Garmin vs Avidyne

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I didn't see the usual spot for comments.

I completely agree about what things make the G1000 good and what things make it bad.
The nice thing is that apparently a couple years back it was not as good and now and they
have made a bunch of improvements just in software.

Of course, there are still bugs in the software and there are, to my eye, glaring user
interface issues. One of the biggest is that entering a transponder code times out. So if
you are bouncing around and the controller is a being a little slow to deliver the code you
will fly a little after having pressed XPDR -> CODE and ... the menu times out back to the
main softkey menu.

Cellphone manufacturers have learned not to time out menus like that.

Touchscreen would be amazing, but I wonder how useful it would be in turbulence.

As usual with UI issies, I have a hard time believing that the people writing the software
are actually using the product.

The KAP140 autopilot sucks, and I wish Garmin would put out an autopilot that could be a
replacement for the KAP140. (The KAP 140 is $15k, the new Garmin autopilot is $50k.
Totally different beast, capable of flying a jet for you. Three axis, attitude-based instead of
roll based... Really hard to justify swapping it out for the KAP 140.)


-- Colin Summers, February 11, 2006


Another couple notes:

I have no problem with the fuel gauges. Part of that is the mission type I fly (rarely over half the fuel is used at the destination), but part of it is that the fuel range is drawn right on the map. There's even a dotted line for the 45min reserve and then the solid line for empty. For even quick how-far-can-I-go planning mid-sky it looks like enough information. I use the little bars to see how the tanks are balanced.

If there's a problem with fuel it lights up, so you know right away. I initially didn't like the little bar-and-slider depictions, but when I realized they lit up if there was something important (on run-up once I hit the yellow portion of the oil pressure because the oil was cold) I felt much better. I want to scan and know everything is okay.

The direction of the wind in degrees is on the aux page. Maybe in IFR it becomes more critical. Usually I want to know where it is coming from as I am landing and I want to know the direction (approximate) and strength as I traverse a ridge or fly through a valley. It's been perfect for both of those. If I am at cruise and (usually) on autopilot I spin through the AUX pages and check all sorts of things like headwind component and ETA for the destination.

There are a lot of things I would correct and add to the UI. I hate that there is all that computing power in there, for instance, and it doesn't offer to do a weight and balance for you as you start up. Why not? Where better than right there in the plane? Once it knew gross weight it could tell you take-off roll and landing distance. On "show nearest" it could highlight ones where it was marginal. All sorts of augmentation to your situational awareness is possible but not yet implemented.

-- Colin Summers, February 11, 2006