Avionics News November 2015 - 36
Continued from page 35
the excursion increases, and if the aircraft
is not back within limits in 15 seconds, it
activates its auto level capability, which
pilots can also summon by pressing the
blue button on the autopilot's separate
control head. This system automatically
disables itself below 200 feet AGL.
Supporting this contribution to safety
is the G3X's display of the aircraft's glide
range and the nearest airport within it.
"Should a problem arise, the pilot can
engage the autopilot, set it for the best
glide speed, choose the nearest airport
with the best runway alignment with the
wind from the list provided, and then
troubleshoot the problem," Hupe said.
The migration of technology moves
back and forth between certified and
experimental products. The G3X Touch
is a good example. Garmin introduced the
system as the G300 on the Skycatcher,
Cessna's light sport aircraft.
A touchscreen was the next logical step
for the G3X. Screen size was one hurdle
in leveraging the existing touchscreen
technology. "We didn't have the big 10.6inch touchscreen, and it presented some
unique challenges," Hupe said. Most of
them centered on how the pilot would
interact with data fields on the display.
"Obviously, you don't want frequently
used touch features to interfere with the
primary flight information displayed in
the center of the screen, which is why
most of the data fields are at the top of the
screen," he said. Pilots can customize the
screens to a degree, and if they are more
comfortable with a steam-gauge six-pack,
they can have one displayed on their primary flight display.
Mechanical considerations such as
knob and button locations and functions
were also important. Some pilots think
touchscreens are not usable in flight,
especially in turbulence, because "they
don't provide the warm, fuzzy security of
hanging on a knob, but you can accomplish that if there is a place where pilots
can stabilize their hands without having
to make a big, long reach," Hupe said.
With Garmin's vast library of proven
technology to draw from, deciding what
capabilities to incorporate in experimental products is another challenge.
Engineers propose those they would
like to have in their homebuilt aircraft,
and homebuilders suggest others dur-
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