Garmin plugs gap between G900 and G1000 glass cockpits

An anticipated glass cockpit with no autopilot debuted last week on Quartz Mountain Aerospace's 11E four-seat piston, and Garmin expects its new G950 to be welcomed by other manufacturers as a step between the G900X and G1000.

"The G900X is designed for non-certified kit-built planes," says Gary Kelley, Garmin's vice-president of marketing. "Since the G950 isn't customisable and doesn't include the GFC 700 autopilot, OEMs will also have the benefit of a streamlined certification process."

Ryan Deck, Garmin's account manager for the G950, says OEMs will shoulder the burden of certification, but that many were asking for this option to stay competitive. "There's no comparison when you have steam gauges against a G1000 class," he says. The new system is only available to OEMs for new aircraft. Deck expects 530 COM/NAV customers to seek the G950, and manufacturers can choose between a two or three-display G950 system.

Quartz Mountain Aerospace is the first to select the G950. Certification of the new system is expected on September 1 on an airframe that had its first delivery in February. The $200,000 4-seat 11E relies on Aspen Avionics as its back-up system.

Both Cessna and Diamond Aircraft are looking to Garmin's G1000 Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) as the next step in situational awareness. SVT displays the aircraft's position on an enhanced topographical database, using the combination of synthetic terrain and terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) to help pilots identify hazards to their current flightpath with TAWS terrain alert colours.

"The technology is incredible," says Diamond president Peter Maurer. "But what is truly incredible is the price. Until now, synthetic vision of this quality was reserved for military or large jets." Diamond is now offering SVT on its DA40, while the Citation Mustang will be the first business jet to integrate Garmin's SVT. Cessna expects to offer SVT on the Caravan family and all Cessna single-engine piston aircraft in the future.

Cessna announced on 8 April that the FAA had certificated its Caravan models with Garmin's G1000 as standard equipment.