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We are operating a Piper Cheiftain Pa 31-350 aircraft in a regular
run over mountainous terrain. Often the weather is bad and we are
looking at installing a Garmin 430 GPS to help with IFR flying and so
we can replace one of our old Nav/Coms. Do you recommend this action
or would there be a more suitable userfriendly instrument that we
could install? We are also landing at Wellington which is a fairly
What are your thoughts?
-- Zion Pilgrim, July 29, 2004
I think the 430 would be pretty good for this. You can store the regular flight plan and even an alternate or two and bring them up without too many keystrokes. Where the 430 and 530 can be painful is if ATC gives you a routing change to completely new intersections and VORs that you've never heard of. This is presumably more common here in the Northeast US than in New Zealand. The 430 will supposedly be upgradeable to show terrain height. Sadly its display is fairly low-res and crude compared to the UPS/Apollo nav/com that Garmin acquired (CNX80) and its improved successor, the GNS 480.
But if cost is an issue the 430 will probably be cheaper than the 480.
-- Philip Greenspun, July 29, 2004
The 430 would be a great addition to any airplane in my oppinion. If your pockets are deep... a pair of them is amazingly effective allowing for upload of info such as traffic and great radar info. And could also aide greatly in terrain avoidance. I have a question for you also, to what capacity do you use your Cheiftain? I would like to use one for short comuter opps, but am uncertain of the plane to purchase.
-- p K, October 7, 2004
I just "upgraded" from a Northstar M3 to a Garmin 430. I put "upgraded" in quotes as it should read "downgraded". I don't find the 430 user friendly at all. The menus, etc. require a lot of manipulating to get to where you want to go. The map display is small(much smaller than the 396, which I also have) and the data on the map page is sketchy. The fields could be a lot smaller and still very readable and thereby leaving room for more data fields. To get all the information you need (ete,ID,course,GS,dist.) you need to go to another page. I have it hooked to aArgus 5000CE which has twice the info and the printing is 1/4 the size and very readable. The M3 was much much easier to use and you could store 5 different waypoints ready to use at a twist of the switch.
-- David Alger, July 18, 2006
By now I assume you have solved your question with a purchase. I have used my 430 for more than a year having upgraded from a Norhstar M3. My reaction is somewhat between those previously submitted. True the Garmin is awkward to re-program single pilot IFR operation. Nevertheless it is a good value for the money. The comments from Phillip seem pretty accurate. I doubt if you will do much reprogramming on the fly and I find the original setup and searching for nearest airport, VOR, FSS, Weather, etc very easy. Most convenient is the instrument approach selection and activation on final. Although the LCD is primative by some standards it "works" nicely and is all I have needed for the 400 hours I have used it.
-- Don M, December 3, 2006