GNS 430 vs GNS480

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Hello, I have read many of the responses about the 430/530 and it
sounds like Mr. Greenspun's is not really a fan of them. We have a
Vans rv-6 and are upgrading it to an IFR plane to get our instrument
rating in and to fly. I thought we were set on the 430, but now I'm
thinking the GNS 480. It sounds like a better unit? Do you think
it is and do you think they will terminate the unit in a few years.
We need and audio panel with markers, Im thinking the (Garmin 340)
and the 430 or GNS 480? The price is not that much more for the
gns480. Thanks

-- cary cumberland, February 15, 2006


The 430 is pretty ancient by now (1998). The processor is slow and it doesn't do most of the good things that the 480 does (victor airways, WAAS precision GPS approaches). The 430 has the advantage that it prepares you to fly other airplanes because so many of them have 430s and it is also reasonably good preparation for the G1000, which seems to have been programmed with the same philosophy. The 480 is designed to be paired with the MX20 and therefore I think it doesn't have some of the useful VFR stuff that the 430 will eventually have when it is upgraded, e.g., terrain, and a good database of roads and bodies of water.

-- Philip Greenspun, February 15, 2006

I have a GNS480/MX20 combination in my (new to me) Mooney, and have flown about 10 hours in a Cirrus with the GNS430. The 480 takes more time to learn, although both require both time and use of the simulators. Part of the problem is that the 480 simulator is poorer than the 430/530. The 480 manual is also poor.

Now that both have WAAS (late 2007), the 480 doesn't have that advantage. It still has vector airways, which makes programming easier. The biggest problem I have had is the MX20, which I have found to be unreliable. The MX20 displays weather, terrain, and traffic, and fails frequently. The GNX200 users I have talked to say that this "blue screen of death" problem is still there with the new unit. The 480 has never had a problem.

-- Ed Owens, December 19, 2007