Tuesday, October 30, 2007

G1000 Update

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?


Mike said...

The new update looks good and you're right about the GS. There is plenty of real estate on the G1000 display.

If the Barbie Jet had that much space, it would be loaded with information. I miss flying 172's and 182's with G1000. Great fun.

Tony Condon said...

could you elaborate on why groundspeed is so important in the reversionary mode on the G1000. I have exactly .5 hrs in a G1000 182 and we didnt really do a lot of stuff with that feature. Seems to me though that you still have the full MFD with a moving map inset and you lose no nav functionality right? seems to me like its still a better setup than shooting a non precision approach in a steam gauge aircraft, as far as information displayed. Most of the trainers I fly and teach in dont have a groundspeed readout that would necessarily be a great benefit on a Non precision approach and ive always had success flying them. Thanks!

John said...


Ground speed is important because if you know your speed across the ground, you have a good idea what the wind is doing. We don't always have the luxury of performing an approach into the wind. Sometimes a circling approach is the only option.

On a recent circling approach, I saw a ground speed of 156 knots on the final approach course. The indicated airspeed was 105. I was really glad I had that information and it help me have an idea of what to expect once we started our circle to land.

With a G1000 in actual reversionary mode, you lose one GPS, one com, and one nav. You may also lose use of the autopilot. And I think you're right that a G1000 provides a whole lot more in reversionary mode than, say, a steam gauge aircraft in partial panel mode on an NDB approach.

Tony Condon said...

ok i see your point, but i dont think that having a groundspeed readout is necessary to figure that out. you still have a comm radio so listen to the ATIS/AWOS/ASOS and you got winds aloft forecasts before takeoff so you know at least a general idea of what to expect along those lines. and I think that the G1000 in reversionary is still a better info source than a full panel non precision approach in steam.

John said...


Not to belabor the point, winds aloft forecasts are just that - forecasts. I often have students do approaches into airports that don't have any surface weather reporting whatsoever. Knowing your actual ground speed under these circumstances is a big advantage.

In absence of any ground speed readout capability, I agree with you that the old-fashioned Kentucky Windage technique is certainly recommended.

Since the G1000 is calculating ground speed anyway (even in reversionary mode) and it has plenty of screen real estate to display it, not displaying ground speed is ... well ... stupid.

Kenny said...

The G1000 is an awesome system. I have about fifty hours in them. But, I still recommend learning to fly instrument training on basic needles before transitioning to glass panel.

eric said...

John, the best updates are actually to the flight plan page! You can now go point to point via airways, and exit at any intersection on that airway. Not to mention that the software now declares what kind of hold to use, and, with the GFC700, will fly that hold indefinitely! I haven't tried that with timed holding, but it does perfectly on dme/gps legs.

David said...

Hi John,
I have enjoyed reading about your G1000 experiences. I am just starting to learn to fly with the G1000, and I am renting new Cessna 172's equipped with them. It is a disappointment to me that all rental G1000 I have flown in so far have expired databases. I am hoping to do most flying under IFR, so I am relegated to the "slant uniform" equipment suffix. Frustrating, since an expired database seems to make most G1000 features either suspect or IFR-illegal.

Kevin said...

I am flying an 05 T182 with G1000. It doesnt have the digital checklist installed (I think I got the safetaxi going). Where did you go about getting that?

John said...

Your Cessna Service Center is the best resource for checklist updates and questions.