What’s the most cost effective glass panel retrofit? There are several options out there (and it seems like more coming each Sun ‘N’ Fun or Osh Kosh event), but the consensus is the Aspen EFD 1000 or 1500, right? At $12,000 installed, it’s about $8,000-$10,000 cheaper than the Garmin G500 (though you can make the argument that when you add a second screen and SVT to the Aspen, the price is about the same).
I am here to blow your mind. What if you could get a glass panel retrofit that is a complete AHRS system with airspeed and altitude, plus a slaved HSI that auto slews to your GPS and a 4 hour backup battery so you can throw your steam attitude indicator away, for only $4,600, plus installation?
I am not crazy.
The Garmin G5 debuted last year when the FAA relaxed it’s regulations to allow more experimental avionics into certified airplanes. The single G5 was a big hit. The 3.5 inch screen fit nicely into the hole that the traditional attitude indicator left, giving pilots a glass attitude, airspeed and altimeter options for less than $2,500.
In March, Garmin brought out the HSI version of the G5. Equipped with a low cost magnetometer, the DG/HSI version is a complete replacement for the traditional DG/HSI. The unit also displays ground speed and distance (received from the GPS information), while auto-slewing to the GPS flight plan, so the CDI needle will move on it’s own, eliminating the annoying need for the pilot to set the course on the HSI (and ridding the GPS of the message that pops up reminding the pilot to set the course).
The dual units provide a complete backup Attitude in the case of a display failure. The reversionary mode you get with the Garmin G1000 and the Garmin G500 is also present in the dual G5s. This eliminates the need for a backup steam gauge attitude indicator, freeing up panel space for an engine monitor or some other toy. The G5 units can also be equipped with 4 hour backup batteries in case of electrical failure.
The price for the dual G5 setup is very reasonable at just under $4,600 plus installation (which, according to Garmin, should be pretty simple as the units act as plug and play instruments). The AHRS unit is available stand alone for under $2,200 while the DG/HSI unit standalone runs just under $2,600.
For more information, check out Garmin’s website.