Fly by Touch

We fly Garmin’s new panel-mount touch-screen navigators. Here’s why one flight will make you want one. Or two.

Both the GTN 650 and the GTN 750 feature a menu screen, which serves as a kind of home base for navigating the system. Any time you’re not sure where to turn, simply hit the home button once and you get the menu, where it’s easy to find the next function. The smaller 650 has a down arrow to access more icons. The 750 is large enough to show them all on a single page, at least for now.
As you can see, on the GTN 650, you always have immediate access to the comm and nav, menu, range and transponder, if the navigator is paired with a remote transponder. As shown here, when you’re on the ground, the display automatically cycles to Garmin’s SafeTaxi utility for taxi awareness. The red circles indicate “hot spots,” areas where runway incursions are at higher risk.
The much sharper and brighter displays give Garmin the ability to show more data more clearly, as with this tack-sharp terrain depiction. Waypoints, airports and other icons are clearly shown and easily distinguishable, which was not always the case on the GNS 430. There’s also a reminder on the lower right that, in order to switch to nav frequencies, you just need to push the center knob once.
The GTN 750 will superimpose an approach chart onto the moving map, orienting it to fit. Note how the terrain features on the chart match up to those on the moving map, so the pilot doesn’t have to do any mental gymnastics to figure out that a north-up approach chart relates to a track-up map display.
The box is a perfect companion for TAWS. Note how this 750 is outfitted with remote transponder and audio panel. This larger model can also display both the nav and comm frequencies. To control the audio panel, simply touch the button and a new, graphical audio-panel control screen appears.
One of the areas in which the GTN boxes excel is the panning and zooming of map displays, thanks to much faster processors.
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