Aspen Series vs Garmin G5

Which one should I get? What’s the difference?

First the most obvious, Aspen screen size, the direct access buttons, knobs. The Aspen E5 is a NON TSO product based on the EFD Series TSO platform while the G5 started out as an “experimental” and now approved for certified aircraft.

The Aspen is capable of interfacing with older avionics utilizing composite signals and in a simpler installation using modern avionics and without an autopilot you don’t need any extra boxes. The G5 is a dual unit system, so the benefit is that even if one display goes black you still have ALL functions left in the other. You will need and external box that translates NAV signals to CAN bus signals that the G5 can understand.

G5 is plastic fantastic vs the Aspen aluminium casing but the G5 CAN bus makes the Garmin G5 versatile – 2 wire system interface with compatible equipment like the Garmin GFC500 autopilot. G5 and OAT will require a separate GAD29 OAT interface while the Aspen Avionics has both OAT and backup GPS built in the remote sensor module.  Aspen has a better “user experience” and SVT synthetic vision… so the answer which one to go for?

Garmin G3X Touch EFIS display now EASA certified.

In March 2019 Garmin announced that the Garmin G3X Touch system had received FAA approval in accordance with FAA STC SA01899WI that allows the non-TSO EFIS system to be installed in certified aircraft. Now more than one year later Garmin announced that the FAA STC finally has been validated by the EASA. The STC installation manual is about 500 pages and the basic installation manual  for non certified aircraft is close to 1000 pages suggesting that the installation of a G3X will require careful planning and that the installation cost will be significant as it will affect the whole instrument panel and most likely require a complete rework of all avionics. For aircraft not limited to VFR a Garmin G5 EFIS must be installed as a backup standby instrument adjacent to the G3X EFIS display.

For more information refer to:

Garmin GTN750Xi next generation COM/NAV/GPS

In 1997 we installed some top modern avionics like the Garmin GPS155 XL in this Saab MFI 15. Now 23 years later its time again (registered as experimental). This time a well needed “cleanup” behind the instrument panel and the installation of a Garmin GTN750Xi series COM/NAV/GPS with a Garmin Flight Stream 510 WiFi/Bluetooth module and remote audio panel / intercom / marker receiver Garmin GMA35c with Bluetooth capability. The VAC system was removed and the mechanical gyros were replaced for dual Garmin G5 Attitude and HSI indicators with a GAD29B ARINC adapter (required for interface with the GTN750Xi) and also GAD13 OAT module.

Garmin GPS175 (WAAS/LPV)

In 2019 Garmin announced the GPS175 (GPS), GNC355 (GPS/COM) and the GNX375 (GPS/XPDR ADS-B in/out). The EASA approval was completed in november 2019.  All units feature built in Bluetooth interface (two-way communication with the Garmin Pilot software), WAAS GPS with LPV (localizer performance vertical guidance) approaches. The user interface is very similar to the one found in the big brother Garmin GTN650/Xi series COM/NAV/GPS navigators.

The picture below shows a Cessna 172 that was upgraded with a Garmin GMA345 audiopanel with Bluetooth interface, Garmin GPS175, Garmin GNS430 COM/NAV/GPS, Garmin GTX330 Mode-S transponder. The installation was done in such way that it would be easy to upgrade the GNS430 to WAAS and the GTX330 to a GTX330 w/ES (ADS-B). The installation also includes Garmin G5 Attitude and HSI with GAD13 OAT module. We have prepared the aircraft with wiring for a Garmin GFC500 autopilot.  A “RAM” mount was installed in the copilots side to hold a portable device.

Garmin G500 TXi in a Seneca V

One of our most recent projects was the installation of a Garmin G500 TXi in a Seneca V.  The installation includes a Garmin G5 as a backup indicator, GAD43e apater unit that makes it possible to display DME data in the PFD, altitude preselect functions for the S-Tec 55 auto pilot and pitch/roll stabilization for the King weather radar that is interfaced to the Garmin GTN750. Flight director outputs from the S-Tec are connected to the PFD. A standard G500 TXi includes a GTP59 OAT probe and a GMU44 magnetometer (heading reference).  Jeppesen and Garmin databases are synced using the Garmin Flight Stream 510 (WiFi) and Garmin Pilot software installed on an Ipad.

Garmin GI275 digital indicator

The GI275 is available in 3 different versions. All indicators have capacitive touch screen with Bluetooth/WiFi. FAA certification and STC with AML (approved model list) is already completed and we are now waiting for EASA validation.

BASIC is used as a CDI or EIS (engine indication system). ADAHRS (air data attitude heading reference system) is used as a AI (attitude indicator) or HSI (horizontal situation indicator). ADAHRS + AP (autopilot)  is the same as the ADAHRS version but with outputs capable of driving a third party autopilot.

Depending on which version you choose additional accessories such as internal battery backup, OAT probe, magnetometer or engine adapter may be required.

The most recent software updates allow the GI275 to replace an existing VAC driven attitude gyro in an installation with a Century II/III autopilot.

For more information and detail click this link – click here


Next generation – Garmin GTN650Xi COM/NAV/GPS

The GTN650 was initially released in 2011 as a replacement for the GNS430/W series. 8th January 2020 Garmin made a press release announcing the next generation of the GTN series. Compared to the GTN650 the new GTN650Xi will have a dual core processor, slightly different front panel with the HOME and Direct To buttons grouped together and a new display with higher resolution pixel density (IPS display). The already existing GTN series STC’s are revised to include the new GTN Xi series part numbers.  EASA STC available as of 11 February 2020.

For full press release click here. For more information about the GTN Xi series click here.

Garmin GFC500 autopilot

Bring some new life to an older aircraft, is it possible?

Piper PA28 Series. Dual Garmin G5 EFIS attitude/HSI with OAT module connected to a Garmin GNS430W COM/NAV/GPS, installed a Garmin GNC255A COM/NAV2 and Garmin GFC500 autopilot with automatic pitch trim.

The GFC500 autopilot requires that a Garmin G5 system is installed and you will also need a compatible GPS navigator such as the GNS430W or GTN650/750.  The GAD13 OAT module is optional but recommended. The Garmin Flight Stream FS210 (GNS430W) or FS510 for the GTN Series adds bluetooth connectivity and makes it possible to do your flight planning using the Garmin Pilot software.

Garmin G5 EFIS and GFC500 for Piper PA28-181

Next up is the removal of existing VAC driven attitude/directional gyro, Century 21 autopilot and Piper original pitch trim system. Installation of Garmin G5 EFIS Attitude/HSI compass sytem and Garmin GFC500 pitch/roll with optional pitch trim. The new Garmin GSA28 servo has a brushless DC motor and an electronic slip clutch that is adjustable via the installation menu. For more information about the GFC500 autopilot click here: Garmin GFC500

Garmin G5, compassystem and attitude indicator.

In this particular case the VAC system and VAC attitude gyro remains installed (due to the Century IIB autopilot). Garmin GMA345 bluetooth enabled audio panel with intercom system, Garmin GTN650 COM/NAV/GPS with Garmin FlightStream FS510 WiFi/Bluetooth adapter that enables communication with an Ipad and the Garmin Pilot Software package, GNC255A COM/NAV as a backup and the Garmin GTX335 Mode-S transponder with ADS-B out. The owner plans to install the Garmin GFC500 autopilot but meanwhile he will be able to enjoy the GPSS function provided by the G5 adding new life to the old Century IIB autopilot.