Monday, April 30, 2007

G1000 vs. GNS430 / 530

When I started my G1000 training, which comprised both theory and practice, the first question was "Are you current with the GNS430 ?". Yes was definetly the answer. I had extensive training and knowledge of the 430, on which my instructor insited a lot.

The G1000 trainer then said that I would have trouble with the G1000. What a surprise, and a douche froide (cold shower). Later on, I understood it was true.

What I will write here after concerns only the flight planning part of the G1000 / GNS430, in terms of instruments they obviously have nothng in common.

The good Garmin philosophy is respected by the G1000, so you find the FPL, Direct, CLR, ENT, PROC buttons, and the MENU key. What is new is the series of "soft keys". This is a series of keys below the screen, with no marking on them. Their function differs according to the currently used menu, and this function is indicated on the screen.

This is the big change you will have to deal with as a 430 user. Typically, when you finished to fill your flight plan in a 430, what will you do ?

Menu -> Activate ? Correct. But if you do so on a G1000, you won't find an "activate" entry in the menu. So, what ? Look at the soft keys below the screen, and one of them is labelled "Activate". That's the big idea of softkeys: offer the most frequently used functions directly.

The same applies to the procedures. To select a departure, press the PROC button, then the softkeys will become "select dep", "select arr", and "select app". So press "select dep", then the list appears, and one of the soft keys become "activate", so once you finished scrolling, press this softkey, and you're done. No more use of the menu key except for advanced / less frequently used functions.

Not only you can gain time with the softkeys, but moreover the corresponding items DO NOT appear in the menus anymore, and that's why my G1000 instructor was correct: in some aspects, being GNS430 proficient can be initially slowing you down when learning G1000.

More on G1000 NAV settings and engine performance in the next posts...