You have just received the keys of your shiny new (to you) airplane complete with a beautiful Garmin G1000 glass panel flight deck. Synthetic Vision, WAAS, and ADS-B are all installed. You are ready to cruise in high technology.
You turn on the PFD and MFD and notice one problem. All your databases are expired. No big deal, right? Your Garmin 530W was easy as pie to update with it’s single data card.
You start looking around and can’t find the data card. Then you notice that there are several SD cards in slots on the panels. SD cards won’t fit in your Blue Jepp Skybound card reader. Confusion sets in which quickly leads to full on panic.
What have you gotten yourself into?!
No need to fear, Texas Top Aviation is here to help with your Garmin G1000 database update confusion (and hopefully not panic).
Database Update Providers
First, you have to choose who to get your Garmin G1000 updates from. You have two options. One is Garmin (fly.garmin.com; always use either Firefox or Chrome to update, don’t use Safari). The other is Jeppesen.
Honestly, there is no difference between the data that each provides. If you had a 530 or 430 before, you used Jepp already. Just keep the Jepp account, call them, and have them get you set up for your Garmin G1000 updates.
If you didn’t have a Jepp account before, I would use Garmin, for a couple of reasons. You get multiple downloads in case you mess something up (Jepp NavData gives 1 download per month, while Safe Taxi, etc. you get 2-3). On Jepp, you have to call in and have them reset the account, which can be a pain if it’s after hours or a Saturday or Sunday.
The other problem with Jepp is since Boeing bought Jeppesen, I have found it extremely difficult to find online where to set up a new account and purchase databases. Yes, you can always call, but, again, problematic after hours or on a weekend.
The only problem with Fly Garmin for your Garmin G1000 updates is Garmin is constantly updating their program. You have to update their downloader quite often, which can be a bit frustrating.
I’m going to use Fly Garmin as my example.
What to Buy
Garmin gives you a couple of different bundle options for your Garmin G1000 updates, the OnePak and the PilotPak. The main difference between the two is the PilotPak includes approach charts that display on your PFD and the OnePak doesn’t. Therefore, the OnePak is about $200 cheaper.
Both include Navigation Data, SafeTaxi, Obstacles, Airport Directory, Terrain, and the BaseMap.
How to Update
Once you have followed all the instructions on Garmin’s website (or gotten Jeppesen set up), here is what to put on which SD card.
NOTE: YOU WILL NEED TO PURCHASE ONE OR TWO BLANK SD CARDS FOR THE NAVIGATION DATABASES. DO NOT PUT THE NAVIGATION DATA ON THE SD CARD THAT IS ALREADY IN THE TOP SLOT ON THE MFD. THAT IS FOR ENGINE DATA LOGGING ONLY. NO NAVIGATION DATA SHOULD EVER BE PUT THAT ON THAT CARD.
Bottom Card, PFD
Bottom Card, MFD
- Airport Directory
- Flite Charts
Top Card, PFD & MFD (This is the new blank SD card(s) you bought)
NOTE: REMOVE THE TOP SD CARD IN THE MFD THAT IS ALREADY IN THE SLOT AND DON’T PUT ANY DATABASE INFORMATION ON IT.
- Navigation Data
Garmin G1000 NXi Users (or Cirrus Perspective + Users)
Ignore everything above and put all databases on the bottom card of the MFD. You have database sync, so you don’t have to mess with multiple cards. When you do an update though, go to the AUX chapter on the MFD and scroll down to the Databases page. Ensure that all dates match what you just put on the SD Card.
For you Jeppesen users, check out the new Bad Elf Wombat updater that works with the iPad JDM app for updates.