Last night at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Reno, Nevada, Garmin shook up the avionics world with the introduction of two new panel-mount navigators, the huge Garmin 750 and the smaller but similarly capable Garmin 650. The two navigators are touch screen devices that do everything the GNS 430 and 530 do and more … and better. New features include control of a remote audio panel (750 only) and remote transponder. But the big news is the interface, which is radically different from what we longtime users of Garmin navigators are used to. Flying tried out the navigators weeks ago at Garmin's Olathe, Kansas, facility, and we loved what we saw.
The displays are bright, super sharp LEDs with faster processors and a remarkably intuitive and user friendly interface. Flight planning, which can be done with drag and drop simplicity, includes automatic airway routing with prompting. A complex flight airways flight plan can be reduced to a few touches.
The two new navigators have much larger displays than the units they are replacing. The 750 in particular takes up the space of approximately a 430 and a 530 combined and becomes, in essence, a panel-mount MFD with built in comm and nav, GPS receiver, moving map, as well as the ability to interface with traffic, satellite weather and other devices, most of which are capabilities the smaller GTN 650 shares. Prices are attractive, too. The GTN 650 sells for $11,495, and the larger GTN 750 goes for $16,995.
Honeywell, meanwhile, announced at the AEA convention that the long-awaited Bendix/King KSN 770 GPS navigator will have a touch screen as well. In an interesting twist, Honeywell is enlisting Aspen Avionics to wrap up the development and certification effort on the product, which is expected to hit the market by the end of the year.
Click here to see the Garmin units in action.