Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Citation Step-Up Magic

Cessna’s new citation M2 upgrades performance, value and features

The G3000 incorporates dual touchpads that are easily accessible from either seat for data entry. I've been a long-time G1000 user and an occasional GTN 750 user, so the touch-pad's soft interface seemed very intuitive and familiar. Radio frequencies can be typed or dialed in (when it might be a bit bumpy). Loading a flight plan through the keypads is pure GTN 750. The menu-driven logic is only slightly different than the G1000, but easy to figure out for anyone familiar with Garmin systems. The aircraft preflight items couldn't be simpler. There's an "initialization" page with a number of test items that replace the physical "rotary test" in the Mustang. Simply work through the items one at a time and press "accept initialization" at the end of the process, and you're ready for start. Alex explained that full takeoff and landing performance data will be available in a future software release, so this time, we computed our V-speeds using the book. Today, V1 would be 104 knots and Vr would be 105 knots.

The G3000 does incorporate a few really nice features that will be new for G1000 users. First, all of the PFD and MFD screens can be split. It's easy to set up the pilot's PFD with onboard radar showing on one side and the flight data on the other. The copilot can be looking at a chart next to flight data. With four configurable sub-screens, you can view anything and everything you might need—all at the same time! It's even capable of playing video, which, once certified opens doors for future features such as EVS—just don't even think about watching a movie! The good news is that SiriusXM Radio is available in the cockpit; a feature I consider a must for staying entertained and alert on long solo flights.

Speaking of onboard radar, the new GWX-70 onboard radar is fantastic! It still has a 12-inch dish, but the display now overlays the normal map page. That means that returns can be superimposed on terrain data, which makes it trivial to separate ground returns from weather. During our flight, we scanned a mountainous area, and it was amazing to see just which peaks we were painting. You're done guessing about ground returns like you have to do on the G1000.

Another eagerly anticipated feature in the G3000 is user-defined holds. This has long been a standard feature of more advanced FMS-driven navigators, and Garmin has finally caught up. The interface is simple and easy to use. With a little practice, it's possible to enter a hold almost as fast as a controller can give it to you.

Vertical navigation capabilities have been improved, as well. The G1000 does a pretty good job with arrivals and approaches, but the G3000 will also manage the climb profile on a SID. Simply navigate the SID, manage the power, and the G3000 will handle the crossing altitudes and set target speeds through the FLC and VNAV features on the GFC 700 autopilot. Mustang pilots are used to manually setting climb speeds for changing flight levels. The G3000 simplifies the process even further. When you take off, the system knows where you are and sets your FLC speed below 200 knots. As you climb out of the terminal area, FLC resets to the normal climb speed of 220 knots. Around FL 250, the system automatically switches to a constant Mach climb speed of 0.54M. When you descend below 10,000 feet, the system resets the FLC speed to 250 knots and slows to below 200 again in the terminal area. This is a nice feature for single pilots—particularly when things get busy. You can also dial in a standby altimeter value when you pick up the local setting. As you descend through FL 180, you just press the "Baro" knob to activate the standby setting. It's so intuitive that you have to wonder why it wasn't done this way in the first place! Finally, pressurization control is now fully automatic using the flight plan destination. You don't set anything—zero, nada, zilch. Simply enter your flight plan, and you're done. Other than monitoring the cabin altitude, it's completely automatic. Only an unpressurized airplane is simpler.


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