Questions about Garmin GNS 530 and Collision Warnings

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I am not a pilot. I lost my family in a crash a few years ago(2003) and now I am just trying
to make sense of this whole thing.
This aircraft was equipped with the Garmin GNS 530. The aircraft crashed into the side of
a mountain. The weather was bad. I think something like 400' ceilings. So, this was an
instrument appraoch. The pilot was experienced and the aircraft was a good one. A twin
engine cessna.
I have read the article Mr. Greenspun wrote and the pilot was not accustomed to flying
crappy planes. Although I am sure he had at some point during his life as a pilot.

Without going into all the details and eveything that I don't know, my question is this:
Shouldn't an instrument that is being relied upon during a flight do everything it can to
warn a pilot when he is about to crash into the side of amountain?

Should that instrument sound some alarm and flash some big red letters to warn on
impending death?

I should also point out that I know nothing about GPS or Garmin.

Any help would be greatly apprecitaed.

-- Allison Templeton, November 9, 2007


Allison. Sorry for your loss. Garmin did finally add a terrain warning system to the Garmin 530, though it is not as sophisticated as the terrain warning systems that have saved a lot of lives in airliners. I believe that the terrain option came out in late 2005, after your family's crash. Even with that, the information is in the wrong place (not on top of the attitude indicator, or artificial horizon, which is where a pilot in the clouds tends to concentrate). If you're in the clouds, what you really want is something like the Microsoft Flight Simulator synthetic view of the world. Only one or two companies, notably Chelton, have managed to produce this for airplanes. Chelton's competitors seem to be requiring many years to catch up.

-- Philip Greenspun, November 30, 2007

Hi Allison...

I sincere sympathies for your loss. Although I have never lost anyone in a crash(knock on wood)...I personally have crashed 3 times(be it in an experimental plane).

I am not a huge fan of Garmin products. Although the Garmin 1000 is interesting device. The Avidyne and Chelton products seem to be better build products(NASA uses Chelton).

Have your read Philip's article:


-- Fred John, November 10, 2007

Yes, I have read it. Or rather, tried to read it. It was actually sourced in a document I received. Since I'm not a pilot, it is a bit difficult for me to understand. But, it was helpful to a point. I'm just curoius why Garmin didn't put some sort of terrain warning system or collision warning system on this device. I could be totally off base here, but you can't buy a car without brakes. Even if you buy the cheapest car ever made, it still has brakes, right? So, why does it seem that Garmin made safety an option?

-- Allison Templeton, November 11, 2007

Question, did the aircraft have TAWS-B or just the terraine info? there is a big differance. Just remember the PILOT is to remain clear of terraine and can not use TAWS or terraine info for clearance from the ground, the TAWS is there for situation awairness and not to be the only referance for terraine avoidence. if the plane was close to the airport TAWS limits its warnings when on approach.

-- john jones, November 30, 2007

All safety devices for avionics are a option on piston planes with 6 people or less

-- john jones, November 30, 2007

Now that I read your post better Garmin did not have any terraine avoidence avionics back then in that year,

-- john jones, November 30, 2007