By Bob Hart
More than once in my articles, I have mentioned that we are in the “EFIS” period. In 2000, it was GPS. Multi-function displays came a few years later. Electronic flight instrument systems (EFIS) entered GA in 2004 with the G1000 OEM options and in the aftermarket with the G500 in 2009. It’s exploded in the last few years, especially with solid-state options designed and certified to replace your standard, vacuum horizon, always a good idea when IFR is planned. Until now, if your standard vacuum horizon was also the sensor for your legacy autopilot, replacing it with a solid-state, air data and attitude/heading reference system (ADAHRS) electronic option was not available but replacing your suspect, mechanical vacuum autopilot AI with a modern EFIS unit is now possible on some legacy autopilot models.
The Dynon D10A ($2,200) was the first solid-state attitude indicator upgrade to reach certification and, consistent with Dynon’s experimental/light-sport pricing, it was very affordable. Garmin followed in 2016 with the G5 ($2,150) for AI and directional gyro/horizontal situation indicator ($3,000) and has essentially set the standard, competing hard on price with Dynon and for features with Aspen in the primary flight display category. I don’t think the G5 AI would have been priced where it is if Dynon was not also a player. This shows that competition is a good thing! We won’t talk about Aspen here — we will focus on the new GI 275 electronic flight instruments. But first, let’s briefly visit the features of the Garmin G5 and the Dynon D10A to establish a baseline and then highlight the new benefits found in the latest electronic flight instruments from Garmin.
Dynon D10A and Garmin G5 common features
Both the D10A and G5 offer primary attitude and allow you to replace your existing vacuum horizon, but the instruments also show you airspeed, altitude, turn rate, slip/skid, barometric setting, GPS track, and a few other features in a supplemental role. The information is there in front of you, but the original instruments must remain. Dynon gives you an up/down timer, G-meter, and volts. Garmin adds vertical speed reference and shows selected altitude. The D10A DG/HSI is not included in the STC so replacing your vacuum DG/HSI is not a Dynon option. The Garmin G5 DG/HSI is certified to replace your existing unit, which opens the door to removing your vacuum pump and associated plumbing and creates the ADAHRS foundation for the GFC 500 autopilot.
Garmin GI 275 electronic flight instruments
While the G5s were introduced in 2016, it is safe to say the majority have been installed in the last 18 months during the big avionics “push” of 2019 (thanks to ADS-B), so if you just upgraded to G5s, you may have been less than excited to see the announcement of their new GI 275 series. As I stated before, Garmin is moving fast on technology. The good news is that Garmin will be there to support the G5s for a long time.This article can be seen only by paid members who are logged in.
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