Garmin Introduces G3X, G500, Updates Other Glass

...and better yet, we've already flown the G3X!

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Garmin  G3XGarmin International pulled the wraps off its G3X EFIS Monday, in a press conference overflowing with announcements for all of general aviation, including an updated G600 with synthetic vision, a new twin-screen G500 that might be called a G600 Lite intended for certified singles and twins starting at $15,995, and a new series of traffic-collision devices under the GTS moniker, starting at $9995.

For homebuilders, the G3X is the big news. Based on the GDU 370/375 panel-mount multifunction displays (themselves similar in layout and design to the GPSMAP 696), the G3X is a modular EFIS/engine monitor. All systems begin with a 7-inch-diagonal portrait display and can be scaled up to work with two or three screens and a great variety of plug-in options.

To make the G3X, Garmin took the GDU panel display and added the GSU 73 ADAHRS module. In fact, its more than just a set of accelerometers and pitot/static sensors: The GSU 73 is also the hub of the systems engine monitoring capabilities. The G3X also makes use of a remote-mount magnetometer and OAT probe.

In the single-screen guise, the G3X carries full primary flight display capabilities along with a detailed moving map, optional XM weather, a terrain database and full airport information. And while the G3X system carries an internal GPS, it is not TSOd and so cannot be used as a sole-means IFR navigator without an external TSOd GPS.

As one of the launch customers of the G3X, I made the flight to Oshkosh with an early example of the single-screen system. It truly can be considered a budget G1000 (without the synthetic vision) with many of the features a 696 owner would find familiar. The XM weather more than paid for itself dodging boomers from California, and the installation was about as pain-free as any retrofit of this magnitude can be. Currently, the G3X does not fully exploit all of its Arinc 429 data bus capabilities, but thats coming, says Garmin. In time, the G3X will be able to receive and display both external GPS and VOR/LOC navigation information from the 400- and 500-series Garmins, and will output an Arinc 429 signal to drive autopilots capable of GPS Steering and GPS Vertical nav modes. Well have a full discussion of the installation and a more thorough analysis of the systems capabilities in the November issue of KITPLANES.

The G3X in the panel of the author’s GlaStar Sportsman.

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Price? A single-screen G3X system starts at $9,995, or $10,695 with XM weather hardware. A dual-screen system including XM runs $14,995. Additional GDUs are $3,295. Probes for the engine-monitoring components will be extra, and their cost will depend on the application.

Customers in this market segment are unique because their aircraft are often custom-made, said Gary Kelley, Garmins vice president of marketing. Customers can adapt the G3X system so it suits whatever is needed for their plane, and since its a Garmin, it has the ease of use, quality and reliability pilots know and expect. The G3X brings tried, tested and proven G1000-like features to the LSA and Experimental aircraft markets for a fraction of the cost.

For more information, contact Garmin.

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KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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