OSHKOSH 2009: Piper to offer Garmin G600 glass cockpit

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Garmin has added synthetic vision technology to the G600 and Piper Aircraft has selected the newly upgraded glass avionics suite for four of its piston models - the Seminole, Warrior, Archer and Seneca.

Garmin announced at EAA AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh two enhancements for the G600, which was initially certified last year. Garmin says synthetic vision and the GAD 43 adapter, which provides autopilot attitude reference, will now be offered as standard features on the G600.

Piper Aircraft vice-president sales Bob Kromer says the addition of synthetic vision "was a game changer for us" and persuaded the manufacturer to offer the G600 as an option on the single-engine Warrior and twin-engine Seminole and Seneca V from 2010. It will also be offered as standard equipment on the Archer.

Piper earlier this year said it was not producing any Archers in 2009 due to a lack of demand. But it announced at AirVenture it would again produce Archers in 2010 and offer the G600 as standard equipment on the aircraft. Piper says the "reintroduced" Archer, priced at about $300,000, will also feature the STEC-55X autopilot, Nexrad weather, air conditioning and leather seats as standard equipment.

Kromer says the G600 should in particular help boost sales for the Seminole and Warrior trainers as flight schools typically prefer Garmin products. Kromer says this year Piper plans to produce 25 Seminoles but this will increase significantly in 2010 due to the introduction of the G600.

"Next year will be a big year for us - for the Seminole and Warrior and we think for the Archer as well," Kromer says.

Earlier this year Piper said it was only planning to produce about 10 Seminoles and Warriors in 2009 but sales to flight schools have since picked up. "The Seminole and Warrior is making a comeback in the flight school industry. They take a pounding and keep on flying," Kromer says.