunity to fly an SR22 that had recently been upgraded to dual GNS 430W units (sorry, no photos). Actually, I was ferrying the plane back from a maintenance shop where the issue of a door that wouldn't close was addressed. Much to the chagrin of the owner and myself, we discovered upon arrival at the home airport that the doors were once again refusing to close without someone pushing on them from the outside, but that's another frustrating and sordid tale.
With some extra time on my hands on the flight back, plenty of fuel, and the owner's permission, I decided to fly the OAK RNAV 27L just to see how it would compare to the G1000 experience. This is where I discovered what a lot of other Cirrus pilots apparently already know - the Avidyne Entegra system doesn't play well with the new Garmin 430W. The Entegra primary flight display cannot currently display GPS alerts, such as the turn anticipation prompts. Selecting OBS mode on the GPS also doesn't work on the Entegra and gives an obscure RS232 data channel #4 message.
But what's really unfortunate is that the Entegra can't display an RNAV glideslope, such as LPV or LNAV/VNAV - the whole point of doing the upgrade in the first place. For their part, Avidyne is developing an Entegra upgrade to fix this problem and it should be available sometime this fall. To perform the upgrade, the Entegra will have to be removed from the aircraft and returned to Avidyne, then returned to the avionics shop or Cirrus service center. This means the aircraft owner will lose use of the aircraft a second time - once for the 430W upgrade and again for the Entegra upgrade. If I was a Cirrus owner (ha! me, own a plane!)who hasn't yet done the 430W upgrade, I'd wait until the Avidyne fix is available and do it all at once.
Cirrus owners who opted to upgrade to the 430W as soon as it became available are not getting all the utility they thought they'd get. It's not clear if Avidyne and Garmin didn't communicate the changes to the 430W or if Avidyne dropped the ball, but the aircraft owners and pilots are the ones suffering.
And the people at Cirrus who designed those swell doors that don't latch properly? Well I think they should be sent out to personally apologize to all the people they've inconvenienced. Or maybe they should just be locked their offices until they have designed a free retrofit - doors that will actually latch and stay closed.