Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I have the luxury of flying a new C172 with a G1000 that regularly returns to a Cessna Service Center for 100 hour inspections and sundry maintenance. As a result, the software on the G1000 has gone through some changes as the service technicians applied the latest updates. I'm talking about updates to the G1000 software itself, not just the various Jepp, terrain/obstacle, electronic charts, and electronic checklist databases. In particular, two of the changes were most welcome.
The first is that when the Multi-Function Display (MFD) is power up, you no longer have to wait for the expiration dates of the various databases to scroll by in the Star Wars fashion. You know, the scrolling text "Long ago, in a galaxy far away ..." It literally used to take several minutes for this stuff to be displayed. Now you just see this screen:
The other cool feature of note is that should either the Primary Flight Display (PFD) or the MFD fail, you will now still have the inset map displayed on whichever screen is left. This is a huge improvement to situational awareness and makes the G1000 reversionary mode practice (nee "partial panel") pretty easy to perform. In fact, you have so much information compared to a steam gauge partial panel scenario that it's almost obscene. So easy that I found myself saying to one of my instrument students "In the old days, we just had the CDI, turn coordinator, altimeter, and the compass ..."
Too bad Garmin doesn't display the ground speed on the remaining display. It's kind of amazing that they don't, given that ground speed on a partial panel, non-precision approach is one of the most useful things you can have. There's plenty of screen real estate there, so maybe they'll add it in a future update?