8:59 PM

GA "Glass" is 15/16ths Full!

Make no mistake about this: 2007 will be forever remembered as the year that glass cockpits really took off, excuse the pun.

If you are strolling the grounds at Airplane Paradise this week – or like me, just watching the daily happenings at EAA Airventure online – you cannot possibly avoid the gusher of exciting news regarding a fantastic new wave of glass that is destined to find their way into your panel soon. If I were a steam gauge this week, I would seriously be fearing for my life.

Let's stroll the grounds together through the convenience of cyberspace:

Garmin is on fire: No other brand name in the air carries the same swagger as Garmin, and 2007 is their "breakout" year. Their flagship system, the G1000, introduces the GFC 700, said to be the first entirely new autopilot designed and certified for the 21st century. Take your pick of 10" or 12" flat-panel LCDs, or an optional 15-inch widescreen version for larger MFD configurations.

For your new kitplane, the G900X avionics suite is an all-glass panel designed for kitplane builders. The dealer-supplied G900X package comes with everything you need for a simple, straightforward installation, including WAAS-certified GPS/Comm with transponder on two 10.4 inch, high-definition LCDs.

G600 is a tidy retrofit package that combines critical flight data and displays it on two 6.5 inch diagonal flat-panel LCDs. These high resolutions screens are mounted side by side in a single bezel that fits neatly into the “six-pack” slot in your current instrument panel.

The Cessna Model 162 Skycatcher recently floored the media at Airventure when it was introduced with a small but powerful Garmin G300 display which provides primary flight and engine information in a split screen format.

Honeywell Bendix/King:
Avionics powerhouse Honeywell is "energizing" its Bendix/King brand, introducing new products for the retrofit market, including the new KSN 770, a GPS/nav/com glass screen multifunction display (MFD) navigator, and the WAAS-LPV capable KFD 840 primary flight display (PFD). Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2008.

Aspen Avionics:
The Evolution Flight Display is a new glass cockpit system for certified general aviation aircraft, and is modular, expandable, and upgradeable. It includes three models of primary flight displays (PFD), starting at $5,995, and two models of multifunction displays (MFD), starting at $4,995. The Evolution system enables aircraft owners to upgrade their primary flight instrument "six pack" to glass cockpit technology all at once or in stages. You can download the Evolution brochure here.

Avidyne Entegra Flight Deck:
The product line from Avidyne continues to be improved this year. Their Entegra EXP5000 Primary Flight Display (PFD) presents standard flight instrumentation plus moving map, weather, terrain, and traffic on a large 10.4-inch diagonal, high-resolution, full color screen, along with CMax™ approach plates that should really someday be standard equipment in all IFR-certified GA airplanes.
If anyone had any doubts about this glass cockpit thing having any staying power, on the shores of Lake Winnebago right now, you can find four gigantic halls full of reasons to believe the future of general aviation instrumentation is here.

The only question we all must ask is how long it will take before we all fly behind glass. If I had my way, it'd be tomorrow.

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