The secret, as you might have already guessed, is that Garmin developed the G5 as part of its product lineup for amateur-built aircraft. The instrument can be used to take the place of the factory-installed electromechanical instrument in hundreds of airplane models under a multiple aircraft list.
Part of the magic of the G5 is that Garmin designed it to be installed in a certified airplane by a professional shop—no DYI’ers, in this case—in a matter of an hour or less. To underscore this fact, Garmin ran a video of the instrument being installed by one technician in a vintage Grumman American single. Because there’s no panel cutting involved, the avionics tech was able to simply remove the old instrument and plug in and button up the new one.
The Garmin G5 is a multifunction instrument, but its certification status is unusual, to say the least. The attitude indicator, said Jim Alpiser, head of aviation aftermarket sales at Garmin, is the certificated part, and the other elements—airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and skid/slip—aren’t technically certificated as part of the instrument. Neither are they, said Alpiser, prohibited from being in the panel. They are, in a sense, value-added data, though they’re not to be used as a primary reference.
The Garmin G5 follows on Dynon’s introduction of an FAA-approved attitude instrument at Sun ‘n Fun earlier this year. Like the Garmin G5, the Dynon instrument, the EFIS D10A, was developed from a product for the Experimental market. Dynon has not yet begun delivering the product, but announced at AirVenture that the STC, to be sold by EAA at “a nominal cost,” was to be available soon.
Garmin says the G5 will begin shipping in September.