Tom Horne

Looking beyond Garmin

April 10, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

Sun ‘n Fun has been dominated by all manner of announcements about Garmin’s new synthetic vision system. It’s being installed on TBM850s, all Cessna pistons, Diamonds, you name it. Golf carts will be next. Guess no one noticed that Honeywell Bendix/King’s new Apex glass cockpit has just been certified in the Pilatus PC-12. The new PC-12NG (next generation) is the launch airplane for this long-awaited avionics suite, and serial number 100–the first of the batch–is on display here. What’s the new cockpit look like?

Pilatus PC-12

A lot cleaner than the previous offerings, with four giant LCDs (one PFD and two MFDs are standard) and a complete redesign of the overhead panel. The start sequence is new, too. Just turn on the battery switch, then hit the starter. The rest of the start sequence, including the avionics power-up, is automatic. There are dedicated pushbuttons for calling up the nav display’s bearing pointers/CDI needles. To me, this sure beats tapping away at a single bearing selector switch until you get the nav display you want–as in other brands.

With 780 airplanes delivered, the PC-12 is the world’s best-selling turbine airplane. The new, average-equipped NG model will go for $4 million. Big money in troubled economic times. But the orders keep rolling in, says Pilatus’ Mike Haenggi.


One Response to “Looking beyond Garmin”

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