Hello fellow aviators. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s crunch time for that special gift for your favorite pilot. I know it can be tough. Well, if that special pilot on your list is serious about their flying, then here’s an idea for you – replacing their worn-out mechanical instruments with new and much more reliable Garmin electronic instruments.
These lucky pilots not only benefit from great performance, they can also rid their aircraft of the trouble-prone vacuum system. Believe me; every aircraft owner would like that. Let’s face it; a vacuum pump failure is a matter of when not if. And it’s always at the worst possible time.
Garmin G5 EFIS displays
Over the last couple of years, one of our best-selling panel upgrade items has been the all-electronic Garmin G5. Available as both a replacement Attitude Direction Indicator (ADI) or Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI), the G5 is a relatively inexpensive certified replacement for the attitude indicator, directional gyro, or HSI.
As an added benefit, in many cases, it enables the removal of the vacuum system in the airplane – a true win/win for every aircraft owner.
While there’s a long list of positives, one of the G5’s few drawbacks is it cannot replace a vacuum-based attitude indicator for a legacy “Century, Piper Altimatic, or King KFC-series attitude-based” autopilots.
In most panels, we’ll install a dual G5 package and just relocate the original attitude indicator, so it continues to drive the autopilot. Every aircraft is different, and we’re here to help you find the best solution for your situation.
The do-it-all Garmin GI 275 electronic instruments.
As good as the G5 EFIS is, Garmin set out to make it better. So, about a year ago, they introduced their GI 275 electronic instrument system, which has generated a lot of “what’s the difference” questions.
While the G5 is a great ADI or HSI, the all-new GI 275 has many more functions, compatibilities, and features. The GI 275 is available as a moving map display with CDI, a primary flight display, an HSI, and even a certified replacement engine monitor.
The GI 275/PFD also has an option to add synthetic vision, which at first glance seems like a lot of stuff on a 3 1/8” display, but it works really, really well—especially on a precision approach. Add the GI 275/HSI under the PFD, and you have attitude, airspeed, altimeter, and VSI overlaid on synthetic vision, and then an HSI overlaid on a moving map. That’s an amazing amount of display capability and flexibility in your six-pack panel space.
Plus, the GI 275 has the convenience of a touchscreen interface. It’s pretty cool.
With regards to controlling legacy autopilots, there is a specific model GI 275/PFD that is a certified replacement for the attitude indicators driving Century, Piper Altimatic, and King KFC-series autopilots. So now you don’t have to keep the old vacuum attitude indicator. This capability has been really popular with aircraft owners with the various 70’s and 80’s model Piper aircraft, and also Beechcraft with the King KFC-200/250 autopilots.
Also, if you have legacy King, Cessna, Narco, or Collins Nav/Coms in your panel, the new Garmin GI 275 works perfectly with those systems for VOR/ILS navigation.
There is also a specific model of GI 275 that is a certified replacement for the existing analog engine gauges, so now you can remove those old unreliable “needles” and have everything on one 3 1/8” color GI 275/EIS display.
And the winner is?
There is about a $2,200 price spread between the basic dual G5 and dual GI 275 installation, but as I mentioned, there are add-ons to the GI 275 will increase that spread.
In my opinion – and it’s only my opinion – the dual G5 installation is ideal for aircraft that have one Garmin GPS/Nav/Com and either have no autopilot, or an S-TEC, or King KAP series autopilot, or also upgrading to a GFC 500 autopilot. I’ll talk about the amazing GFC 500 in a future blog.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to replace old mechanical instruments, remove your vacuum system, and have options like synthetic vision, it’s impossible to beat the array of features and value found in the new Garmin GI 275 series.
Bottom line is; feature-for-feature, you really can’t go wrong with either solution.
As we close out 2020 (whew!), all of us here at Pacific Coast Avionics thank you for your business, and we wish you a very a Merry Christmas, the best for the Holidays, a Happy New Year, and a healthy and prosperous 2021!
Until next year, keep looking up,