Plane & Pilot
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

2005 Electronic Skyhawk

It’s here—the most popular airplane in the world now comes with a glass panel

When Garmin premiered its G1000 do-everything glass-panel avionics system in mid-2003, the package was perceived as an extremely talented collection of electronic wizardry obviously intended for high-end general-aviation aircraft. Glass panels have been available on airline and corporate aircraft for years, but the G1000 expanded the technology to general aviation. " />

To get the big question out of the way, the base price for the standard 2005 Skyhawk 172S is $171,250. The all-conquering G1000 option costs an additional $58,500, and the AmSafe system in the rear seats is $1,500 more, for a total suggested retail price of $231,250. (There’s only one other option available—the 59-pound Keith Products air-conditioning system for an extra $21,300.)

If the Skyhawk is an old friend, the Garmin G1000 represents a quantum leap in the state-of-the-art, a perfect example of 21st-century technology. More accurately, the G1000 integrates a variety of navigation, communication and traffic/weather/terrain advisory equipment into a pair of 10.4-inch, active-matrix LGA displays. The primary flight display (PFD) is mounted directly in front of the pilot and provides information on attitude, heading and all flight information, while the multi-function display (MFD) is positioned at the center panel with all-navigation information, moving map, engine and electrical readouts. The MFD effectively eliminates the old-style steam gauges. (In a concession to redundancy, Cessna includes a trio of standard three-inch primary flight instruments—airspeed indicator, attitude indicator and altimeter—directly below the G1000.)

So much information folded into two flat-screen displays could pose a significant intimidation factor. Garmin avoids such problems by making the G1000 much simpler to operate than you might imagine, especially if you have experience with the company’s 430 or 530. Garmin went out of its way to make the G1000’s operating controls and readouts as telegraphic as possible, and any pilot who sits in front of the unit for a few minutes may be able to figure out many controls without a manual.

In addition to dual VHF nav, com and GPS, the G1000 incorporates a mode-S transponder with Traffic Information Service uplink. As with the 430/530, the top Garmin system provides full-color terrain mapping and weather uplink capability. Additionally, the G1000 installed on the C-172S has a solid-state attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), a standby battery and backup vacuum pump, a three-axis magnetometer, XM Satellite Weather and Radio, KAP140 autopilot and an air data computer that calculates TAS, CAS, VSI, wind direction and velocity. (Price the C-172R-GA with the G1000, and you’ll note the Garmin system is considerably less expensive than on the C-172S. That’s because the C-172R excludes the KAP140 autopilot and XM Satellite Weather and Radio.)


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