IFR training. G1000 or classic nav/com?

Philip Greenspun's Homepage : Philip Greenspun's Homepage Discussion Forums : Aviation : One Thread
Notify me of new responses
Im about to start IFR training. Im doing the accelerated instrument course from PIC. I usually
fly a C182 with a G1000 but I dont own an aircraft and I dont know what Ill be flying in the
future. Should I take my training in a G1000 aircraft or the classic nav/com. Seems like the
nav is harder and would make more skillful? Opinions? Experience?

-- Martin Antranik, June 6, 2011


If you already have a lot of C182/G1000 experience I think it makes the most sense to do your instrument rating in that. If you're going to fly real-world IMC the glass cockpit aircraft are much nicer, especially single-pilot. A "classic 6-pack" airplane usually has just one attitude indicator and that isn't very comforting when in the clouds. A glass cockpit aircraft will have at least two (the PFD and a backup mechanical gyro).

-- Philip Greenspun, June 7, 2011

I don't think the 6-pack is necessarily harder. They both have their own challenges. The HSI of the G1000 provides both a VOR (the course deviation indicator) and an RMI (outside the circle of the course deviation indicator). You have the same equipment in both aircraft, although the DME and ADF in most G1000 aircraft are using GPS to simulate these values.

Certainly, the G1000 provides more overall situation awareness, especially with the MFD showing the approach. You can dim it (or cover it) for training.

If you want the G1000 VOR to look like a traditional VOR, just look at it as if the direction of the course pointer is pointing up.

I think it is misleading to think the G1000 is easier. You can make many mistakes in a glass cockpit because at first it can seem so easy.

For example, there are parameters that must be met before the final approach fix (FAF) for the G1000 to begin the approach. If you are too far off course (and I have had this happen in very windy and turbulent conditions), the G1000 will not switch to the approach and you cannot enable it after the FAF. You need to know what to do.

What does it mean if LPV does not come up on a GPS approach? Why does that happen?

What happens in an AHRS failure? What about an ADC failure? What is the ADC? What is the AHRS? Do you lose your autopilot?

There was an accident a few years ago where I live when a pilot called off one approach and then wanted to repeat the approach. He was on autopilot, and he reselected the approach and activated it.

The autopilot can be deceptively simple, but it is a powerful and complex system. Just like you need to know your aircraft systems, you need to know your G1000. It is just another system and failure to understand it well can lead to bad results, especially in IMC.

When the pilot activated the approach, the GPS goes direct to the IAF. But the pilot hadn't completed the missed approach. The autopilot flew the aircraft from somewhere near the runway direct back to the IAF and, unfortunately, directly into a mountainside.


-- Todd Ramming, June 7, 2011

I agree use the G1000 if that is what you will use in the real world. There are a lot of "tricks" or procedures to setup the G1000 for your flight beyond the basic instruments.

For example on an IFR departure:

On the ground setup FLC for the climb out speed. Load your home airport first in flight plan and the approach currently in use. That way if something happens on the climb out, hit the AP button, and begin to fly the approach you've pre-loaded to return. Easier than fumbling around with charts while trying to fly the plane in IMC if you need to make a quick return.

Also, if any terrain is in the area make sure its up on the MFD before departing. (Todd's example)

Etc, etc, etc.

There are a lot of people that can complete a flight in a G1000 aircraft, but few that are really good with it. I would take the opportunity to learn it as well as you can during training. You can always learn the 6 pack later if you end up buying an aircraft with that setup. Of course it's hard to go back once you're used to the G1000 (you get addicted to the situational awareness).

Good luck.

-- Alex Baker, June 8, 2011