Plane & Pilot
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Switching To Glass

Take the plunge! Here are some remarkable tips for transitioning to the new cockpits.

Switching To Glass It has finally happened. While waiting for you to land one day, your significant other saw the advertisement for the new glass-cockpit rental airplane, looked it over and now wants a flight in it. “It’s so much cleaner than those old airplanes you always fly.” Those words stung. “Why can’t we fly the new one?” That didn’t sting. After some serious negotiating on the flying budget—the new airplane wasn’t your idea—you’re off to your first glass-cockpit transition lesson. Ensuring your significant other was at the airport on the day of the flight school’s glass-cockpit open house was a grand idea. Reading this article before the first lesson is another. These FAQs will make your first glass-cockpit flight go much more smoothly.

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Where Is The GPS?
The GPS controls are built into the displays of the Garmin G1000 system. The chapters and pages are fully available through the MFD, and a small set of functions are available in the PFD. The Avidyne FlightMax Entegra system keeps the GPS separate. The GPS can be found as a moving-map display somewhere around the center stack of avionics either in the center of the PFD and MFD, or under the displays.

Where Are The Tips?
Here are some tips that will make flying the glass cockpit much easier:

TIP 1 Fly the airplane. When all else fails, fly it until the last piece stops moving. If the electronics misbehave, let them do whatever they want for a while and just concentrate on flying the airplane.

TIP 2 Avoid distractions. A fundamental glass-cockpit skill is division of attention. The pilot must still aviate, navigate and communicate, in that order. Divide glass-cockpit programming into three-second bites. Program for three seconds, check the flight instruments, then program for another three seconds.

TIP 3 Know your knobs. Read the label around the knob before twisting it. Read the button label before pressing the button. Ask yourself if this is the correct knob or button, then try it. If you pushed the wrong knob, first turn the wrong knob back to where it was, then turn the correct knob. If you hit the wrong button, or type in the wrong identifier or the box simply doesn’t do what you want, start over. Hold the CLR button down for two to three seconds on the Garmin G1000 and GNS 430 boxes, which returns you to page one of the navigation chapter, where you can start again.


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