Al Marsh

Garmin G500 keeps it simple

August 17, 2009 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

While in Canada at the Diamond Aircraft factory I got a short flight in a two-seater DA20 equippd with the Garmin G500 glass cockpit. The G500 is a stripped down PFD/MFD (meaning $16,000 retail or $10,000 as Diamond has it set up) but you can load it up with options including synthetic vision and traffic advisories. Yes, it does weather. Garmin kept it simple.

The G500′s simplicity is most noticeable on the lower left corner of the primary flight display. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Located there is the familiar inner and outer knob combination used on so many Garmin displays, but above it are five buttons. Push one of them, and that determines the function of the knobs. If you push the BARO key, then the knobs will only set altimeter settings. There are soft keys along the bottom, but mercifully most of them are blank. Move over to the multifunction display and start wandering through “chapters” of information. Again it’s simplified; most of the chapters have two pages, three at the most.

You’ll find the G500 only on smaller certified aircraft, light sport aircraft, and even Experimental aircraft. The DA20 cockpit is much more comfortable now that the instrument panel has been inclined forward, and the stick has been moved forward as well. The new seats are amazing. You can be 30 pounds overweight like me and still keep your dignity.

For $185,000 you can get a DA20 with the G500 plus, for a limited time only, a free upgrade to the Garmin 430 (an upgrade from the GNS 420 that provides data to the G500 display) and free synthetic vision. Not going with glass? A straight analog ready-to-go DA20 is $175,000. You can also get one with an Aspen primary flight display. Learn more about the G500 and other new systems here.And here is a short video I made at Oshkosh on the G500/600.

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2 Responses to “Garmin G500 keeps it simple”

  1. Cockpit Video Producer Says:

    Such incredible contrast with the standard T-type steam gauge instrument panels. Wish they could install that in a 152!

  2. stuart goldhawk Says:

    I didnt realise that these things were that expensive. But when you think what they can do they are cheap at the price. I was told that the Boeing 737 altimeters cost new was $23,000 new, But this guage may save your life .

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