Garmin Aviation has debuted its latest weather radar system, the GWX 8000 StormOptix, with the aim to reduce pilot workload further during the demanding periods in flight when they must negotiate severe weather aloft. The system, which is directed first as a replacement unit for the radar systems integrated with the Garmin G5000 flight deck, automates much of the manual adjustment and ground clutter suppression pilots must manage with traditional onboard weather radar.
Additionally, Garmin dubs the automated process “extensive weather threat analysis” providing 3D volumetric scanning, hail and lightning prediction, and optional predictive wind shear detection in a high-definition, 16-color presentation on the display. From five years of testing, Garmin reports that the StormOptix function performed well through challenging detection conditions including stratiform rain (generally occurring when one large-scale airmass overruns another), light rain, severe thunderstorms, hail, lightning, and wind-shear events. A turbulence detection function also assists the pilot with maintaining passenger (and personal) comfort by looking ahead for those returns that indicate bigger bumps ahead.
The lightweight unit (12.9 lbs for the 14-inch-diamter-antenna version) is targeted for high-performance Part 23 and Part 25 aircraft, and comes in a range of antenna sizes (10, 12, 14, and 18 inches). The GWX 8000 ships first to a handful of G5000 platforms in the second quarter of 2021, with further compatibility to more Garmin flight decks to follow.
“We are excited and proud to offer owners and operators an advanced weather radar solution that provides a comprehensive and clear depiction of weather with virtually no effort from the pilot,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “The StormOptix weather radar can go beyond many popular weather radar systems by leveraging its autoscan technology to display severe storm cells in unparalleled detail in addition to depicting storms which may contain wind shear, turbulence, as well as lightning and hail prediction. With these advanced technologies, pilots can reduce workload while making timely decisions to more confidently navigate around significant weather.”