Garmin G1000 Checkride

by Philip Greenspun, CFII in March 2006

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This checkride is designed for ensuring that renters and instructors at East Coast Aero Club (Bedford, MA) are qualified to fly the Garmin G1000-equipped Diamond Star DA40, N267MA.

About N267MA

Our Diamond Star DA40 is a 2005 model equipped with the KAP-140 autopilot. Because the transponder included with the G1000 is a mode S unit, N267MA can display traffic information service (TIS) data on its moving maps. Note that TIS data comes from FAA ground stations and is not available in all parts of the U.S. and certainly will not be available if you are out of ATC RADAR coverage. Furthermore, if the FAA RADAR cannot get an altitude on a target, e.g., because the target does not have an operating Mode C transponder, the target will not be displayed on the G1000.

N267MA does not have the Garmin GDL 69, an XM satellite-based NEXRAD weather and METAR data link, that most G1000-equipped airplanes have. I advised the owner not to install this $7000+ accessory because I expect that eventually Garmin will offer an ADS-B plug-in for the G1000 and that will include a free-from-the-FAA weather data link.

Sometime in 2007, Diamond expects to begin offering the DA40 with the Garmin autopilot, an attitude-based unit that should fly substantially more smoothly (especially in turbulence) than the KAP-140 in N267MA. Other than the autopilot and the lack of a weather datalink, the airplane that we have is as good as a DA40 will ever get.

Our DA40 has the standard 40-gallon fuel tank, which is more than ample for most trips (I got my old DA40 from Boston to Alaska to the tip of Baja, Mexico and back with the 40-gallon tanks; the only place where I felt a bit pinched was in the Caribbean due to the lack of availability of 100LL).

More about the DA40:

More about the G1000: All documents available in PDF format on

More about the KAP 140: PDF manual available with a Google search

Checkride Sequence

This entire checkride can be accomplished in less than 2 hours of Hobbs time, with an optional break on the ground.

  1. preflight inspection
  2. point out that there should be SD cards in the bottom slots of both PFD and MFD (topo, terrain, and obstacle data) but not in the top slots (used temporarily to update NavData such as airports and VORs)
  3. startup (review cold and hot starting procedures)
  4. emphasize ground leaning; this airplane is susceptible to plug fouling
  5. reset fuel totalizer, note that full fuel will register as 17 gallons on the gauges due to the limited length of the capacitive fuel level sensors
  6. bring up pilot profile "ecac renter vfr"; remind applicant that profiles beginning with "ecac" should not be overwritten (should be at least 8 free-for-all profiles available)
  7. enter flight plan from KBED to KEEN (not direct-to!)
  8. use the Waypoint chapter (Garmin calls this "page group") to pull up and tune the ATIS and Ground frequencies for Bedford and enter them into the active and standby freqs for COM2 (applicant not allowed to enter these digit-by-digit with the knobs); note the Menu button's "View Departure" and other functions
  9. on the same page within the Waypoint chapter, pull up the Tower frequency for BED and put it into the active freq of COM1
  10. manually tune 124.4 into the standby for COM1
  11. note that the useful COM1/2 split function is not available on the DA40
  12. get the ATIS and enter the altimeter in all three places
  13. set the HDG bug to the runway heading (293 for runway 29)
  14. set the G1000 altitude bug to 3000
  15. set the autopilot altitude preselect to 3000
  16. review the airplane's v-speeds and see where they can be set (timer page on PFD)
  17. do the autopilot test procedure in the run-up area
  18. take off and climb out toward the practice area, note that the requirement to pull the prop back to 2400 from 2700 is strictly for noise abatement in Europe; the engine and prop are happy to run at 2700 (though 2200 is much quieter)
  19. use the Nearest chapter to find and tune (using the Enter button, not the knobs) the GDM VOR
  20. check to see if the G1000 has identified the GDM VOR from the Morse code
  21. listen yourself to the Morse code from the GDM VOR
  22. track inbound to GDM for a mile or two using the VOR radio, not the GPS
  23. return back to the practice area
  24. slow flight and stalls
  25. direct-to KEEN
  26. engage the autopilot on NAV and ALT
  27. lean the engine, pointing out the difference between the LEAN and LEAN + ASSIST modes
  28. manually adjust the display brightness for PFD and MFD
  29. if not already getting VFR advisories, set the transponder to 4123 and then immediately back to 1200 (using the VFR button)
  30. climb 500' to a preselected altitude using the autopilot, then descend back to a cruising altitude (3000'?)
  31. switch between HDG and NAV modes on the autopilot
  32. switch from ALT to VS 0 (good for turbulent conditions)
  33. demonstrate the hazards of control-wheel steering switch combined with VS mode, giving the aircraft back to the autopilot when in a 15-degree pitched up attitude and seeing that the VS is set to something ridiculous and unsustainable such as 1500 fpm
  34. load the ILS 02 approach to KEEN
  35. switch tanks: note that this particular DA40 has no fuel pressure gauge, fuel pump on, look at fuel flow, switch, look at fuel flow, fuel pump off
  36. make sure that the audio panel MKR/MUTE button is illuminated so that you can hear marker beacons (press once to mute one marker, which is also indicated just to the left of the altimeter on the PFD; press twice to make the light go away and silence future audio)
  37. fly the approach by hand and sequence to the published missed approach procedure (pressing appropriate buttons to suspend the approach ("suspend" soft key where the OBS was) and get the CDI back to tracking from the GPS instead of the nav radio
  38. land at KEEN if desired

    trip back to Bedford, concentrate on emergencies

  39. icing: pitot heat, alternate air, prop to 2700, tune to 121.5 the press-and-hold way
  40. PFD backlight failure (manually press big red button for reversionary mode)
  41. PFD failure (pull breaker)
  42. AHRS failure (pull breaker)
  43. air data computer failure (pull breaker)
  44. use the map cursor to identify a river, get the altitude limits of some Class B or Class C airspace
  45. use the map cursor to measure distance from the plane's present position (MENU first)
  46. hit the ENT key when the cursor is over KORH to measure distance from Worcester to other places on the map
  47. diversion: highlight KFIT with the map cursor and press Direct-To, Enter, Enter
  48. diversion: bring up the nearest airports and, using the FMS cursor and knobs, divert to KASH
  49. turn traffic on and off in the inset PFD map; discuss the workings of the traffic system (it should say "traffic 3 o'clock, lower", but instead says "traffic" and encourages you to put your head down into the display)
  50. bring up the map setup menu for the MFD
  51. go to the terrain warning page within the Map chapter and watch as the screen goes from yellow to red on final approach
  52. do a practice ILS approach at BED using the autopilot down to 500' AGL (HDG mode with APR ARM and then have the autopilot fly down the glide slope)

Who Can Give the Checkride?

John Nutt and Philip Greenspun.

Some Useful Power Settings

For flying an approach at 90 knots, with half-flaps... 17-18" for straight/level. 11.5" to go down the glide slope.
Text and photos (if any) Copyright 2006 Philip Greenspun.