A huge advance
Almost as soon as it hit the market, the aviation community was unanimous that the Garmin G1000 represented the future of avionics, and the system soon established its pre-eminence in the GA world. It really did represent a huge advance in avionics and its latest iteration, the G1000 NXI continues this upward trajectory. Although it may look essentially the same as the original G1000, the NXI represents a quantum jump in performance. However, before continuing, it is important to remember that not all of the myriad features (such as animated NEXRAD datalink weather) work outside the US and Canada and, furthermore, some of the capabilities detailed here are not enabled in the Archer.
So, what is new with the NXI? We’ve already touched on the wireless connectivity and dual-core processor, but the NXI offers a great deal more. Along with Safetaxi diagrams of the airport and the Terminaltraffic system (which provides surveillance of Ads-b-equipped aircraft and vehicles operating within the airport environment) there is now Surfacewatch. This optional feature not only tells you if you’re lining up on the wrong runway (or taxiway) it also tells you if your chosen runway is too short for a safe takeoff or landing. It can even provide runway distanceremaining annunciations!
Other great facets (some optional) are the HSI mapping feature on the PFD primary flight display, and of course the
synthetic vision, geo-referenced VFR and IFR en route charts, ADS-B In and Out, TCAS I and TCAS II, electronic approach plates and previews of standard airport departure and arrival procedures. There’s a flight path marker which is displayed on the synthetic vision and shows the calculated effect of variables such as airspeed and wind on the aircraft’s trajectory across the ground, and colour-coded terrain-shading (green, yellow and red shows if your aircraft is 2,000, 1,000 and 100 feet above the surface). There’s even a vertical situation display (VSD) on the MFD which provides a geo-referenced profile view (it resembles the bottom portion of an approach plate) of your descent in relation to terrain surrounding the airport and your flight plan. And, of course, with WAAS Gps-based guidance from the autopilot, you can fly everything from coupled holding patterns to all kinds of precision and non-precision approaches. And at the end of a flight the built-in Flight Data Logger has automatically stored all critical flight and engine parameters on an SD card, which is invaluable for preventative maintenance.
I’ve always thought the G1000 to be a fantastic piece of kit, but the Nxi has taken the science of avionics to another level entirely. As with all things digital, you do need to sit down with the manual to get the best out of it, but it is reasonably intuitive due to the shallow menu structure. And, as you may have realised, it is extraordinarily powerful.