In June, a pair of airplane makers, Cessna and Diamond, earned certification for models equipped with the Garmin G1000 flat-panel avionics package. Cessna got the FAA okay for its 182T Skylane and Turbo 182T. Diamond, which had earlier earned European certification for its DA42 Twin Star, got FAA certification for its DA40 Diamond Star piston single. Both companies planned to begin deliveries immediately.
The new panels share much in common. Both include a pair of horizontally mounted 10.4-inch active-matrix LCDs with reversionary capability: If the PFD were to fail, the MFD would revert to a composite display of the primary flight instruments, along with navigation and other important information normally shown on the MFD.
There's a host of other capabilities. In addition to dual VHF communications and navigation radios (VOR and ILS receivers), the system incorporates a Mode S transponder with traffic information, WX-500 Stormscope lightning detection displayed on the PFD and MFD and datalinked XM satellite aviation weather (including Nexrad and more), along with XM Satellite Radio entertainment. Some XM services require a subscription.
FAA certification was great news for all three companies. Cessna dealers had ordered more than 300 of the G1000-equipped singles when Cessna announced the program at last October's National Business Aviation Association convention. Cessna says that it expects to sell more than 600 piston single-engine airplanes in 2004, and that 90 percent of the 182s it sells this year will be outfitted with the nominally optional G1000 panel.
When word of certification arrived, Diamond had 40 Diamond Stars ready to go out the door, all G1000 equipped.