The Garmin G1000 is an integrated flight instrument system manufactured by Garmin typically composed of two display units, one serving as a primary flight display, and one as a multi-function display. It serves as a replacement for most conventional flight instruments and avionics.
Beyond that, additional features are found on newer and larger G1000 installations, such as in business jets. This includes:
Depending on the airplane manufacturer and whether or not a GFC 700 autopilot is installed, the G1000 system will be comprised of either 2 GDU 1040 displays (no autopilot), a GDU 1040 PFD/GDU 1043 MFD (GFC 700 autopilot installed), or a GDU 1045 PFD/GDU 1045 MFD (GFC 700 autopilot installed with VNAV).
The GDU 1040 is the standard base bezel with no autopilot/flight director mode selection keys below the heading bug. The GDU 1043 has autopilot/flight director keys for all GFC 700 modes except VNAV. The GDU 1045 is essentially identical to the GDU 1043 except for the addition of an autopilot/flight director mode for VNAV. Depending on how the units are installed, an MFD failure may, or may not, have an impact on autopilot or flight director use. If a GDU 1040 is used as a PFD in an airplane equipped with a GFC 700 autopilot, a failure of the MFD (which houses the autopilot mode selection keys) will leave the autopilot engaged, but the modes cannot be changed because no autopilot keys are present on the PFD. But, if an MFD failure occurs in an airplane with the GFC 700 autopilot and either a GDU 1043 or a GDU 1045 bezel installed as a PFD, the pilot will have full use of the autopilot through the keys on the PFD.
Both the PFD and MFD each have two slots for SD memory cards. The top slot is used to update the Jeppesen aviation database every 28 days. The aviation database must be current to use GPS for navigation during IFR instrument approaches. The bottom slot houses the World terrain and Jeppesen obstacle databases. While terrain information rarely changes or needs to be updated, obstacle databases can be updated every 56 days through a subscription service. The top card can be removed from the G1000 system following an update, but the bottom card must stay in both the PFD and MFD to ensure accurate terrain awareness and TAWS-B information.
The primary flight display shows the basic flight instruments, such as the airspeed indicator, the altimeter, the heading indicator, and course deviation indicator. A small map called the "inset map" can be enabled in the corner. The buttons on the PFD are used to set the squawk code on the transponder. The PFD can also be used for entering and activating flight plans. The PFD also has a "reversionary mode" which is capable of displaying all information shown on the MFD (for example, engine gauges and navigational information). This capability is provided in case of an MFD failure.
The multi-function display typically shows a moving map on the right side, and engine instrumentation on the left. Most of the other screens in the G1000 system are accessed by turning the knob on the lower right corner of the unit. Screens available from the MFD other than the map include the setup menus, information about nearest airports and NAVAIDs, Mode S traffic reports, terrain awareness, XM radio, flight plan programming, and GPS RAIM prediction.
In normal operation, the display in front of the pilot is the PFD and will provide aircraft attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, heading, rate-of-turn, slip-and-skid, navigation, transponder, inset map view (containing map, traffic, and terrain information), and systems annunciation data. The second display, typically positioned to the right of the PFD, operates in MFD mode and provides engine instrumentation and a moving map display. The moving map can be replaced or overlaid by various other types of data, such as satellite weather, checklists, system information, waypoint information, weather sensor data, and traffic awareness information.
Both displays provide redundant information regarding communications and navigation radio frequency settings even though each display is usually only paired with one GIA Integrated Avionics Unit. In the event of a single display failure, the remaining display will adopt a combined "reversionary mode" and automatically become a PFD combined with engine instrumentation data and other functions of the MFD. A red button labeled "reversionary mode" or "display backup," located on the GMA audio panel, is also available to the pilot to select this mode manually if desired.
In addition, a secondary power source is required to power the G1000 instrumentation for a limited time in the event of a failure of the aircraft's alternator and primary battery.
There are some safety concerns with all glass cockpits, such as the failure of the primary flight displays (PFD). These concerns, however, are no more (and perhaps are less) significant than similar considerations with aircraft equipped with traditional instrumentation. The Garmin G1000 system offers a reversionary mode that will present all of the primary flight instrumentation on the remaining display. In addition, there are multiple GPS units, and electronic redundancy incorporated extensively throughout the design of the system. This built-in redundancy greatly improves safety over that of traditional instruments or single PFD systems.
There is a learning curve when transitioning to any technologically advanced cockpit and new users should focus on the differences in reading tape-style airspeed, altitude and vertical speed information.
Another important risk factor is the potential to spend too much time looking inside the cockpit managing the instrumentation, possibly increasing the chance of a collision with other aircraft, obstacles, or terrain. A flight instructor who is experienced with glass cockpits should help those transitioning to learn to balance the new workload. Once mastered, the richness of additional information available to the pilot makes a glass cockpit equipped aircraft arguably safer to fly, due to the surplus of available data and the manner in which it is presented.
One of the most effective resources for preparing for G1000 transition training include the Garmin simulator software In addition, some flight schools now have G1000 flight training devices (FTDs) that provide realistic simulation.
All of the most current Garmin G1000 Pilot's Guides are available in PDF format for free downloading from Garmin